Last Chance - Mother's Day Sale

Last chance - Mother's Day Sale

For moms, thyroid health matters. Save $25 on our thyroid test kit or self-pay membership using code MOMDAY.

Copper IUD, Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's

If you are hypothyroid or have Hashimoto’s, is the copper IUD the right birth control method for you?
Copper IUD, Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's
Last updated:
Written by:
Medically Reviewed by:

In this article

In the world of birth control options, there are many different methods available to women. From pills to patches to injections, each method comes with its own set of pros and cons. One option that has gained popularity in recent years is the copper intrauterine device (IUD), also known as Paragard. The relationship between the copper IUD and thyroid health sparks several issues worth exploring. Is the copper IUD an effective form of birth control? Are there concerns about copper metabolism’s impact on thyroid function or autoimmune diseases? What does a thyroid patient need to know? In this article, we explore the answers to these questions. 

Understanding the copper IUD

When it comes to birth control, women have a plethora of options to choose from. One such option is the copper IUD, a small, T-shaped device with copper wrapped around it. The copper IUD is inserted into the uterus by a healthcare professional. It prevents pregnancy by releasing copper ions into the uterus, which creates an environment that is toxic to sperm, inhibiting the ability of the sperm to reach and fertilize an egg. This prevents fertilization from occurring and acts as a highly effective form of birth control.

As with any contraceptive option, the copper IUD comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages and disadvantages of the copper IUD

The following are the advantages of the copper IUD:

  • Longevity and effectiveness: The copper IUD is highly praised because it can remain in place for up to ten years and has a 99% effectiveness rate in preventing pregnancy. This makes it an excellent option for women who are looking for a reliable, long-term solution for birth control.
  • Non-hormonal: One of the most significant advantages of the copper IUD is that it is non-hormonal. This means that it does not alter a woman’s natural hormone levels like hormonal birth control methods do. For women who may have concerns about the side effects associated with hormonal methods or those who experience adverse effects like blood clots from hormonal birth control methods, the copper IUD is a good alternative.
  • Emergency contraception: The copper IUD can also be used as an emergency contraception if inserted within five days after unprotected sex.
  • Reversible/Prompt restoration of fertility: Another benefit of the copper IUD is that if a woman decides to remove the IUD to get pregnant, fertility typically returns promptly upon removal. It does not have a permanent impact on a woman’s fertility.

The following are some of the disadvantages of the copper IUD:

  • Worsening PMS: The copper IUD may worsen premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms such as increased cramping.
  • Heavier, longer, more painful periods: This is because the copper in the IUD can cause the uterine lining to become thicker, leading to increased bleeding, cramping, and spotting, and lengthier periods. 
  • Spotting between periods: Some users may experience spotting between periods for the first several months.
  • Pain during insertion: The process of getting the IUD placed can be painful for some people, usually feeling like strong period cramps
  • Doesn’t protect against STIs: It’s important to note that the copper IUD does not offer protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you are at risk for STIs, it is recommended to use barrier methods, such as condoms, in addition to the copper IUD.

The copper IUD and thyroid dysfunction

The intricate relationship between copper metabolism and thyroid function raises several concerns and careful considerations for thyroid patients considering this form of contraception.

Copper, the third most abundant mineral in the human body, is an essential micronutrient that plays a role in various physiological processes, including such as the synthesis of and regulation of thyroid hormones. Copper stimulates the production of thyroxine hormone T4 and prevents overabsorption of T4 in the blood cells by helping to control the body’s calcium levels. It is also required for synthesizing phospholipids, which are needed to stimulate thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) production.

One major concern regarding the copper IUD is its potential to worsen symptoms in women with preexisting thyroid conditions such as hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s. Copper is known to interfere with the absorption and utilization of various minerals in the body, including zinc and selenium, which are essential for optimal thyroid function. A deficiency in these minerals can worsen hypothyroidism symptoms and contribute to the overall decline in thyroid health.

Additionally, the copper IUD can trigger an inflammatory response in the uterus, leading to localized inflammation. In women with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, this can potentially stimulate the immune system and trigger an immune response autoimmune flare-up, further exacerbating the thyroid condition. The body’s immune response to the IUD can also cause an increase in thyroid antibodies, which are markers used to diagnose the presence and severity of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Furthermore, some studies have found that the copper IUD can disrupt normal hormonal balance in women, leading to an increase in estrogen levels. Elevated levels of estrogen can interfere with thyroid hormone production and utilization, further contributing to thyroid dysfunction in women with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

It’s essential for women with these thyroid conditions to consult with their healthcare provider before considering the copper IUD. Alternative birth control methods, such as hormonal IUDs or barrier methods, may be more suitable options that do not pose as significant a risk to thyroid health.

Additionally, women should ensure they receive adequate amounts of zinc and selenium through their diet or supplementation to counteract any potential adverse effects of the copper IUD.

Also, note that your healthcare provider might advise against a Copper IUD if you have a pelvic infection such as pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine fibroids that can interfere with placement or retention, cervical or uterine cancer, an allergy or intolerance to copper, or have a disorder that causes too much copper to accumulate in your liver, brain or other vital organs such as Wilson’s disease.

Outside of these situations, other recommendations to reduce excessive copper exposure include maintaining a balanced diet and being vigilant about copper intake from dietary sources such as shellfish, nuts, seeds, legumes, organ meats, mushrooms such as crimini and shiitake, and certain supplements.

Informed decision-making is essential

When making decisions about contraception, it is essential that women with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s approach their reproductive health choices with an informed mindset. This involves:

1. Understanding the potential impact of a contraceptive method, such as the copper IUD, which requires an approach that considers medical expertise, individual needs and considerations, and up-to-date scientific knowledge.

2. Weighing the risks and benefits against your unique health circumstances, which may include the possible association of the copper IUD with worsening thyroid function.

3. Engaging in thorough discussions with your healthcare providers, which ensures a collaborative process that facilitates your autonomy and healthcare consciousness.

By following these steps, you can make better, more informed decisions about decisions about your contraceptive choices, ensuring the best possible outcomes for your health and well-being.

A note from Paloma

Women of reproductive age can benefit from choosing Paloma Health for their thyroid care.

  • Specialized care: Paloma Health is the first online medical practice focused on hypothyroidism, offering a personalized and holistic approach to treatment
  • Convenience: With Paloma Health, you can access blood tests, medical guidance, and prescriptions online, eliminating the need for in-person visits and reducing wait times
  • Integrative approach: Paloma Health combines nutrition, lifestyle changes, and cutting-edge technology with diagnostic testing to deliver life-changing results for your thyroid health
  • Expert support: Paloma Health’s team includes thyroid specialists who are dedicated to providing high-quality, cost-effective, and clinically proven hypothyroidism care

By becoming a Paloma Health member, you’ll receive specialized, convenient, and holistic care for your thyroid issues, ultimately improving your overall health and well-being.

Limited offer

20% off your first Thyroid Test

Test your thyroid levels from home and know your levels in days
Use code GETBETTER at checkout
Use code
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.


What is a copper IUD? Cleveland Clinic. Accessed January 7, 2024.

Copper IUD (ParaGard). Published March 1, 2022. Accessed January 7, 2024.

Wilson disease. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Accessed January 7, 2024.

Arora M. et al. Study of trace elements in patients of hypothyroidism with special reference to zinc and copper. Biomed J Sci Tech Res. 2018;6(2):001-005. doi:10.26717/bjstr.2018.06.001336

Mittag J, Behrends T, Nordström K, Anselmo J, Vennström B, and Schomburg L. Serum copper as a novel biomarker for resistance to thyroid hormone. Biochem J. 2012

Kucharzewski M, Piotrowska-Jastrzebska J, Pawlak K, et al. The level of zinc, copper, and antioxidant status in the blood serum of women with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2021

Share article:

Neeyaz Zolfaghari

Holistic Nutritionist and Nourishment Coach

Neeyaz Zolfaghari is the founder of Unspoken Nutrition, a nutrition and lifestyle brand dedicated to helping others find and create harmony with their daily habits to support their wellbeing and ‘health’. Her journey began over a decade ago, when she was diagnosed with two autoimmune diseases. Knowing what she learned from her upbringing, Neeyaz turned to nutrition as the first pillar of her healing. As her body began to heal on a physical level, she began to learn how our minds, bodies and souls are all innately connected.  

Now as an Integrative Nutritionist and Patient Advocate, Neeyaz offers the people she works with the support, guidance, and tools they need in order to live a fulfilled life. While Neeyaz initially endeavored to make a difference at the individual level, her vision grew to embrace broader community impacts. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Public Health, serving as a testament to her unwavering commitment to instigate change on a grander scale.

Read more

Is Paloma Right For Me?

Hypothyroidism is a long-term commitment and we’re committed to you. Schedule a free, no-obligation phone consultation with one of our intake specialists to find out more.

Schedule a call
thyroid hormone for hypothyroidism

Find out if Paloma is right for you. Schedule a free call with one of our health care advisors.

Schedule a Call