Kelsey’s Story

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I was doing what thousands of women do daily—perhaps even what you’re doing right now: late at night, Googling another symptom that I was sure was tied to the new form of birth control I was on. . .

After my daughter was born, my midwives encouraged me to try a copper IUD ParaGard as a hormone-free method of birth control. (I have since learned that the copper IUD still affects hormones, since copper toxicity can affect your thyroid). But at the time, since I was trying to go all natural with my health, a hormone-free option that was effective and easy sounded perfect! Sign me up, I thought! I had it inserted 12 weeks postpartum, and all seemed well. No cramping this time and I told them at my one-month check that I loved it and was having no issues.

The very next month, though, I started having dizzy spells—several a day! It had me really concerned. It got to a point where I was worried about being home alone taking care of our daughter if I passed out or couldn’t stand up.

I also started having extreme mood swings. My first (and everyone else’s) reaction was “oh it’s just your hormones! You’re postpartum and your body is just trying to get back to normal.” But it didn’t make sense to me because I hadn’t experienced any of those symptoms in my first several months postpartum.

Since the dizziness persisted, I decided to make a doctor’s appointment with my new primary care physician. After I told her my symptoms and concerns, she said she wanted me to focus on getting my calorie intake and salt intake up. I am a very slender person and she said, with breastfeeding as much as I was, perhaps I simply couldn’t keep up with my baby. I was pretty sure that this was not the problem, but I figured I’d give it a try.

Weeks went by and even after a big increase in my caloric and salt intake I was still having just as many dizzy spells. So I made another appointment and this time she asked me if I was experiencing any postpartum depression or anxiety. I didn’t think I had that, but I did tell her about the mood swings that had started recently as well. She told me to keep an eye on those symptoms, but eventually ended up attributing the dizziness to breastfeeding and that this was just the reality of postpartum life for me.

I went away feeling defeated and not heard. I told myself that if the dizziness continued for another month that I would just request to have the IUD taken out regardless of what the doctor thought.

Several weeks later I started having strange sharp pains in what felt like my uterus. They started off fairly mild, but uncomfortable, so I made a doctors appointment for the end of the week to get the IUD removed. Only a few days later, the discomfort had escalated to shooting pains that continued down my legs. I was in severe physical pain, not to mention the mental strain of worrying that something was really wrong!

The next morning, I asked if I could be seen right away or I was headed to the ER. She managed to fit me in, and once we started the process to remove it she noticed right away that it was already out of place and in my cervix, on its way out! My body was going to get that IUD out, one way or another! The pain stopped immediately, and ever since that day I have not had a single dizzy spell or mood swing like I experienced those months I was on the IUD. I cannot say enough about how much of a relief it was to have those symptoms gone and to know that I can really trust my intuition when it comes to my body and what it’s trying to tell me.

Kelsey’s story is excerpted from an article first published on January 25, 2019 at

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