Safety & Side Effects
What side effects can I expect with PARAGARD?
The most common side effects of PARAGARD are heavier, longer periods and spotting between periods. For most women, these side effects diminish after 2 to 3 months. However, if your period continues to be heavy or long, or spotting continues, contact your healthcare professional.
Infrequently, serious side effects may occur, such as:
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Uncommonly, PARAGARD and other IUDs are associated with PID
- PID is an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and nearby organs
- PID is most likely to occur in the first 20 days after placement
- You have a higher chance of getting PID if you or your partner has sex with more than one person. PID is treated with antibiotics. However, PID can cause serious problems such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain
- Rarely, PID may even cause death. More serious cases of PID require surgery or a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus)
- Contact your healthcare professional right away if you have any of the signs of PID: abdominal or pelvic pain, painful sex, unusual or bad smelling vaginal discharge, chills, heavy bleeding, or fever
- Occasionally, PARAGARD may be hard to remove because it is stuck in the uterus. Surgery may sometimes be needed to remove PARAGARD
- Rarely, PARAGARD can go through the wall of the uterus, especially during placement. This is called perforation
- If PARAGARD perforates the uterus, it should be removed. Surgery may be needed
- Perforation can cause infection, scarring, or damage to other organs. If PARAGARD perforates the uterus, you are not protected from pregnancy
- PARAGARD may partially or completely fall out of the uterus. This is called expulsion
- Women who have never been pregnant may be more likely to expel PARAGARD than women who have been pregnant before
- If you think that PARAGARD has partially or completely fallen out, call your healthcare professional and use backup birth control
You may have other side effects with PARAGARD. For example, you may have anemia (low blood count), backache, pain during sex, menstrual cramps, allergic reaction, vaginal infection, vaginal discharge, faintness, or pain.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you have questions about a side effect, check with your healthcare professional.
What if I become pregnant while using PARAGARD?
- If you are pregnant and PARAGARD is in your uterus, you may get a severe infection or shock, have a miscarriage or premature labor and delivery, or even die
- Because of these risks, your healthcare professional will recommend that you have PARAGARD removed, even though removal may cause miscarriage
- If you continue a pregnancy with PARAGARD in place, see your healthcare professional regularly
- Contact your healthcare professional right away if you get fever, chills, cramping, pain, bleeding, flu-like symptoms, or an unusual, bad-smelling vaginal discharge
- A pregnancy with PARAGARD in place has a greater than usual chance of being ectopic (outside your uterus)
- Ectopic pregnancy is an emergency that may require surgery
- An ectopic pregnancy can cause internal bleeding, infertility, and death
- Unusual vaginal bleeding or abdominal pain may be signs of an ectopic pregnancy