Tag Archives forhormone imbalance

5 Benefits of Coffee Enemas

Many people have recently begun utilizing enemas to improve their overall health. Over a period of many years, excess waste that hasn’t been eliminated can build up inside of your colon. In fact, anecdotal reports say that as much as 10 pounds of waste may accumulate in your body at one time. That’s a lot of excess baggage you don’t want to be carrying around.

 

When you perform a cleanse with an enema, it helps to remove toxic build-up, which will in turn provide immediate health benefits and relief from certain conditions.

 

There are many different ways to perform an enema, but today we will be focusing on one of the more ‘taboo methods’—the coffee enema.

 

If you are new to the idea of enemas, the use of coffee may shock you. However, it can indeed help detoxify your body and remove the excess waste that could be accumulating within your body.

 

5 Benefits of Coffee Enemas

 

Coffee enemas can prevent the overgrowth of Candida.

 

Overgrowth of the Candida albicans fungus inside your intestines can cause a wide range of unpleasant symptoms, from fatigue, to brain fog, to a weakened immune system.

 

However, you should be happy to note that a coffee enema may help prevent the overgrowth of Candida, along with other bad bacteria. (1)

 

Coffee enemas can help detoxify your liver and bloodstream.

 

A coffee enema is a great way to detoxify your liver and bloodstream. Symptoms such as bloating, stomach aches, and intestinal disturbances can usually be traced back to an overworked liver.

 

When performing a coffee enema, the coffee is absorbed into the liver through the intestinal wall where it helps to take on some of that toxic load that the liver is unable to process on it’s own. (2)

 

Exposure to environmental toxins cannot be avoided, but there are ways to mitigate the potential damages that result from excessive exposure. Detoxes help tremendously with this, as do proper nutrition and regular exercise.

 

Coffee enemas can promote better digestion and regularity.

 

A coffee enema can help to improve the flow of bile. (3) This helps to alkalinize your small intestines, which promotes better overall digestion.

 

When food that you consume is not properly digested, it can generate toxic chemicals within your intestines. These toxins are then absorbed by your liver. Utilizing a coffee enema not only helps your liver with this load, but it also will improve your digestion to make it so your liver doesn’t have to work so hard in the first place.

 

Coffee enemas may help relieve anxiety and provide mental clarity.

 

Coffee is well known for its antioxidant properties. Many people who perform a coffee enema report a feeling of increased wellbeing and mental clarity, which also helps to provide relief for anxiety. The colon and liver are both parasympathetic organs, which have been shown play a role in anxiety disorders (4), meaning the cleanse from the enema helps to promote overall relaxation within your nervous system which helps ease anxiety symptoms.

 

Coffee enemas can help regulate hormones and restore balance to your endocrine system.

 

Your liver actually plays a very important role in the metabolism of hormones within your body. (5) Estrogen toxicity can actually develop from too much of the wrong type of estrogen accumulating within the liver. This can lead into a wide range of health issues for women, not least of all being a decreased ability to detoxify carcinogens. (6)

 

When you use a coffee enema with the intent of detoxifying your liver, an added benefit is the removal of these “bad” estrogen hormones that get flushed out as well. This helps to maintain proper hormonal balance for women.

 

Hormonal imbalances can also cause a wide range of symptoms such as fatigue, depression, low energy levels, and infertility.

 

Potential Side Effects

 

Coffee enemas can provide several great benefits for your health, with little to no side effects. Most of the unpleasant side effects can be negated by drinking plenty of fluids and staying properly hydrated. Once you have performed the enema, you expel a multitude of toxins and some water and electrolytes along with it.

 

Is A Coffee Enema Right for You?

 

If you’re looking for a natural way to detoxify your body, a coffee enema is a good place to start. Other measures to consider include evaluation of your gut bacteria and incorporating some physical activity in your routine.

 

The Final Word

 

You don’t have to wait until you exhibit symptoms of illness before performing a coffee enema. Preventive measures are always better than having to find a cure, so be proactive in protecting your health and wellbeing. Your body will thank you.

 

Always check with your doctor if you’re unsure about the effects of a coffee enema on your body, and whether or not it is right for you.

 

 

5 Powerful Supplements for Endometriosis

This week I am still sticking with the theme of Endometriosis. If you aren’t sure what this is, please check out my recent article on this topic. If you have Endometriosis and are wondering where to start, read last week’s article where I discussed 5 important food strategies to help with this condition.

 

This week is all about supplements. Remember, if you don’t have the basics in place (ie. diet & lifestyle) then supplements are going to do little to help. They offer support and can help stimulate certain pathways in the body but if you eat junk, don’t sleep or exercise and are overwhelmed by stress, then don’t waste your money on supplements.

 

Start with the basics and come back to this article when those things are in place.

 

Diindolylmethane (DIM)

 

In the previous article I discussed cruciferous vegetable and how they contain a compound that is extremely effective at detoxing estrogen out of the body. DIM is the compound I was referring to.

fresh , ripe cabbage isolated on white background.

 

I have found DIM to be one of the most powerful supplements for reducing excess estrogen. It is extremely effective, so this should only be used if you have been tested and know your estrogen levels are too high.

 

Not only does DIM lower estrogen overall but it also shifts estrogen metabolism to healthy pathways that protect you from estrogen dominant cancers.

 

Some people will recommend using Indol-3-Carbinol (I3C) instead of DIM. I3C is the precursor for DIM and in theory can be metabolized to DIM to have a similar effect. In my experience I3C is not nearly as effective as DIM and I don’t recommend it unless you cannot tolerate DIM.

 

My favorite products are Designs for Health DIM-Avail and Pure Encapsulations DIM Detox

 

Curcumin

 

Curcumin comes from Turmeric. It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Taking curcumin can help with some of the inflammation and painful side effects of endometriosis.

Turmeric and turmeric powder

 

Curcumin has been found effective at reducing prostaglandins which promote inflammation.

 

In this study, researchers found that curcumin inhibited the growth of endometrial cells by lowering the production of Estradiol (the body’s most potent estrogen). This study was done in vitro so the results may be limited.

 

Curcumin is also powerful at detoxifying the liver. This is important as the liver is responsible for clearing excess hormones from the blood. Too much estrogen can be a result of poor liver clearance, resulting in excess estrogen floating around the blood.

 

N-Acetyl-Cysteine

 

N-Acetyl-Cysteine is a precursor for glutathione. Glutathione is your body’s most powerful anti-oxidant and detoxifier. It is needed to keep the liver free of toxins and reduce damage from free radical production.

 

Taken directly, glutathione is poorly absorbed but we can work with glutathione precursors to boost glutathione levels. NAC is a fantastic for boosting liver health and detoxification. Since estrogen dominance is tied to poor liver function, NAC is a good place to start.

 

Calcium D-Glucarate

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This is a very powerful supplement for any women with Endometriosis or estrogen dominance. As discussed in my previous article, harmful gut bacteria can produce a lot of the enzyme Beta-Glucuronidase which can break the bond between excreted estrogen and glucuronic acid (the way in which estrogen in moved out of the body), thereby re-activating the excreted hormone and sending it back into circulation.

 

Calcium D-Glucarate helps keep estrogen bound to glucuronic acid so that it can be easily excreted from the body.

 

Digestive Enzymes with Ox Bile

 

After the liver detoxifies hormones, it dumps them into the bile so they can be excreted from the body. If a woman has bile insufficiency then detoxification is impaired and estrogen is left to recirculate around the body.

 

bilePoor bile production can also make it difficult to detoxify other types of toxins, especially those that contain xenoestrogens. This can lead to even higher levels of estrogen in the body.

 

A sign that you may have a bile deficiency is the inability to digest fat. If eating a fat meal makes you feel bloated or nauseous than you can benefit from taking a digestive enzyme with ox bile.

 

If you have had your gallbladder removed, you are likely struggling with bile production as well. My favorite product is Thorne Research Bio-Gest.

 

 

 

If you would like to be hooked up with an account to order any of the supplements I discussed in this article, please sent me an email at kendra@kendraperry.net

Endometriosis – A Common Cause of Infertility, Painful Periods and Painful Sex

 

Have you been struggling with extremely painful periods, chronic pelvis pain or pain during sex? There are a number of reasons why periods can cause painful cramping, but endometriosis is a common culprit.

 

During the first half of the menstrual cycle, estrogen is the dominant hormone.Estrogen is a growth hormone and stimulates the growth of the uterine lining. Once an egg is released and not fertilized, estrogen starts to decline and progesterone becomes the dominant hormone in the second half of the menstrual cycle.

 

As the egg breaks down and becomes the corpus luteum, progesterone is given off. Both estrogen and progesterone reach their lowest levels just before the beginning of menstruation. This is what signals the start of bleeding where the lining of the uterus is shed for the next 3-7 days.

 

Endometriosis is a condition which tissue that normally grows inside the uterus instead grows outside it. The most common places in the body this tissue can grow is the abdominal cavity where it can land on the peritoneum, the thin layer that covers the inside of the abdomen, the ovaries, and fallopian tubes. This tissue has also been found in the knee and the nose, strangely enough. The body in it’s ultimate wisdom attempts to contain the growth by forming a cyst around the tissue. Then every time a woman has a period, this tissue proliferates and may lead to a ruptured cyst.

 

Endometriosis

 

Like the lining of the uterus, the misplaced endometrial tissue is triggered by the same hormonal shift that begins the menstrual cycle (ie. low estrogen and progesterone). This tissue will then also shed and bleed. The blood, which is trapped in the abdomen, is irritating to the nerves in the abdomen, causing much of the pain associated with endometriosis. Some women experience chronic pelvic pain while others only experience pain during their periods. In certain cases, women experience no pain at all. The latter case can delay diagnosis and likely accounts for many undiagnosed cases. Statistics say 10% of women suffer from endometriosis but this is likely lower than the reality.

 

 

 

Over time the abnormal shedding can cause chronic inflammation and lead to scar tissue development. This abnormal cell growth will also instigate an immune response that can perpetuate the problem.

 

 

What Causes Endometriosis?

 

There is no concrete answer but there are many theories. In my experience, this condition is largely related to excess estrogen production. Since estrogen is involved in the growth of endometrial tissue, when it occurs in excess it can stimulate the over growth of the tissue.

 

Other factors that are likely involved in endometriosis are:

 

  • Liver congestion (poor liver clearance can lead to elevated estrogen)
  • Gut dysfunction (gut flora and estrogen are intimately connected – ie. the estrobolome)
  • Processed foods (These are high in toxins and soy which mimic estrogen in the body)
  • Excess carbohydrates (Like pasta, bread, crackers and sugar, which mess with insulin and can lead to excess estrogen

 

Dr, Stacey Roberts, natural fertility expert, mentioned that endometriosis may actually be an autoimmune process. According to this study, among 59 women who had a laparoscopy indicating endometriosis, 28.8% tested positive for antinuclear antibodies (a marker for autoimmunity).

 

The autoimmune connection is explored in detail in this scientific review. The authors conclude that endometriosis fits most of the criteria for autoimmune disease including blood markers of inflammatory cytokines and tissue specific autoantibodies. It seems endometriosis occurs with other autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and inflammatory bowel disease.

 

Who is At Risk for Developing Endometriosis?

 

  • Women on hormonal birth control that leads to elevated estrogen (ie. the Mirena IUD can cause elevated estrogen
  • Women with polycystic ovaries who do not menstruate. This means there is no progesterone opposing estrogen which allows estrogen to work overtime
  • Women who are highly stressed, which causes low immune function making the body unable to deal with the out of control cell growth
  • Women who are exposed to environmental estrogens (ie. BPA plastics and chemicals in beauty products and household cleaning products)

 

symptoms-of-endometriosis

 

 

How is Endometriosis Diagnosed?

 

Typically it is diagnosed through an ultrasound but this technique can often miss tissue growth that is hidden and lying deeper in the body. Some experienced physicians can find it using a physical examination, where they can  pinpoint the adhesions and lesions in the abdomen. Laparoscopy, a surgical procedure, can also be used to identify lesions.

 

Long Term Complications

Uterine fibroid medical concept as a human female reproduction uterus disease symbol for fertility problems and reproductive system health.

Unfortunately, endometriosis can lead to infertility issues. It can lead to scarring and damage of the filopian tubes which can make it incredibly difficult for a woman to become pregnant naturally.

 

If the fallopian tubes are damaged or altered in their function then this can set the stage for an atopic pregnancy. Up to 30-50% of women who have endometriosis may experience infertility, according to American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

 

In extreme situations it can perorate the bowel and lead to complications with digestion. This only occurs in very severe cases.

 

How Does Conventional Medicine Treat Endometriosis?

 

1. Surgerical Excision – This involves going in and removing overgrown tissue. This can be extremely helpful in removing adhesions and lesions but does little to address the root cause. If this is the only treatment used, adhesions may develop again. Surgery works best if it is used with natural therapies to prevent future tissue proliferation.

 

2. Progesterone Cream – Progesterone opposes estrogen and inhibits the growth of endometrial tissue growth. Lesions can be resistant to progesterone so typically high doses are needed. This treatment does not generally work on its own.

 

3. Hormonal Birth Control – This is the standard treatment as it suppresses ovulation and prevents the growth of the uterine lining. Again, this treatment fails to address the root cause and can mask other hormonal conditions. A woman cannot be on the pill indefinitely, so once she comes off it, she is likely to experience other hormone disorders that have been left untreated over the years.

 

4. NSAIDS OR Naproxen – This can help reduce pain associated with endometriosis but does nothing to deal with the problem. These drugs can cause many issues when used long term. They are known to stress the liver and thin the lining of the gut, even when only used once a month.

 

Can You Treat Endometriosis Naturally?

 

The good news is that there is a lot you can do to prevent endometriosis from continuing to occur. One of the most important starting points is to have your hormones tested via saliva or urine. I am not a huge fan of blood testing as it gives you a very limited piece of the overall picture.

 

In next few week’s blog posts, I will discuss some of the most effective diet, lifestyle and supplements therapies for dealing with endometriosis and preventing it from messing with your fertility. If you would like to learn more about the hormone testing I do and how it can help optimize your menstrual cycle and fertility, please book a free 20 minute consultation to speak with me directly. You can do that here.

 

Do you have experience treating endometriosis naturally or conventionally? Tell me about your experience in the comments below!

 

Listen to me discuss this article in the video below!

3 Hormone Imbalances That Ruin Your Endurance

 

You used to be so fit. You run, bike or climb anything. But these days exercise is a struggle. Instead of making you feel energized, exercise now makes you feel exhausted. You find yourself avoiding the activities you used to love because you just don’t have the energy or the motivation.

 

I can relate to this. When my hormones crashed a few years ago I went from being super fit and athletic to tired, lazy and exhausted. I desperately wanted to keep doing sports with my friends but I had no juice left. I would often go skiing for a couple of hours and then come home and pass out. It was one of the hardest times in my life.

 

The good news is, you aren’t lazy. Your body is likely deliberately trying to get you to slow down so that you can heal from whatever is going on inside of you. Having balanced hormones is crucial to healthy energy production and you having enough strength to exercise at the level you want to.

 

Unbalanced hormones suck. No matter how hard to you try to push through the fatigue, you never seem to feel like you did just a few years ago. Here are three hormone imbalances that can ruin your endurance and crush your stamina.

 

Low Testosterone

 

Testosterone is crucial to energy production and athletic performance. If your testosterone is low you may experience some of the following symptoms;

 

  • Low energy
  • Difficulty building muscle
  • Inability to lose weight
  • Difficulty gaining weight
  • Low sex drive

 

Testosterone is the reason why men gain muscle more easily than women and have more physical strength. When I raise testosterone production in women, they usually feel fantastic. They feel energized, confident and can easily maintain a healthy weight.

 

How Can You Boost Testosterone?

  • Shellfish
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Weight Training
  • Maca Root

 

High Estrogen

 

Elevated estrogen is a nasty hormone imbalance, especially when you don’t have enough progesterone to balance it out. Elevated estrogen is often the culprit behind painful periods, endometriosis, uterine fibroids and pre-menstrual migraines.

 

Elevated estrogen can ruin your endurance because it can cause unexplained weight gain, especially in the hips and thighs. As you gain fat and lose muscle, your endurance often goes with it. If you have recently gained weight for no rhyme or reason, you should consider your estrogen levels. If your estrogen is too high it may actually be impossible for you to lose weight even when you are eating healthy and exercising regularly.

 

What To Do About High Estrogen?

 

The first thing is to consider environmental sources of estrogen. This includes personal care products, household cleaning products, BPA plastic, birth control pills, soy and even flax seed.

 

If you know you have high estrogen and you have made a solid effort to reduce external estrogen exposure you can try this next:

 

  • Diindolylmethane (DIM). This is a chemical derived from cruciferous vegetables. It is fantastic at low estrogen levels and improving estrogen metabolism. Note: Only take this under the guidance of a practitioner. DIM can work quickly and easily push your estrogen too low if you aren’t careful.
  • Cruciferous vegetables. If you suspect your estrogen is low but haven’t confirmed it, you can start with veggies like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale and Brussel sprouts before supplementing with DIM

 

To learn more about estrogen dominance, click here.

 

Low Free Cortisol

 

Most know cortisol as a stress hormone but what many don’t know is that one of cortisol’s main roles is to immobilize blood sugar. When you blood sugar is stable, you have good energy production and you feel strong.

 

Low cortisol often means a person feels fatigued, has difficulty sleeping and struggles with sugar cravings. They have a poor ability to keep their blood sugar stable, even when they eat multiple meals a day. The result is energy is low or fluctuates throughout the day.

 

When your cortisol is low, exercise is depleting. Since exercise actively pushes out cortisol, it leaves you little cortisol for energy later in the day. People with low cortisol often struggle with motivation to exercise as well.

 

How to manage low cortisol?

  • Reduce Stress. Go to a yoga class or learn to deep breathe. Managing stress is one of the quickest ways to restore healthy cortisol levels.
  • Quit caffeine. Drinking coffee or caffeinated tea throughout the day messes with your cortisol rhythm and leads to energy crashes. Ditch the caffeine and switch to water and herbal tea
  • Get to bed before 10:30pm. Staying up late messes with your natural circadian rhythm. Inevitably, this leads to cortisol production at the wrong times of day (at night, verses in the morning). Turn down the lights, turn off your screens and get yourself to sleep.
  • Licorice Root. This root blocks the enzyme which converts cortisol into cortisone (the inactive form of cortisol). Drinking licorice tea or taking a licorice root tincture will help cortisol last longer in your system and give you an energy boost. Note that you do not want to take licorice long term or if you have high blood pressure. If you take cortisol and it makes you feel awful, stop taking it. There may be a metabolic issue at play.

 

Final Thoughts

 

If you just don’t have the juice for exercise that you used to, there is a probably a hormonal problem driving your fatigue. While the above suggestions can be extremely helpful, what is more helpful is determining what is driving your hormonal chaos. The main culprits are usually poor diet, poor sleep, an overscheduled life and toxicity.

If you are struggling with poor energy and the inability to participate in the activities that drive your passions, then please don’t hesitate to contact me and schedule a free 30 minute call with me. We can discuss your challenges and determine if there is a way I can help you. You can book the appointment here.

 

Are you struggling with low endurance levels? Please share your exercise below in the comments section and I will do my best to help you!

 

4 Hormones That Are Blocking Your Weight Loss Potential

Most people think that to lose weight they need to consume less calories and exercise more. It seems simple. Reduce food intake, increase physical activity and WABAM, you get to have the body of your dreams.

 

For any woman or man who has attempted weight loss with this equation, knows it isn’t that easy. Pounds often don’t come off the way one might hope. If the pounds do come off, keeping it that way for the long term is incredibly difficult.

 

Last week, I wrote about the Calories-in, Calories-out model of weight loss and why it fails in the long term. Check out this article to read more.

 

When is come to weight loss, we have a lot less conscious control then we think. The human body is a sophisticated machine. It is intricate and complicated and weight loss is not a mathematical equation.

 

What affects weight loss the most is hormones. Hormones are the messengers that dictate the processes which occur on a regular basis. In a recent online event, hormone expert, Dr. Sara Gottfried said, “Hormones dictate what your body does with food.” Interesting. Let me say that one again, “Hormones dictate what your body does with food.”

 

This is the reason you can’t lose that last ten pounds. This explains why even though you are eating healthy food in controlled portions, the weight won’t seem to budge. Obesity is not a condition of gluttony or laziness. It’s all about the hormones.

 

Here are 4 hormones that play a crucial role in your body’s ability to shed extra fat.

 

1. Insulin

 

Insulin is the hormone that allows sugar in the blood to enter into the cells for energy production. Think of insulin like a key to the doors of the cell. You eat dietary sugar or carbohydrate and your blood sugar goes up. Insulin then opens the doors to the cells and blood sugar enters.

 

This is all good until your blood sugar becomes elevated too often and the cells start to get annoyed by insulin’s constant knocking. The result is insulin resistance in which the cell doors no longer open.

 

If you are carrying extra weight, especially around the belly, then you likely have some degree of insulin resistance. This is because insulin is also a fat storage hormone. Excess sugar in the blood that cannot move into the cells, is taken to the liver where is can be stored as fat. It is impossible to lose weight when you have insulin resistance.

 

Solution? Cut down on sugar and refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, muffins and bagels. Research has also shown that drinking 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before a high carbohydrate meal can significantly lower blood sugar levels for those people with insulin resistance (1).

 

2. Ghrelin

 

WTF is ghrelin? Ghrelin is a hormone produced mainly in the stomach. When your stomach is empty, this hormone is secreted and tells your brain to become hungry. When the stomach is full, ghrelin is low (2).

 

Problems arise when ghrelin becomes chronically elevated. High ghrelin means you are hungry all the time. If you just ate dinner and you are already in the fridge looking for more snacks, you may have a ghrelin imbalance.

 

Elevated ghrelin may arise from chronic dieting. This may explain why it is so hard to stick with calorie restricted diets. Your body wants more food so it makes it impossible to resist food.  Another factor shown to affect ghrelin is sleep.

 

Solution? Don’t try to lose weight by eating too little. You may screw up your hormone system in the long term causing you to gain more weight. Make sure to get at least 8-9 hours of sleep a night, preferably going to sleep before 10:30pm each night (3).

 

3. Leptin

 

Leptin is made in the fat cells and tells the brain when to stop storing fat. The more fat you have, the more leptin you make, and the more your brain will increase metabolic rate to burn this fat. In terms of losing weight, higher leptin is better.

 

So why don’t the brains of overweight people get the leptin signal to stop making fat? Unfortunately just like you can become insulin resistant, you can also become leptin resistant. The more body fat you accumulate, the more leptin you have communicating with the brain. The constant influx of insulin annoys the brain and the brain stops listening. The result is continued fat accumulation despite the fact you already have enough.

 

Solution? Cut out the sugar and trans fats. Research has shown consumption of the two are associated with elevated leptin and leptin resistance (4).

 

4. Cortisol

 

Cortisol is incredibly important in the complicated fat loss equation. Since cortisol is a stress hormone, it is secreted when the body is under some form of stress. Stress hormones tell your brain that survival is being threatened. When you are in survival mode, your body becomes excellent at conserving resources, fat included.

 

Elevated cortisol is often at the root of weight gain. When cortisol is high, you carry excess weight around the belly. You may also feel frazzled, wired and overwhelmed.

 

Solution? Manage your stress. Go to yoga. Meditate. Breathe. Also consider looking for hidden stressors in the body such as leaky gut, gut infections, food intolerances and liver congestion.

 

Bottom Line

 

Hormone balance is important. If you are carrying excess weight, then you likely have a combination of the above imbalances. Low fat and calorie restricted diets may only serve to exacerbate these issues. We all know how to lose weight in the short term but long term weight loss is the ultimate goal. Figuring out how to balance leptin, ghrelin, insulin and cortisol is the key to getting fit and staying fit.

 

Your Guide to Non-Hormonal Birth Control Part 1: The Copper IUD

 

In last week’s blog post, I talked about the downside of hormonal birth control, specifically the pill. While the pill provides awesome sexual freedom, it does not come without its consequences and side effects. Finding a good form of non-hormonal birth control can be challenging. And sometimes it feel like there are tons of options out there. One form of non-hormonal contraception that has been gaining a lot of popularity these days is the copper IUD.

 

What is the Copper IUD?

 

The Copper IUD is an intrauterine device that is inserted by a doctor into the uterus. A copper wire is wound around the stem of the t-shaped device. The device can stay in place for up to 10 years and has an effectiveness of 99.8%.

 

How Does the Copper IUD work?

 

The copper that is woven into the device interferes with sperm movement and prevents the sperm from fertilizing copper IUDthe egg. The IUD increases the amount of copper ions, prostaglandins and white blood cells in the uterus which interferes with fertilization. If fertilization cannot happen then pregnancy cannot happen.

 

The copper also affects the transport of the egg out of the Fallopian tube and the copper that leaches out of the IUD makes the uterus less suitable for implantation and pregnancy.

 

The IUD does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.

 

What are the Contraindications?

 

The following are a list of contraindications for the use of any IUD:

  • Uterus distortion
  • Active pelvic infection
  • Known or suspected pregnancy
  • Wilson’s disease or copper allergy
  • Undiagnosed abnormal uterine bleeding
  • Current or previous breast cancer
  • Dysmenorrhea or menorrhagia (for copper IUD only)
  • Have a bleeding disorder or take blood thinners
  • Have had a STD

 

 

The Positives of the Copper IUD

 

  • Once inserted nothing needs to be done except a monthly self-check to make sure that the strings are in place and that the device has not shifted.
  • It is 99.8% effective against pregnancy. Less than 1 in 100 women a year get pregnant using the copper IUD.
  • You can take it out whenever you want by just visiting your doctor.

 

The Negatives of the Copper IUD

 

  • Ovarian Cysts. There is some evidence that suggest the copper IUD may increase your risk of developing ovarian cysts.
  • Heavier & More Painful Period The increase in prostaglandins (which are pro-inflammatory) can dramatically increase inflammation during menstruation. This means that a women may experience increased menstrual cramping and heavier bleeding during her period. This is one of the main reasons women decide to remove their IUD. It can cause a lot of discomfort. But for many women this subsides after 3-6 months with the IUD.
  • In some cases the copper IUD can spontaneously expel itself from the uterus. Expulsion rates vary from 2.2 – 11.4 % depending on how long she has had the device in her body.

 

  • Irregular bleeding can occur as well as spotting between periods. This occurs more frequently during the first 3-6 months and less frequently thereafter.

 

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. This is a bacterial infection that may lead to infertility, chronic pelvic pain and ectopic pregnancy. The good news is that the risk is small and only exists within the first 21 days of insertion. The risk is likely related to the presence of pre-existing gonorrhea and chlamydia at the time of insertion.

 

  • In rare cases, the IUD can move through the wall of the uterus and damage other internal organs. Sometimes surgery is needed to remove it. The risk is very low, about 1 in 1000 insertions, and is usually related to the skill of the doctor performing it.

 

  • Although pregnancy is rare on the copper IUD, if it does occur, the risk of ectopic pregnancy is high. This occurs when the embryo implants somewhere other than the uterus, such as the fallopian tubes. In the case of an ectopic pregnancy, the embryo has little chance of surviving.

 

The Copper IUD and Copper Toxicity

 

This is one aspect of the copper IUD that is not often discussed among the medical community. As a nutrition practitioner who has run many Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis’ on women using this form of contraception, I have seen excessively high copper levels in many women using the copper IUD.

 

The copper IUD may not cause copper toxicity in itself but if you are also exposed to copper from other sources then it can build up and cause an excess in your system. Other sources that can contribute to copper toxicity include: public swimming pools. copper pipes, copper cookware, inorganic mineral supplements, dental crowns, beer and a vegan/vegetarian diet that is high in copper containing foods.

 

If your liver is congested or struggling to deal with other toxins, it may be inefficient at removing excess copper from the body. This can lead to a buildup of copper.

 

While copper is needed in certain amounts it can cause negative symptoms if it builds up.

 

 

Symptoms of Copper Toxicity Include:

 

  • Feelings of doom
  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Headaches
  • Moodiness
  • Cold hands and/or feet
  • Bone and joint disturbance
  • Anemia
  • Neurologic impairment

 

Another way that too much copper can affect the body has to do with zinc. Zinc and copper compete for absorption in the body. Too much zinc can drive copper down and too much copper can cause zinc deficiency. Zinc is a crucial nutrient needed for immune system function, cell division, cell growth and the healing of wounds. Zinc deficiency can cause weak immunity, diarrhea, acne, leaky gut and thinning hair. Excess copper can also lower iron levels, increase vitamin A levels, aggregate B vitamin metabolism and increase estrogen levels. High estrogen levels can also cause the body to retain copper.

 

How to Prevent Copper Excess

 

  • Improve Liver Clearance. Give your liver some love so that it can better deal with excess copper in the body. Eat liver friendly foods like asparagus, watercress, turmeric, grapefruit and dandelion. You may also want to take a liver support supplement like milk thistle.

 

  • Increase your Consumption of Zinc. Foods that are high in zinc include grass-fed beef, pumpkin seeds, shellfish, lamb and cashews. You might also want to consider a high quality zinc supplement, especially when digestion is an issue. Choose a chelated form for best absorption like zinc gluconate.

 

  • Reduce your Exposure to environmental copper like copper pipes, cookware, swimming pools and high copper foods.

 

  • Reconsider your Vegan Diet. Meat products are full of zinc and little copper and plant foods, especially soy, beans and legumes, are full of copper and little zinc. While using the copper IUD it may be a good idea to include more animal products in your diet and cut down on high copper containing foods.

 

  • Get your Mineral Levels Checked. After 3-6 months on the copper IUD, I recommend running a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis to detect early build-up of copper.

 

  • Get your Hormones Checked. If your estrogen is too high, then there is a high possibility that your body is retaining copper rather than eliminating it. You may also want to see if the copper is driving up your estrogen and causing estrogen dominance.

 

  • Improve Stress Levels. Chronic stress uses up the body’s zinc stores quickly. By improving your stress levels you can increase your zinc and reduce copper toxicity issues.

 

Final Thoughts

 

While the risks are small with the copper IUD, these are still risks that need to be considered. The chances are you will have a relatively good experience with this form of contraception. But the bottom line is that any small changes to your delicate hormone balance can cause symptoms.

 

The important thing is to be aware of any new symptoms that pop up. While many doctors will tell you there are no emotional symptoms involved (since the copper IUD does not emit hormones), this is not true. There are many stories of women who experience feelings of doom, depression and moodiness while using the copper IUD.

 

If you do decide to use the copper IUD, take steps to improve your nutrition, prevent copper toxicity and improve your zinc status.

 

And more importantly, make an informed decision and decide whether the risks are worth the benefits. And if you have any experiences using the copper IUD, please feel free to share them below!