IUD Birth Control Side Effects May Include Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis: Study

  • Written by: Irvin Jackson

Contact A Lawyer

Have A Potential Case Reviewed By An Attorney

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The findings of a new study suggest that the use of the Mirena birth control and other intrauterine devices (IUD) could trigger crippling joint problems in women. 

In findings presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine indicate that women may face more than a doubled risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis if they use the birth control implants, which have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to provide long-term protection against pregnancy.

Intrauterine devices (IUD) are T-shaped plastic implants designed to be placed in the uterus to provide a “hassle-free” form of birth control, avoiding the need to remember to take a daily pill. Also referred to as an interauterine system (IUS), the most widely used forms of the birth control are marketed under the brand names Mirena, which releases the progrestin levonorgestrel, and Paragard, which contains copper wire coils around the plastic frame.

Looking at data on nearly 1,000 women, the researchers in this new study looked at side effects of various different birth control methods, evaluating impact of the birth control on blood levels of antibodies that scientists have linked to the development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Known as antibodies to citrullinated protein antigens (ACPA), elevated levels can indicate someone will develop RA in the future.

The study found that side effects of IUD birth control were associated with a 268% increased chance of developing rheumatoid arthritis later in life, while those who took daily birth control pills actually had a reduced risk, compared to women who used no contraception at all.

IUD birth control has become a more popular alternative in recent years, as a number of different groups have recommended the implant for younger girls who may be at risk of failing to adhere to use of a daily birth control pill.

According to a recent report by the Guttmacher Institute, use of IUDs has increased from only 2.4% of women in the U.S. in 2002, to 8.5% by 2009. Planned Parenthood has also reported a 75% increase in IUD risks from 2008 to 2012.

The findings about the potential link between IUD birth control and rheumatoid arthritis come amid increasing concerns over potential problems with Mirena IUD birth control in particular, which has been linked to reports of the implant perforating the uterus and migrating to other areas of the body, potentially causing infections and other complications requiring surgical removal.

Since 2000, more than 70,000 adverse events have been filed with the FDA involving Mirena IUD complications, including at least 5,000 cases involving women who indicated that Mirena moved out of place since 2008, and 1,322 reports where the Mirena IUD punctured the uterus.

There are currently more than 2,000 Mirena IUD injury lawsuits pending against Bayer Healthcare in state and federal courts nationwide, which all allege that the drug maker knew or should have known about the risk of spontaneous perforations, which can happen months or even years after the implant is put in place and confirmed to be in the proper position.

The first federal Mirena bellwether trials involving the migration injuries are expected to begin in March 2016.

Tags: , , ,


  1. Marianne Reply

    This has happened to me I think. I had an IUD for several years until I started having pain in the area and other health problems. I have now been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis which has also turned into graves disease and Chilblains disease. I have had to quit two jobs because I can not perform the physical labor that I have for most of my adult life. For a while I was barely capable of looking after my son, now I take medication every day.

  2. Sonua Reply

    I had cooper coil 2 months before and I have got very stiff and painful neck, shoulders and hand like arthiritis type symptoms. Day by day it’s getting worse. I can’t weight to get rid of it but I need to wait all day in family planing clinic for appointment. 2 daughters under 3 can’t wait with me and I’m struggling with this pain

  3. Shannon Reply

    I have an IUD and RA and this makes sense especially when all my labs are coming back normal maybe it’s why how do I find out?

  4. Samantha Reply

    I had one put in April of 2015 due to my age and risk of hormonal birth control. By July I was having a lot of pain and stiffness in my joints. Nov. I went to urgent care with my shoulder locked up. The following month it was the other side. They told me it was tennis elbow, whatever. January I couldn’t get out of my bed due to my hip. By Feb. I was tested for RA. , it was positive. I have lost jobs, unable to do daily activities at times and it has been a financially draining. I am 49 with a 8 year old sonand feel like I’m 80. I asked my rhumatologist about it last year and she blew it off. Does anyone have any suggestions on where to go ? I plan to go next month to have it removed but don’t know if the effects will go away. Not to mention all the side effects from the medication I have been on for 4 yr. I was perfectly healthy before having it put in .

  5. Alexandra Reply

    I had paragard inserted in April of this year. I was perfectly fine, I eat healthy and I’m very active, I exercise at least 4 times a week. All of a sudden I started experiencing pain and my left knee, I brushed it off thinking I injured it on one of my workout, fast foward to August and the knee pain is still there, but now it’s swollen and I have a limited range of motion. I went to the doctor and was told to limit my exercise and no jumping, running or squats and was told to take ibuprofen. I did as the said and my knee did not get better, my right ankle started hurting. Again I went to the doctor and was sent to orthopedics for my knee and ankle, they took xrays of my knee and ankle and I was told my xrays where ok and showed no signs of arthritis, that it was all due to overusage and to just continue taking ibuprofen and gave me a knee brace and ankle brace and to wear super soles on my shoes. My knee still hurts, my ankle too, now the bones at the bottom of my feet hurt, my right knee started to bother me, I cant walk right, I’m in pain if I stand or walk to much. I try to stay active and exercise, but I’m in pain afterwards.This can’t be normal! I started to think it might be the IUD. It all started after me getting it. I’m making an appointment to have it removed.

  6. Telisa Reply

    OMG! I have the Paragard IUD I got it placed in 2013. For the last over a year I’ve been having numbness and tingling and pain in my left arm and recently since around Easter this yr feet swelling and excruciating pain I’m them with swollen throat face swelling and I feel like I’m dying! Been to the doctor’s four times! All say they don’t know whats is wrong but recently a doctor did x-ray and said he seen RA in my spine, shoulder and neck! My heart has felt full of water, my body swelling no feeling in my left breast! The ER wouldn’t take it out!

  7. A.M. Reply

    I had my paragard inserted in March of 2016. My OB told me that it’s perfectly safe. I was perfectly healthy with no health issues or what so ever. I didn’t have any problem during the first year. Come August 2017 of August, I started developing headaches. It was tolerable at the very beginning. Then months after that, I started experiencing severe migraines I never had prior to insertion of my IUD. Then early 2018, I noticed that my headaches were severely progressing and more often than not radiates to my arms and leg. The worst part of all I feel the stiffness in my muscles which made me suffer of sleepless nights. Everytime I see my doctor/doctors regarding this, they would just brush it off and just diagnose me with tension muscle headache, carpal tunnel syndrome, migraine, tmj, etc. I had been prescribed with strong pain relievers, from ibuprofen to butalb, to naproxen, and even bbaclofen. Now 2019, I am really feeling my muscle pain is getting worse each day and I am starting to develop pain on my knees. And everytime I move, my bones are making these popping sounds. I have a schedule for my annual physical exam. Last year my calcium level was lower than normal which was really weird because I never had that issue before IUD insertion. I am thinking of getting my copper level checked out of my own pocket because I have no idea if my doctor will even let me have that. Also, my mood swings are really bad. I don’t even recognize myself anymore. I have been very very short tempered.

  8. Mercedes Reply

    Had Copper IUD placed during csection December 21. A month later I started breaking out in hives and itching everywhere. My hands and feet swelled up so bad that anything I touched would be excruciating pain. Doctors kept trying to convince me that I was having an allergic reaction to something else and it couldn’t have been the IUD. Went to ER twice because of chest pain, the swelling, rashes breaking out all over my body, and pain in my knees, bottom of my feet, wrists, elbows, and knuckles. Doctor tried to say I had rheumatoid arthritis at age 28 when I’ve been perfectly healthy all my life. ER refused to take it out despite my throat closing up. Just had it removed in doctors office today. I pray these symptoms don’t have long term effects.

  9. Wendy Reply

    I got the mirena due to bad periods that lasted for 21 days. Shortly after getting it I developed SI Joint pain and have had to get several injections and now I’m on lyrica. Next, is a nerve ablation.

  10. Terra Reply

    December of 2019 I gave birth to my son. At my first postpartum doctors appointment I was recommended to get on birth control. My doctor recommended the Paragard (Copper IUD). I told her I was no longer going to be sexually active and wanted to wait until my body healed and my hormones leveled out but she said that there were really no side effects or hormones so I took her advice and made an appointment to get it implemented. Fast forward 5 months later I started to experience pins and needles in my arms and hands, extreme hair loss, joint pain, stiffness, decreased range of motion, and now CRACKING. I also should mention that I’m 22 years old!!! I got tested for RA and the test came back negative but I am now realizing that the Paragard is the cause! It’s been almost 10 months since I’ve received the implant and I am almost incapable of caring for my son. Prior to pregnancy I was active and fit. I gained a significant amount of weight during pregnancy (I’ve since lost the weight) but I do not believe this has anything to do with it. Even at my heaviest weight, I was not experiencing these issues. I have made an appointment to explant the IUD and I cannot wait to get this poison out of me. I’m so glad I am not the only person going through these issues. I wish you all the best of luck at getting your health and sanity back!!

  11. linda Reply

    I have been having hip pain for 3 years. I have fluid on my hip joint. I have the fluid taken out and the results came back I have a infection, bacteria from a implant. The Copper IUD is the only implant I had. I feel when I first got it I could not move my legs and had no joint pain. I had it removed. I have fluid on my hip causing alot of pain.

  12. Lydia Reply

    My daughter is 5months now I got my iud 3 months ago and now my knesss are in pain. I can’t even kneel down. Now I’m booking an appointment to see a gynae. To get this thing out.

  • Share Your Comments

  • Have Your Comments Reviewed by a Lawyer

    Provide additional contact information if you want an attorney to review your comments and contact you about a potential case. This information will not be published.
  • NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Contact A Lawyer

Contact A Lawyer

Have A Potential Case Reviewed By An Attorney

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.