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maria wemrell

Maria Wemrell


maria wemrell

Claims in the clinic: tensions in healthcare communication about perceived side effects of the copper IUD


  • Maria Wemrell
  • Lena Gunnarsson

Summary, in English

A large share of health-related information is today sought and communicated via the internet, including in social media. Questions have been raised about how this may affect health perceptions and behaviors, not least by enabling the communication of claims that contradict information from established medical authorities. As an example, knowledge claims about systemic side effects of the contraceptive copper intrauterine device (IUD) have in recent years been circulating in social media. This widely used long-acting contraceptive method is here linked to a range of physical and psychological symptoms believed to be caused by an excess of copper. A Swedish Facebook group centered on this issue currently gathers around 8.500 members. Based on seven online focus groups with women recruited from this Facebook group, and six online focus groups with mid-wives and gynecologists, this paper explores how tensions between alternative and established claims about the copper IUD are expressed and negotiated in and between these groups. While gaining medical support in order to get well is a central concern to women with health issues believed to be related to the copper IUD, many report not only being unable to access help from, but not being taken seriously by, healthcare professionals. Healthcare providers, on the other hand, describe balancing between following guidelines or protocols and caring for or listening to the individual patient. We discuss such tensions and processes of negotiating between sources of knowledge and uncertainty described by participants from both groups.


  • Department of Gender Studies
  • Social Epidemiology

Publishing year




Document type

Conference paper: abstract


  • Gender Studies
  • Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine

Conference name

Futures Ahead - Translations and collaborations between medicine, social science and the humanities

Conference date

2022-06-15 - 2022-06-17

Conference place

Linköping, Sweden



Research group

  • Social Epidemiology