Thyroid Problems After Having A Baby. Naperville Insitute For NeuroMetabolic Solutions Dr. Richard Hagmeyer
Thyroiditis Risks Linger for Many Women After Pregnancy
Up to 10 percent of U.S. women suffer from postpartum thyroiditis (PPT) in the year after giving birth. The condition, which is thought to be an autoimmune disease similar to Hashimoto’s, is generally thought to resolve in about one year.
However, a new study found that 54 percent of women remained hypothyroid one year after giving birth. According to the American Thyroid Association:
“It is believed that women who develop postpartum thyroiditis have an underlying asymptomatic autoimmune thyroiditis that flares in the postpartum period when there are fluctuations in immune function.”
PPT leads to a period of thyrotoxicosis (high thyroid hormone levels and often damage) followed by low thyroid hormone levels, or hypothyroidism. Although not all women go through both phases, the initial high thyroid level phase is often missed because it occurs in the first one to four months after delivery and causes symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, fast heart rate, fatigue, weight loss, and irritability — all of which can be confused with the normal experiences of having a new baby.
After this phase, typically within four to eight months after birth women with PPT often experience fatigue, weight gain, constipation, dry skin, depression and other symptoms of hypothyroidism. For 80 percent of women, thyroid levels will return to normal on their own, typically within one year but possibly not for another six months or more. But in the remaining 20 percent hypothyroidism may continue. Further, the report in Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism notes that up to half of women will develop permanent hypothyroidism within five years of the initial PPT.
It doesnt make sense to sit idle and let the destruction to your thryoid continue.
Women with positive anti-thyroid antibodies, autoimmune disorders, history of PPT or other thyroid dysfunction, or other signs of high risk for thyroid disease may be up to six times more likely to develop postpartum thyroiditis.
If you have recently had a baby and are experiencing mild signs of PPT, our best recommendation is to be properly evaluated and if necessary take measures that can prevent this condition from becoming permanent.
However, because the hypothyroid phase can continue up to a year or more, and may reoccur with subsequent pregnancies or as permanent hypothyroidism years later, keeping on top of the condition with the help of a knowledgeable health care practitioner is highly recommended.
Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism December 29, 2010 [PDF]
The Naperville Institute For NeuroMetabolic Solutions is passionate about improving the lives and lifestyles of individuals with Hypothyroidism, Hyperthryoidism and Hashimoto’s Disease. Call us at 630-718-0555 to schedule your Case Review. There are answers as to why you feel the way you do.