Hypothyroidism After Pregnancy (Symptoms, Causes, Treatments)
Hypothyroidism is a common type of postpartum thyroiditis, which may happen to new moms. Although, this condition is often rare and temporary, it should be taken seriously. Hypothyroidism after pregnancy affect some people more than others, like those with the history of thyroid trouble, or with type 1 diabetes.
In this article of Hipregnancy, we will cover all you should know about hypothyroidism after pregnancy, including its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatments, etc. Keep reading this article to the end to know what you can do for thyroid issues.
What is postpartum thyroiditis?
The thyroid is a tiny, butterfly-shaped gland, which is located in at the base and in front of your neck. Your thyroid job is to produce special hormones, that travel to all parts of your body, to control your body’s energy usage, and regulating weight, heart rate, body temperature, and blood pressure as well.
Postpartum thyroiditis refers to a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn’t work normally, it may become overactive or underactive. Hyperthyroidism happens when the amount of thyroid hormones is high, and in contrast, hypothyroidism after pregnancy happens when the amount of these hormones are low in your body.
In the following parts, we will explain the second type of postpartum thyroiditis, which is known as hypothyroidism. In such condition, your thyroid doesn’t make enough hormone, and it is underactive. If you don’t take it seriously, it can put your health at risk and cause several health issues.
As a result, it should be treated and cured, like other postpartum issues, hemorrhoid after pregnancy or other problem, to prevent its negative effects on your health and feelings.
What causes hypothyroidism after pregnancy?
According to studies, the exact causes of thyroiditis are still unknown. It doesn’t mean that we don’t know anything about the cause of hypothyroidism after pregnancy. This problem usually happens, when the immune system attacks the thyroid and because of that you experience thyroid inflammation.
The inflamed thyroid gland works abnormally, and in the case of hypothyroidism, it produces less thyroid hormones, which makes your body work too slow. Overall, it is not a very common condition, which ladies may experience after delivery, however, there are some ladies who are at a higher risk of this thyroid issue after pregnancy, including those with;
- A family history of thyroid problems
- A history of thyroid disease before getting pregnant
- Type 1 diabetes
- An experience of postpartum thyroiditis before
- Thyroid antibodies before pregnancy
Hypothyroidism after pregnancy symptoms
Often, the symptoms of this disease doesn’t appear until a few months after delivery. In addition, they are very similar to signs of postpartum recovery, and because of that, they are mistaken for recovery signs. Here is a list of common underactive thyroid symptoms;
- Weight gain
- Cold weather intolerance
- Memory loss
- Muscle cramps
You may feel one of the the mentioned signs of thyroid issues after pregnancy, or a set of them. Hipregnancy recommends you, to see your doctor, whenever you see the above signs and symptoms, to start treatment for hypothyroidism after pregnancy weight gain constipation, tiredness, other symptoms as soon as possible.
When to check thyroid levels after pregnancy?
For hypothyroid after pregnancy diagnosis, you need to check your body’s thyroid levels, about three or six months after childbirth. Your healthcare provider or doctor uses several blood test to diagnose thyroid trouble.
If you have hypothyroidism, your TSH level is high, and your T3 and T4 level is low, or low-normal. In addition, thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibody level is high in the hypothyroid phase. Your doctor can use the results of your blood tests to diagnose whether you have a thyroid problem or not.
We recommend you, to visit your doctor at three or six months postpartum to check the thyroid hormone levels, to prevent future concerns of this disease. It is better to treat it at the first stages, before getting worse.
Hypothyroidism after pregnancy treatment
Hipregnancy believes that you should see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment, because your provider checks your thyroid levels first, and then choose the best treatment for your disease, based on your circumstance.
Typically, the treatment depends on the severity of your symptoms, your age, as well as your general health. Taking levothyroxine is generally recommended for hypothyroidism after pregnancy, for those have severe symptoms, breastfeed their baby, or tying for a baby again.
In addition, those who don’t have any symptoms, but their TSH level is higher than 10 mIU/L should take levothyroxine. Usually, this drug is prescribed for about 1 year. During this period, you need to be checked every four to eight weeks, after one year, your medicine should be stopped gradually, if your thyroid function becomes normal. [1: medlineplus.gov]
Postpartum thyroiditis and breastfeeding
Hormone levels can affect milk supply during breastfeeding. When your thyroid doesn’t work properly, or when it is overactive or underactive, your milk supply can be affected, as the level of your hormones is not balanced.
Those ladies who have postpartum thyroiditis, including hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism after pregnancy, need to control their thyroid hormone levels to prevent any issues while breastfeeding.
Consider that if you don’t control your thyroiditis, you will face difficulty in the production of breastmilk, due to hormonal changes, anxiety, depression, and stress associated with thyroiditis.
To control and treat your thyroid disorder after pregnancy, you should visit your doctor and seek help. Fortunately, all thyroid medications are safe while breastfeeding. But Hipregnancy recommends you visit and talk to a certificated lactation consultant to manage your postpartum thyroiditis while breastfeeding your baby.
A lactation consultant, who is a health professional specializing in breastfeeding issues, can guide nursing mothers through their milk supply issues and other issues they may face while breastfeed their baby. Contact a lactation consultant or your doctor to be healthiest enough to take care of your newborn.
Risks of hypothyroidism after pregnancy
Thyroid disease must be controlled, because whenever it becomes severe and too high, it may lead to thyroid storm. We should warn you about thyroid storm, because it is a serious medical agency and can cause shock and collapse.
Although thyroid storm is rare, but whenever you feel the following symptoms, you should go to hospital and see a doctor, as soon as possible. Symptoms like;
- Fast heartbeat
- High fever
- Major irritation
- Yellowing eye and skin
- Major confusion
- Loss of consciousness
- Throwing up
Ladies may experience several postpartum issues, and hypothyroidism after pregnancy is one of them. Those who have this problem feel tired most of the time and experience abnormal weight gain. If you have hypothyroidism symptoms, you should visit your doctor to treat it. Otherwise, it becomes severe and put you at risk.
Now, we are ready to know your experiences about postpartum thyroiditis. “Do you have any experiences about hypothyroidism after pregnancy? Did it go away after treatment?” Share your experiences with us.
1. Does hypothyroidism go away after pregnancy?
Often, hypothyroidism goes away up to one year after childbirth, However, in some cases it does not go away. You should consult your doctor and seek help to treat your thyroid issues after pregnancy to control and manage them.
2. When does postpartum thyroiditis start?
Postpartum thyroiditis usually starts 4-6 months after the baby is born and may last up to one year after delivery. You must be aware of its signs and sypmtoms to control it at first stages.