Postpartum Thyroiditis: What You Should Know

Pregnancy and childbirth leave signs in a woman's body. Although it may be confused with other conditions, a thyroid hormone imbalance can cause postpartum thyroiditis.
Postpartum Thyroiditis: What You Should Know

Last update: 09 December, 2019

Postpartum thyroiditis is caused by a thyroid hormone imbalance. It occurs in different stages of life and women are more likely to suffer from it.

During the months after postpartum, it’s often confused with other symptoms of the postpartum period itself. However, it’s important to make a proper diagnosis to access appropriate treatment.

Postpartum thyroiditis refers to inflammation of the thyroid gland that occurs after having a baby. It consists of two distinct stages:

  • The first stage is characterized by hyperthyroidism.
  • If the condition isn’t treated, it could lead to hypothyroidism, which can also be cured.

Common causes of hypothyroidism

Experts don’t know the exact reasons why some women suffer from postpartum thyroiditis. Also, some factors increase the risks for mothers:

  • Women with a history of thyroid dysfunctions.
    • Women who have had hyperthyroidism are more likely to undergo changes in TS production. The body undergoes various hormonal changes.
  • Other previous illnesses.
    • Women with type 1 diabetes or other autoimmune diseases that alter hormone production. It starts with a thyroid hormone deficiency that leads to excess hormones and that then leads to hypothyroidism associated with postpartum thyroiditis. Moreover, the thyroid defenses are directly attacked.
  • Iodine deficiency.
    • This mineral is essential for thyroid gland functioning. You can get it through certain foods and from the environment. Some toxic drugs and intoxicants affect the incorporation of iodine.
Postpartum Thyroiditis: What You Should Know

How does hypothyroidism associated with postpartum thyroiditis occur?

Each person may manifest different symptoms of hypothyroidism. If you have one or several symptoms of this condition, we recommend undergoing a test to rule it out. Generally, new moms don’t think their symptoms are caused by this condition.

It’s even very easy for them to believe they’re experiencing postpartum depression. For this reason, it’s very important to go to the doctor and get the right tests for a diagnosis.

Symptoms of postpartum thyroiditis

These are the clear symptoms of hypothyroidism associated with postpartum thyroiditis:

  • Constant fatigue or lack of energy.
  • Muscle and joint pains.
  • Cramps.
  • Difficulty regaining weight.
  • Unexplained weight gain.
  • Fluid retention that manifests by hand and feet swelling.
  • Body temperature regulation alterations. It usually manifests with intolerance to cold.
  • Metabolism imbalances. Slow digestion accompanied by constipation.
  • Hair loss.
  • Forgetting things that just happened and unexplained tripping related to tiredness.
  • Nervousness, tearfulness, and mood changes that hinder personal relationships.
  • Headache and heaviness.
  • Reduced breast milk production.

Treatment for hypothyroidism

Once the disease is diagnosed with a blood test that determines T3 and T4 levels, the treatment is simple. An expert indicates the patient to consume thyroid hormones to regain normal levels. These supplements don’t affect the baby’s health.

The dose may be adjusted periodically, which is why medical control is necessary. It’s also important to accompany these supplements with special diets that promote hormone circulation. In particular, doctors recommend avoiding foods or drugs that obstruct transport.

What to avoid if you have hypothyroidism?

These are the foods and ingredients you should avoid if you have hypothyroidism associated with postpartum thyroiditis:

  • Soy milk.
  • Radishes, sprouts, and the like, as they interfere with the transport of thyroid hormones.
  • Meat or fatty dairy products.
  • Foods in direct contact with hot plastic, as their toxicity affects iodine quality.
  • Products that came from areas treated with fertilizers or other toxic products.

These measures are recommended even when the presence of hypothyroidism hasn’t been detected. It’s a good way to prevent the disease in women with an increased risk due to their history.

Postpartum Thyroiditis: What You Should Know

Relationship between hypothyroidism and breastfeeding

One of the things that most concern mothers is breastfeeding. Providing breast milk helps build a special bond between mother and child, as it provides the basic nutrients the baby needs and boosts the self-esteem of both. Therefore, it’s important to have information in this regard.

Thyroid hormone therapy is beneficial for both mother and baby, as it increases the production of breast milk. In addition, it balances other bodily systems, such as energy, mood, and the ability to rest in peace.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.