Health

Symptoms Of Post-Partum Thyroiditis And How To Treat It

Today our Healthy Mummy Nutritionist, Mandy Dos Santos, shares some research on the much talked about Post-Partum Thyroiditis. If you have any concerns that you may be suffering from this, please speak to your G.P.

Post-Partum ThyroiditisPregnancy and giving birth to a beautiful bundle of joy is one of the most amazing experiences in our lives.

We see our bodies go through immense change from the time of conception, to having the baby and even the resulting years post birth.

Not only do our bodies change, but our lifestyles change too. We are awake night after night, feeding every hour, not eating properly, fatigued and generally feeling exhausted and sometimes anxious.

Sometimes this is just normal newborn life and sometimes, this overarching exhaustion could be linked to the functioning of your thyroid.

What is postpartum thyroiditis?

Post-Partum Thyroiditis
Image source: Pinterest

Post-partum thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease which can occur during the first year after a woman has given birth, often around the 6 week to 4-month mark. It affects around 5-10% of women post pregnancy.

Sadly, quite often the symptoms can be missed completely as they are vague and similar to general mum life.

There are two general types of postpartum thyroiditis, hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Post-partum thyroiditis may present as hypothyroidism alone, hyperthyroidism alone, or hyperthyroidism followed by hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism

Symptoms of hypothyroidism (under active thyroid) include:

  • fatigue
  • weight gain
  • intolerance to cold
  • low mood
  • heavy and prolonged menstrual flow
  • absence of a menstrual period in a woman of reproductive age
  • constipation
  • dry scaly skin
  • hair loss.

Hyperthryoidism

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism (over-active thyroid) include:

  • fatigue
  • tremors
  • anxiety
  • palpitations
  • intolerance of heat
  • sweating
  • weight loss
  • increased pulse rate
  • diarrhoea
  • light or no menstrual flow.

The thyroid has been known for a long time to be associated with the functioning of our metabolism and therefore one of the symptoms, amongst post-partum thyroiditis can be weight loss or weight gain.

With hypothyroidism a mother might experience weight gain, this is because the thyroid is under-performing, resulting in a lower basal metabolic rate.

With hyperthyroidism a mother might experience weight loss, due to the opposite in hypothyroidism, in that the thyroid is over performing, resulting in a higher basal metabolic rate.

What can be done to help?

A female doctor sits at her desk and listens to a female patient .  She is wearing blue scrubs and stethoscope and is sitting at her desk . In the background shelving containing sharps box, gloves and medicine can be seen .

Of course every person is different and even in hyperthyroidism, a woman might have an increased appetite which therefore does not lead to weight loss.

Postpartum thyroiditis is treatable and it is important if you suspect you have it to see your GP so it can be managed effectively and with appropriate medication if required.

Most women will recover completely from their condition but it is important to have it monitored and also discussed in subsequent pregnancies as the chance of you developing it again is greater.

The Healthy Mummy 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge is a safe and healthy way to lose weight after having a baby, however, if you are struggling to lose weight and think that it may be linked to a thyroid problem, then please make sure you consult your GP.

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Research: *Speller E, Brodribb W 2012, Breastfeeding and Thyroid disease: A literature review, Breastfeeding Review 20(2):41-47.Thyroid. 2011;21(10):1081-1125. doi:10.1089/thy.2011.0087.*
mandy-dos-santos
written by:

Amanda Dos Santos

Mandy is an experienced Nutritionist, food scientist and writer with over 10 years experience in the Heath industry. She has been part of the Healthy Mummy team of experts since 2012, writing informative and current blog posts and contributing to our recipe books. She has played an integral part in creating the recipes on our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenges since they first started in July 2014.Mandy is a mum of three and loves working for The Healthy Mummy, ”Especially on the challenges as I can create recipes which empower women to create nourishing food for themselves and their families’."