While most new mothers face fatigue immediately after delivering their baby, it usually subsides after time. However, for some women it could be related to a thyroid dysfunction. HEALTH takes a closer look.
Post-partum thyroiditis (PPT) is a temporary painless inflammation of the thyroid gland that occurs the first year after delivery, explains Specialist Gynecologist Dr. Iliana Dmitrieva. “It occurs within the first year after delivery, usually from eight weeks to four months postpartum,” she explains with varying symptoms that are often dismissed as a normal part after delivery.
Knowing that fatigue is the most frequent symptom of PPT, it may be used as an indicator leading to the observation of other symptoms. Other symptoms in addition to fatigue may include: goiter, dry skin, constipation, weight gain, and cold intolerance. Goiter is the most common physical sign; it is the painless enlargement of the thyroid gland- this symptom along with an excessive need to sleep are obvious reasons for seeking treatment from the family doctor.
Fairly early on postpartum, pay close attention to symptoms of any hormonal imbalances, and have all your hormone levels tested periodically, including thyroid, progesterone, testosterone, and estrogen as well.
A Healthy Thyroid
A healthy, well-functioning thyroid gland is important to everyone, but is especially important to women in their childbearing years. A woman's thyroid status not only affects her overall health, but can also have a significant impact on the health and the well-being of the children she bears. In addition to increasing the risk of developing postpartum thyroiditis, the presence of antithyroid antibodies has been linked to an increased incidence of infertility, miscarriage, and postpartum depression.
Some researchers believe that most patients recover spontaneously and no treatment is needed. A majority of women will return to normal, several months to as much as a year after postpartum thyroid diagnosis, and will never have another problem. Other women have postpartum thyroid problems after every pregnancy, but otherwise things return to normal, until menopause.