If you are a woman, one of your most rewarding experiences would be to have a baby. Becoming a mom makes your schedules unpredictable and increases your responsibilities.
These demanding new activities in life can cause you to feel stressed and tired. Some women start feeling much better after six weeks to three months but some may develop symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue, depression, and poor memory.
Thyroid hormone in adequate amount plays an important role in the fetal development and also helps to lower the risk of any thyroid complications post delivery. Postpartum thyroiditis is one such postpartum complication. Postpartum thyroiditis is a condition that is characterized by temporary and painless inflammation of thyroid gland. Usually postpartum thyroiditis develops within the first year post delivery. It is usually observed from eight weeks to four months after delivery.
Postpartum thyroiditis affects almost 5 to 10% of woman after a child is born to her. And 25 to 30 % of these women who have developed this condition will develop permanent hypothyroidism within five years post delivery. Postpartum hypothyroidism may follow three courses viz. hyperthyroid phase that is followed by a normal functioning of the thyroid, hypothyroid phase and a hyperthyroid phase that is followed by hypothyroid phase.
If you are suffering from postpartum thyroiditis then you may firstly experience the symptoms of hyperthyroid phase including fatigue, nervousness, rapid heartbeat, irritability, sudden and unexplained weight loss and increased sensitivity to heat.
During this phase the thyroid gland is unable to control the release of the thyroid hormone. Hence there is too much release of thyroid hormone into the blood stream. In some cases the supply of thyroid hormone decreases after few weeks and the thyroid glands recovers and gets back to its normal function.
Hypothyroid phase may result after the hyperthyroid phase if sufficient damage has been caused to the thyroid gland as a result of hyperthyroid phase.
During hyperthyroid phase the sufferer can develop signs and symptoms of hypothyroid phase that includes hoarse voice, puffy face, fatigue and increased sensitivity to cold, constipation, fatigue, depression, muscle cramps and unexplained weight loss. This phase is usually temporary and lasts unto 6 to 8 months and can start between third and eight months post delivery.
If you have an immune system disorder, Type 1 diabetes or a history of thyroiditis then you may be at a greater risk of postpartum thyroiditis.