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Postpartum Thyroiditis


Postpartum thyroiditis is an inflammation of the thyroid gland (located in the neck just below the Adam’s apple). It usually occurs within a year after a woman gives birth. It affects five to ten out of every 100 women after they deliver a baby. There are usually two phases of the disease—hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone) and hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone).

In the usual first phase—hyperthyroidism—the inflamed thyroid gland leaks stored thyroid hormone (which consists of T3 and T4) into the blood. This phase usually lasts 2 to 4 months. Too much thyroid hormone in your blood causes your metabolism to speed up. Metabolism is how your body uses and stores energy. Symptoms can include:

• Losing weight suddenly
• A fast heartbeat
• Tiredness
• Feeling nervous
• Sweating
• Sensitivity to heat

Inflammation can damage the thyroid, making it less able to produce thyroid hormone. This can lead to the second phase—hypothyroidism. This phase may last up to a year. Too little thyroid hormone in your blood slows your metabolism. Many women with hypothyroidism have a goiter—an enlarged thyroid gland that causes swelling in the front part of the neck. Other symptoms of hypothyroidism can include:

• Unexplained weight gain or inability to lose weight
• Feeling tired or fatigued
• Depression
• Dry skin and brittle nails
• Hair loss
• Sensitivity to cold

Read more

Resource:
The Hormone Foundation

Dr. Lysette Iglesias M.D.

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