Postpartum thyroiditis is a type of autoimmune disease that occurs within the first year of delivering a baby. Recent studies suggest it's possible for a few deviant antibodies to cross the placenta from the babies immune system and cause havoc on a women's healthy thyroid cells that are responsible for forming the thyroxine hormone.
Thyroxine is one of the five most common hormones that affect your thyroid during pregnancy. Thyroxine, human chorionic gonadotropin, estradiol, relaxin, and progesterone are hormones interacting in your body, having an impact on pregnancy.
Diabetes and PPT
One of the risk factors for PPT is having diabetes. One if four people suffering from diabetes has thyroiditis.
Not all women experience the same symptoms of PPT. The symptoms of hyperthyroidism are prevalent when the antibodies begin attacking cells in your thyroid gland. As cells are attacked, thyroxine levels rise and cells rupture and die.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism are usually experienced around the third or fourth month after delivery. Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism are restlessness, agitation, and nervousness.
As the condition worsens, there are too few healthy thyroid cells to produce adequate T3 and T4 (thyroxine), which results in more lethargic symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
Many women return to a normal thyroid function as the abnormal cells from the child run out. In most women, this condition is resolved by the baby's first birthday, but for 25 percent of women, this condition progresses to hyperthyroidism within 5 years.
Treatment for postpartum thyroiditis should be focused on correcting your current hormone imbalance. If you experience hyperthyroidism, you may need to replace thyroxine, and you may need to suppress your thyroid with PTU. Propylthiouracil (PTU) is an antithyroid medication used to suppress the thyroid.
It's likely a good idea to have a thyroid panel and run thyroid tests if you become symptomatic so you can monitor whether or not you're developing hyperthyroidism.
Most women recover completely after PPT and won't require thyroid hormone replacement.
However, some women may elect to be treated briefly, as the symptoms of fatigue and difficulty losing weight overlap with hyperthyroid symptoms. About 25% of women may ultimately require thyroid hormone replacement if their thyroid function doesn't completely return to normal.
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