Proper functioning of thyroid is very essential for a woman’s reproductive system, right from puberty through menopause. During pregnancy thyroid hormone is most needed for the proper growth and development of the fetus. And even after childbirth the thyroid must be in good order or else it can turn into a complicated case.
The thyroid disorder which occurs after child birth is commonly known as postpartum thyroiditis and it is characterized by the inflammation and swelling of the thyroid gland. It’s a fairly common condition and is experienced by nearly 2-8% of the women, after childbirth. Postpartum thyroid can result hyperthyroidism followed by hypothyroidism, which can be found out only after getting the diagnostic tests done.
During the initial phase postpartum thyroid goes completely ignored because the symptoms may be completely missing. In the first stage the thyroid may start producing thyroid hormone in excess because the gland is inflamed, and slowly the hormone release starts falling till the hormone levels go below normal because the reservoirs got depleted. And in case the gland has suffered too much of damage the thyroid hormone levels may never return to normal without proper treatment.
Who is at risk?
Here are some of the conditions which make you prone to postpartum thyroid:
If you have ever been diagnosed with a thyroid problem in the earlier part of your life, your chances of getting postpartum thyroid are 20%, and it doesn’t really matter even if the problem was fully treated, back then.
Women whose blood contains anti-thyroid antibodies, because these antibodies keep on destroying the thyroid hormone. Women usually have a higher count of these antibodies when compared with men, and this count goes on increasing with age.
Hereditary factors can also the reason, although it’s very rare.
Women who have experienced complications in their earlier pregnancies and child birth are also believed to be at an increased risk of postpartum thyroiditis. And in case the woman experienced postpartum thyroid problem after any of their earlier deliveries, their risk of getting it once again just double up.
Besides these, any complications developed during a pregnancy or childbirth can injure and inflame the thyroid gland, leading to postpartum thyroiditis.