Postpartum Thyroiditis

I've had some of you ask about my experience with Postpartum Thyroiditis so I'm happy to share it with you all. I know many people have never even heard of it, nor had I. It's nothing too serious but it's definitely a disorder that effects your life in a very big way for some of the most important months of motherhood.

About 3 months postpartum I began to feel completely and utterly exhausted.  I could hardly function, I was randomly dozing off throughout the day, my hair was falling out by the handful, I was losing a significant amount of weight, my heart was beating out of my chest and I literally felt delirious.  I decided to make an appointment with my doctor and she suggested it was likely due to being a new mom and a new mom to twins at that.  Of course fatigue during the first few months is normal, as is some postpartum hair loss but I knew this feeling wasn't normal. I explained that A & S were sleeping 6-8 hours at night and I still couldn't function no matter how much sleep I got, my hair was falling out in chunks, my pulse was consistently around 120 and I had lost 50+lbs very quickly.  She decided to go ahead and order lab work to rule anything out. 

When the lab results came in my thyroid levels were considered "Hyperthyroid".  She sent me for an ultrasound of my thyroid which didn't show any destruction or abnormalities. Then, I was referred to an endocrinologist who did another ultrasound and explained that in fact the thyroid didn't show any destruction or abnormalities.  He was confident it was postpartum thyroiditis which occurs in 5-10% of postpartum women but stated it could be something permanent. Basically postpartum thyroiditis is an inflammation of the thyroid glad, it's painless and for the most part temporary. It can consist of both a hyperthyroid phase and a hypothyroid stage or just one.

My choices were :

1.) Radioactive Iodine- which absolutely terrified me since I was breastfeeding and I didn't really see that as an option.

2.) Wait it out a few months and see if my thyroid levels return to normal.

I chose to wait it out. Over the next several months, I had multiple labs done to recheck my thyroid levels to ensure they were leveling out and not continuing to rise or drop too significantly.  Luckily, I only experienced the hyperthyroid phase and it eventually leveled out and I was feeling back to myself. Looking back, I truly do not know how I made it through those first few months at home having to deal with the disorder. It was completely and utterly exhausting. No words could ever describe the fatigue I experienced. So, if you think you're suffering from the disorder it's definitely something to have checked out. There really isn't a ton of research done on it, therefore there was really no matter of fact explanation of why I ended up with it. I truly hope none of you have to experience it but I am very grateful I didn't experience anything more serious, I'll take postpartum thyroiditis over many things.

Posted on July 21, 2014 and filed under Motherhood.