By naturopath Margaret Jasinska
Feeling tired, or even completely exhausted is a common complaint of new mums. Being pregnant and giving birth do take an enormous toll on your body and it takes quite some time to recover. Approximately five to ten percent of women develop a condition called postpartum thyroiditis. This is where the thyroid gland becomes inflamed and malfunctions after giving birth. This condition usually develops during the first six months after giving birth.
Postpartum thyroiditis occurs in two phases; first there is hyperthyroidism (where the thyroid is overactive), and then hypothyroidism (where the thyroid is underactive). The hyperthyroidism phase is short (lasting two to four months), and produces the following symptoms:
- Weight loss
- An increased appetite
- Fast heart rate and heart palpitations
- Heat intolerance
Most women don’t experience all of these symptoms and they tend to be quite mild, therefore often go unnoticed.
In the second phase, the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones, and this causes the symptoms of hypothyroidism. The following symptoms are possible:
- Goitre (enlargement of the thyroid gland). Not all women experience this.
- Cold intolerance
- Dry skin and brittle nails
- Scalp hair loss
- Weight gain
Many women put up with these symptoms for too long, expecting that they are just a natural consequence of being a sleep deprived new mum. However, if you can relate to these symptoms it pays to see your doctor for a simple blood test that can diagnose this condition.