Search Autoimmune Association
Share this article
Am Post Partum Thyroid

Is Your Post-Partum Thyroid Condition Chronic?

Women who have been recently diagnosed with a thyroid disease may be overwhelmed, especially if it is in combination with becoming a new mom. The symptoms associated with thyroid disease may also be associated with lack of sleep, fatigue, and weight gain from a pregnancy and motherhood in general. However, it is never wrong for a woman to challenge a diagnosis and to seek alternative therapies in conjunction with a prescribed treatment, especially if you are on a low dose of medication, or have been diagnosed with post-partum thyroiditis.

What is the typical thyroid treatment and will I be taking medication for life?

The diagnosis of thyroid disease should be confirmed with routine blood tests specific to thyroid function. Often medication is prescribed. If you have been diagnosed with Hypothyroidism you are deficient in thyroid hormones. If you have been diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism the opposite is true and your body makes too much thyroid hormones. Medications are specific to your diagnosis.

In either case, how do you know if you still need the medication, or if there are other treatments that would work just as well after you begin feeling better?

What are some risks of halting the medication to test the diagnosis?

The symptoms most annoying for a new mom diagnosed with Hypothyroidism are fatigue, weight gain, and muscle pain. Many diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism have no symptoms or may be irritable or feel weak.  If the symptoms that you experienced before the medications have disappeared you may have fears about “feeling worse again” if you go off your medications. Yet many women also fear being on medications that they no longer need because of side effects.  Those fears are real, but should not keep you from discussing the medications with your physician. No one wants to go back to being so tired that it is an effort to shower or make a meal.

The other side of the symptoms associated with thyroid disease is the percentage of women underdiagnosed. Those are women who have the fatigue, the depression, the lack of energy, and the muscle pain whose symptoms are treated as part of the post-partum experience and never prescribed medications. Either case is a lacking in patient-doctor communication and inadequate provision of healthcare, resulting in an incorrect diagnosis.

How might I feel if I just stopped taking the medication?

It is never wise to take yourself off of prescribed medications without discussing the potential harmful effects with your doctor. Stopping many medications “cold turkey” can often cause a rebound of symptoms and can make you feel weak, tired, and irritable.

Don’t let your fears overcome your gut instinct that a change needs to be made. If you feel that medications are not the right choice for you, then take your concerns to your provider and work together to find a plan that works for you.

What’s the best approach for evaluating a change to my thyroid hormone medication?

  • Do talk honestly with your partner and your doctor so you know what to expect.
  • Do ask about alternative therapies. Be willing to make dietary and lifestyle changes that may improve your thyroid health, especially if you choose to go off a medication which may include decreasing work hours, napping, and reducing daily stress.
  • Do seek another opinion if you are not satisfied with the response you receive from your health care provider.  There are a range of opinions about how to treat thyroid conditions.

Remember that you know your body. You know how you felt before the medications and how you feel now. Developing an honest and open relationship with your health care provider is imperative to your good health and to finding the course of treatment that works best for you.

Questions for your doctor:

Keep notes about how you are feeling now and what you are afraid of if you stop the medications. Bring this list with you to discuss your fears with your doctor and come armed with appropriate questions.

  • How long should I stop taking the medication before I get a Thyroid panel blood test?
  • Do I wean the dose of medication and how long do I wean before stopping?
  • What symptoms would be alarming and should I report back to the doctor?
  • How long will I be off the medication before getting another blood test?
  • Will there be a difference in my body’s reaction to stopping the medication if I’m taking a synthetic hormone vs. a natural hormone, since there are different hormones in each of those? Or does it depend on the individual person?
  • Are there other alternatives to treatment other than medications?
  • Are there any risks if I stop the medication and then start back on it again if my thyroid levels fall out of the “normal” range?
AutoimmuneMom

About the Author
Terri Forehand is a critical care nurse and freelance writer. She is the author The Cancer Prayer Book and a soon to be released picture book titled The ABC’s of Cancer According to Lilly Isabella Lane. She writes from her home where she lives with her husband and an array of rescue dogs nestled in the hills of Brown County, Indiana.

 

This blog post was originally published by AutoimmuneMom.com, written by Terri Forehand and first published on Mar 8, 2012.

This post contains the opinions of the author. Autoimmune Association is not a medical practice and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is your responsibility to seek diagnosis, treatment, and advice from qualified providers based on your condition and particular circumstances. Autoimmune Association does not endorse nor recommend any products, practices, treatment methods, tests, physicians, service providers, procedures, clinical trials, opinions or information available on this website. Your use of the website is subject to our Privacy Policy.

Share this article

Join our email list

Receive the latest blog articles, news, and more right to your inbox!

Related articles you might be interested in

Am Addisons Disease Celiac Mom Story

Addison’s Disease & Celiac Mom Story: “The Autoimmune Snowball”

I was 32 years old.  I had just survived a miserable pregnancy and rough delivery, but instead of gaining my strength back and...
Am Addisons Disease

Addison’s Disease: Overview of Antibodies & Genetic Links

Addison’s disease, also known as primary adrenal insufficiency, is an endocrine condition involving destruction of parts of the adrenal gland (which sits atop...
Am Addisons Disease And Pregnancy

Addison’s Disease and Pregnancy

What are some implications for pregnancy with Addison’s disease? Among the many autoimmune diseases, Addison’s stands out as one with an often delayed...

Find more resources on autoimmunity

Learn more about autoimmunity, diagnosis tips, how to find a physician, and more.