Your Postpartum Fatigue Could Be A Sign Of Thyroid Problems

Postpartum fatigue and low thyroid symptoms

Soon after the birth of my first son in 2006, I was overwhelmed with a debilitating fatigue that never seemed to end. I wished every night to sleep like a baby and hoped to wake up refreshed in the morning like my pre-pregnancy self. Instead I woke every morning struggling to get up for my newborn baby and make it through the day. There are no words to describe the exhaustion I felt that year except to say it was an awful sick tired that no amount of sleep could alleviate. Looking back I don’t know how I made it through that year of my life.

Whenever my son would wake in the night for his feeding in the initial months, I would find myself drenched in sweat with my heart pounding and then be unable to fall back asleep. The pregnancy weight initially came off very easily and quickly. However several months later I noticed that the weight started packing on faster and faster and I couldn’t stop the weight gain no matter what I tried.

My doctor said that it was normal for new mothers to be tired and to struggle with pregnancy weight. She said good-bye and passed me prescriptions for sleeping pills and anti-depressants. However this didn’t seem normal to me. This didn’t feel like a new mother struggling with sleep deprivation. This felt like every part of my body was shutting down and I had an inner sick feeling. My instincts told me she was wrong. I did not know then that I should have insisted my doctor check my thyroid levels. I just didn’t know.

By my son’s first birthday, he was sleeping through the night but still I felt an overpowering fatigue weighing me down. My weight continued to climb. My hair was falling out. The heels of my feet were cracked and my scalp itched. My legs were numb to the touch. Unusually heavy menstrual bleeding, chronic constipation, and constant infections plagued me. From being a healthy woman prior to pregnancy, now my cholesterol and blood sugar levels were sky high and my blood pressure was abnormally low.

Then when my son was 15 months old, painful kidney stones landed me in the emergency room. The doctor unsure of the cause of my stones decided to do a full blood work up. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism that day in the ER.

What had happened to me?

Postpartum Thyroiditis

Postpartum thyroiditis is a condition in which the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck, becomes inflamed and dysfuncional in the first year after childbirth. Pregnancy is a time of complex hormonal changes and therefore a time when women are particularly vulnerable to developing thyroid dysfunction.

In a large quantitative review that included 21 published articles encompassing a total of over 8000 women, the pooled prevalence of postpartum thyroid dysfunction was 8.1%. According to this study reported in Thyroid, postpartum thyroid dysfunction occurs in 1 of 12 women in the general population worldwide, and 1 of 17 women in the United States.1

According to the 2011 Guidelines of the American Thyroid Association for the Diagnosis and Management of Thyroid Disease During Pregnancy and Postpartum, the “classical form” of postpartum thyroiditis consists of an initial period of transient hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) followed by transient hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) with a return to normal by the end of the initial postpartum year. The hyperthyroid phase typically occurs between 2 and 6 months postpartum, followed by the hypothyroid phase around 3 to 12 months postpartum. 25% of women present with this classical form, 32% with isolated hyperthyroidism, and 43% with isolated hypothyroidism.2

I experienced the classical form of postpartum thyroiditis through my first postpartum year with a distinct hyperthyroidism phase during the first initial months of my son’s life followed by hypothyroidism that started some time around the 6th month postpartum.

Each woman may experience symptoms differently, however here is a list of common symptoms:

Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)

• Sudden weight loss

• Rapid heartbeat and palpitations

• Nervousness, anxiety and irritability

• Sweating

• More frequent bowel movements

• Fatigue

• Muscle weakness

• Difficulty sleeping

Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)

• Fatigue

• Unexplained weight gain

• Constipation

• Pale, dry skin

• Elevated blood cholesterol level

• Puffy face

• Increased sensitivity to cold

• Muscle aches and weakness

• Heavier than normal menstrual periods

• Brittle fingernails and hair

• Depression

While some women spontaneously recover by the end of the first postpartum year, a recently published article based on a large-scale study in Italy reported that 54% of women with postpartum thyroiditis have persistent hypothyroidism at the end of the first postpartum year.3 I am one of the many women who never recovered postpartum.

Six years later I am still hypothyroid. However by taking charge of my thyroid health and by finding a top thyroid doctor, I am in excellent health despite my hypothyroidism.

I often wonder what would have happened to me if the emergency room physician on duty the day I developed painful kidney stones had not checked my thyroid levels. I would be a very sick, tired woman today with no idea that my thyroid was to blame.

What about you?

Did you just have a child? Do you suffer from these same symptoms?

Have you been diagnosed with postpartum thyroiditis?

Did your thyroid problems begin after pregnancy?

References:

  1. Nicholson, W.K., Robinson, K.A., Smallridge, R.C., Ladenson, P.W., Powe, N.R. Prevalence of postpartum thyroid dysfunction: a quantitative review. Thyroid 2006;16(6):573–82
  2. Stagnaro-Green, A., Abalovich, M., Alexander, E., Azizi, F., Mestman, J., Negro, R., Nixon, A., Pearce, E.N., Soldin, O.P., Sullivan, S., and Wiersinga, W. Guidelines of the American Thyroid Association for the Diagnosis and Management of Thyroid Disease During Pregnancy and Postpartum. Retrieved from http://thyroidguidelines.net/pregnancy
  3. Stagnaro-Green A, Schwartz A, Gismondi R, Tinelli A, Mangieri T, Negro R 2011 High rate of persistent hypothyroidism in a large-scale prospective study of postpartum thyroiditis in southern Italy. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 96:652–657
About Dana Trentini

Who knew that little butterfly-shaped thyroid gland at the base of my neck could affect my life so completely? Hypothyroid Mom was created in memory of the unborn baby I lost to hypothyroidism. Connect with me on Google+

Comments

  1. My name is Paul, Dana’s husband and father of the two miracle babies. I married my wife for her brains (she just happens to be very beautiful with a lovely personality.) When we were dating I was impressed with how much Dana would study for self improvement. She was the first science major I ever dated and I was intrigued by how someone could be so interested in a major like neuro science. She was always taking courses and doing independent research. She really did have her choice of any profession she wanted. She had two University degrees when I met her and I had one. I went back to school to upgrade and got my second. She then went back to school and picked up not one but two more – at which point I said “I give up you win!” Why am I saying all of this?? It’s because I want everyone who reads Dana’s blog to understand that you are dealing with a person who “eats books for breakfast” and truly enjoys the love of research. When she has a free moment of time she will dash through a Charles Dickens 600 page novel here and there.

    I am truly impressed with how Dana has filtered the universe of scientific findings, tips, Eastern and Western medicine, midwife learnings, and everyday common sense to come up with a regimen that worked well for her (us). I am also so impressed with how she is going to such effort to give this up to the world to be helpful and to provide insights that many other women/couples may not otherwise have come across.

    Good for you Dana – certain things in my life hit me with a certainty that I am compelled to act upon no matter what. You were one of them … and now we are four

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Thank you Paul. This is my husband. He knows better than anyone the effects of postpartum thyroiditis. It was a very challenging year for us following the birth of our first son. We were new parents to a newborn and I was struggling just to stay awake not knowing that my thyroid was to blame for my health issues. I made it through thanks to a supportive husband. Thanks Paul.

    • Catherine Dowdy says:

      Dana,
      I just came across your site tonight, and as I sit here reading this particular post, tears are falling down my face… I am reading my story… After becoming pregnant with my miracle child in 2006, I discovered that I had gestational hyperthyroidism.. My endocrinologist put me on PTU my entire pregnancy… He told me that it was not Graves’ disease.. He said that it was most likely silent thyroiditis…I stopped taking it a few weeks after my son was born as per the dr.. My son’s newborn tests came back that he was hypothyroid.. I was told because I took the medicine during my pregnancy for HYPERthyroidism.. His follow up tests came back normal… I went through what I thought was normal ” post partum depression” and was treated for that.. But I know know that it was the hyperthyroidism phase of the swing… It was different than when I was pregnant with it because I had a newborn to take care of and a c-section I was recovering from as well. I couldn’t sleep, eat, function, etc. I was losing weight.. I had panic attacks, anxiety… Then when I thought I was getting a handle on things, I found out that my son was born with a birth defect.. Optic Nerve Hypoplasia.. He was blind in his left eye.. He wasn’t sleeping at all. I was devastated… I began to gain weight.. But still wasn’t eating, was depressed and I had body aches, extreme fatigue as well…. I attributed it to my son’s diagnosis and trying to deal with that and going back to work and adjusting my life to having a child with special needs… I went to doctor after doctor and they attributed it to my being a first time mom who couldn’t cope with having a special needs child and the stress of my new life… They handed my diet pills, antidepressants, etc.. They didn’t work… I talked to my family and they told me about all of my close family members who had autoimmune disorders such as hasimotos, sjogrens, fibromyalgia, ryanauds, hypothyroidism, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.. So I went to a rheumatologist to see if I had anything in that area.. After talking to the dr and giving her my symptoms, she was almost positive that I had fibromyalgia.. So she put me on 8 new meds to treat that.. I could tell a small difference, but that was probably just the pain medicine.. I never lost any weight… It knocked only the edge off my depression, I still have no energy.. It only controlled my high cholesterol… (Which I NEVER had problems with until after I had my son..) fast forward 5 LONG YEARS…. here I am .. Only taking about 5 of the same meds… But no closer to a diagnosis of what I wholeheartedly believe is a thyroid problem… I have been to numerous doctors and because my tests fluctuate between normal to hypothyroid, they won’t “diagnose” me or treat me as such… Even though I have all the symptoms… I am like you.. I have not swung back into the hyperthyroid state since after my son was born 5 years ago.. I have gained over 70 pounds even though I diet, cholesterol is in heart attack range ( I am 34), BP is 90/50, can hardly move I am so fatigued, been hospitalized for numerous kidney stones, skin and hair is now dry, hair falls out in clumps, cold all the time, confusion, constipation, depressed, face is puffy, swelling, I have 2 nodules on my thyroid, can hardly swallow, throat is swollen, etc… And they still think that because my NUMBERS don’t show enough that I am not hypothyroid!!! I don’t know what else to do…

      So when I read your post, it felt like for the first time.. Someone else understood what I felt like… It wasn’t in my head… I don’t even think that i have fibromyalgia! I think it has been my thyroid all along.. I am not a hypochondriac.. With thyroid problems, it affects so many different systems and functions of the body that it can almost seem like there is always something wrong with some part of your body… At times, I have felt like I was going crazy.. I am educated as well. I have a BA in Sociology and a Masters in Psychology and Counseling… Even so… I still began to doubt my own body and my feelings until I came upon your site… I just wanted to tell you thank you.. Thank you for giving me the push I need To keep going and make sure that i find someone who will listen and treat my symptoms and see if this is indeed Thyroid related… Before my son was born, I had so much drive and energy and was always an active participant in my life… After my son was born and my body turned against me, I felt like my son got the raw end of the deal too, because he didnt get the active energetic person that I was before he was born.. And that isn’t fair to him… I want my life back.. And I am going to fight until I find a doctor who will help me get it back…

      Thank you…… ((Hugs)))

      Catherine

      • Dana Trentini says:

        Oh Catherine, I am so sorry for all that you have been through and for your son who has the challenge of dealing with a birth defect. Your symptoms all sound so scarily like my own. Please Please Please Please yes yes yes you must get a second, third, fourth, fifth, even tenth medical opinion until you find a doctor who is listening to you. Given your family history of autoimmune disease, you must be sure to have your thyroid antibodies tested for Hashimoto’s along with Free T4, Free T3, and Reverse T3. Most doctors only test TSH and if that’s normal then they refuse to treat despite obvious symptoms. However thyroid advocates worldwide are pushing for testing of Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3 and thyroid antibodies to give a clearer picture of the problem. You must read my post on Hashimoto’s and then use my post “Top 10 Resources to Find a Great Thyroid Doctor in 2013″ to find yourself a new doctor. Catherine, I write stories here on my blog that inspire me. Your son’s story is particularly striking to me because I have found research linking maternal hypothyroidism to birth defects in newborns. May I mention your story in a future post. I don’t have to include your name or your son’s if you prefer. I believe it would be very powerful to show how necessary proper thyroid testing is in pregnancy. Currently there is no mandatory thyroid testing in pregnancy and it upsets me to no end. Best of health to you and your son.

        http://hypothyroidmom.com/hypo-like-a-rock-star-hashimotos/

        http://hypothyroidmom.com/top-10-resources-to-find-a-great-thyroid-doctor-in-2013/

    • Hiya, I was diagnosed subclinical hypothyroid when my baby was 3 months old. She is now 18months and I’m currently on levothyroxine. When I was diagnosed I my tsh was 20.4 so I was put on 100mcg of levo, months later I dropped to 0.04.my t3 and t4 are all in the normal ranges. Now I am on 75mcg of levo and my tsh is now normal at 1.1. My main question is as I was put on levothyroxine straight away and my levels are now in the normal ranges,what’s to say I do not need this tablets any more and my thyroid is now ok as I developed this post child birth. I ask as I have read the thyroid can normalise again if developed post child birth. My weight is stable but I still have Atleast 2 stone to lose which I am struggling with. I do not want yo be taking something if I do not need to. I considering stopping these pills for a month then getting assessed at the doctors. I’m sorry if I’m not making any sense, I hope someone understands me!!!! Thanks

  2. I had postpartum thyroiditis but was only aware that is what it was just recently. I had what I thought was post partum anxiety/ Depression. I coouldn’t sleep around my sons 2nd month and was losing my mind with terrible anxiety. I would lay down to sleep and my heart would pound and race. My OBGYN unfortunately never checked my thyroid or even thought to.By the time my youngest was 2 and I had started noticing my hair which had always been thick and curly was now sparse and thin. I went to my family practice doctor who found thyroid antibodies but a normal TSH. So she put me on levothyroxine to see if it would help lower the antibodies and help with symptoms but I had a horrible time with it, Insomnia and Heart palipitations. I went to an endocrinologist who then tested my TSH, T4, Free T4 and T3 but no reverse’s or free t3. My T3 was on the low range but she said that was normal because it fluctuates all day. I still have trouble with Insomnia and my hair has not fully recovered. I also have crazy cold hands and have moments of irritiabilty.. I found a Thyroid clinic in MA who deals with natural Thyroid medications and I have an appt in May to have a second opinion. I hope its not the begining of Hypothyroidism but I want to be sure..
    Thank you for all your insight and sharing your stories. If it werent for people like you alot of women may be suffering with out help getting the right treatment.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Ginger, It never ceases to amaze me the number of women that develop postpartum thyroiditis yet their thyroid is never tested postpartum. I hope to see the day when this changes and complete thyroid testing is mandatory postpartum for every woman around the world. You are right that you need to have full testing to fully understand your condition including Free T3 and reverse T3. There are many people who do not tolerate thyroid drug treatment and often times the issues are either with poor adrenal function (which can be tested with saliva testing for cortisol levels) or with their iron and ferritin levels. I am happy you are seeking a second opinion and be sure to ask for this testing. As well there are many underlying issues possible with Hashimoto’s which should also be tested including sex hormone levels, vitamin B12, D3 and selenium. As well there is a great deal of research connecting Hashimoto’s with gluten intolerance and food sensitivities. Here is a post on Hashimoto’s as well thyroid advocate Mary Shomon wrote a book on hair loss for thyroid sufferers.

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/hypo-like-a-rock-star-hashimotos/

      http://thyroid.about.com/cs/hairloss/a/hairloss.htm

      http://www.thyroid-info.com/articles/hairloss.htm

  3. Tabitha says:

    My daughter is now 13; but I remember that my body completely fell apart after I had her. I had postpartum depression for the full time that I was breastfeeding her, three and a half years. I gained only 15 pounds with the pregnancy but in the year after I gained over 30 pounds that wouldn’t budge for years. I was tired beyond comprehension, was depressed, and also looking at pictures, my whole body was puffed up from my face to my fingers. I had and still do an itchy scalp and my body would sometimes feel like crawling bugs under my skin. Anyway fast forward 10 years and last year it felt like I had a complete breakdown of my health. I became hypoglycemic, had panic and anxiety, and the fatigue worsened to where I had to quit my job. I’ve been without insurance for a year and still am so no testing for me. However, I’m currently doing a nutritional balancing program that is done through a hair mineral test to determine what your body is lacking. According to my results, my practitioner says I’m in the 3rd stage of adrenal insufficiency and that I’m hypothyroid and have metabolic resistance. So all of that to say, that it looks like I’ve been hypothyroid since the birth of my daughter. I had thyroid testing in the past but of course was told all was normal even when my body was breaking down with adrenal fatigue. This is all so very frustrating and confusing. I do have hope now that with the nutritional balancing program I’m now on that once my body eliminates toxicity and I get the appropriate leveles of nutrients all will be well. Thanks so much for your blog and the time you take to research these issues!

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Tabitha,
      Thank you for sharing your story. Pregnancy is a powerful trigger for thyroid conditions. I have a feeling that if many of my readers look back at their history, that pregnancy was the trigger or the factor that worsened an existing condition. There are 3 times in a woman’s life when she is most vulnerable: Puberty, Pregnancy and Menopause. I am happy you are working on your health. By the way adrenal health is connected closely to thyroid health. Often times hypothyroidism sufferers also suffer from adrenal dysfunction and in order to be well both need to be healed. Best wishes to you.

  4. Jenna Crusnberry says:

    Hello. This blog is so inspiring to me, thank you so much for sharing your condition. Here’s mine: I am 6 months post partum. I retained a ton of water during my pregnancy, I had to be taken off work a month early for my swelling. I gave birth on January 3rd and on January 14th at my 2 week check up I had lost 3 pounds. I thought I was going crazy, I had a high heart rate and felt is beating in my temples yet my blood pressure was absolutely normal and even low at some points. At 2 months post partum I was at a preemployment physical and they found protein in my urine. Turned out after seeing a Nephrologist that was losing about 7 grams a day but other than my kidney function is normal. Normal GFR, BUN, creatinine etc. After a kidney biopsy it turns out I have Membranous Glomuelar Nephropathy. I have no family history of kidney disease. I’ve been tested for everything under the sun: RA, Lupus (I did have a slightly positive ANA, but no other symptoms and it was not that high at all.) In March I started losing A LOT OF hair and it’s not slowing down, it’s been 4 months. I have the worst anxiety and depression and my cholesterol is through the roof, high 300′s. my maternal grandmother had thyroid problems very badly but I cannot remember if it was Hashimoto or Graves. Anywho…I’ve only been tested for TSH which came back a little over the base normal #, so i am going to request a more complete bloodwork up of my thyroid. Can you give me your thoughts on the information I have presented and what tests you recommend I have done, I’m sorry if I was all over the place. Thank you very much.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Jenna,

      Congratulations on the birth of your baby. Postpartum is a time when many women develop a thyroid condition or their existing condition worsens. TSH is often the only test done but this one test does not give a complete picture. Given you believe your maternal grandmother may have had a thyroid autoimmune condition like Hashimoto’s or Graves means you should be sure to have your thyroid antibodies for both of those tested. When I read your message, the weight loss and fast heart rate made me think of hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid) but then again Hashimoto’s is the most common cause of hypothyroidism and often comes with swings up and down in TSH with people having hypothyroid and hyperthyroid symptoms so that’s possible too. The other thing is that postpartum thyroiditis often starts with hyperthyroidism symptoms in the initial months postpartum (I experienced night sweats, racing heart, weight loss) then the classic case is after a few months it switches to hypothyroidism symptoms (which once my son was a few months old those hyperthyroid symptoms turned to hypothyroidism and weight started to rise). Now some women find their postpartum thyroiditis goes away by the time their baby is a year old so that’s a possibility too to discuss with your doctor. The other possibility is that you are under so much stress being a new mom that your adrenals are out of whack from the stress causing your thyroid symptoms and may be alleviated once the stress level reduces. So you see there are many possible reasons for what’s happening to you.

      In any case, you need more testing including at a minimum TSH, Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, thyroid antibodies for Hashimoto’s (TPO-Ab and TgAb) thyroid antibodies for Graves, adrenals, ferritin, D3, and B12.

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/hypo-like-a-rock-star-hashimotos/

  5. Jenna Crusnberry says:

    Sorry, 3 pounds should actually be 30!!!

  6. Jenna Crusnberry says:

    My Dr also is sending me in for an U/S for enlarged thyroid.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Jenna, I’m happy your doctor is sending you for a thyroid ultrasound to check the condition of your thyroid. Be sure to also have those other tests I mentioned in my last comment done too. Best wishes to you.

  7. I wish a doc would take me seriously. I had my son 4 years ago and I STILL have all the Hashimotos symptoms. Two endocrinologists said all tests were low to low normal. My vitamin D3 levels were 27. They are now 46 after taking 5,000 IUs of suppliments yet I still have never felt the same since having my son. Most recently my physician assistant at my gyn for my annual exam noticed how large my thyroid felt during the exam. But guess what? NO ONE will take Hashi possibilities seriously. My husband is tired of me wanting to sleep all the time. I’m tired of it too. My hair has significantly thinned out on top, I’m tired, my joints hurt, brain fog, heavy periods (which they’re blamming on perimenopause; I’m 41), puffy face, weight gain (can’t lose 20lbs). Sick of it. I rather they say there isn’t treatment but at least identify why I feel like this. I livei n IL and not sure whom to go to for a diganosis.

  8. Oh had a thyroid ultrasound. Found calcified noduels. They won’t biopsy saying no big deal.

  9. Thank you for your article. I am now motivated to find a doctor who will do a full thyroid lab and listen to my concerns. I went to the doctor several months ago because I suspected postpartum hypothyroidism. Since the T3 and T4 levels were normal my symptoms were blamed on simply being a stay at home mom to twin toddlers and was sent on my way. I felt ridiculous. I even told my OB/GYN about irritability, moodiness and fatigue that doesn’t feel like my usual self at 10 months postpartum and was told, “We’ll, you’re a busy woman.”
    The more research I do the more I am concerned it really is a thyroid problem. I also have plantar fasciitis that won’t go away despite seeing a foot and ankle specialist the past year. In the mornings I feel like I’ve bit hit by a truck even though my girls sleep through the night and have for some time. I also read about breastmilk oversupply and hyperthyroid–I had such extreme oversupply that my girls could not nurse until they were nearly 3 months old. They would literally choke.
    The most perplexing part is that I returned to my pre pregnancy weight (50 pounds lost) without even trying within 2 months postpartum yet today I sit here nearly 20 pounds back on at 18 months postpartum. Then there’s the acne and itchy scalp, and the list goes on. I didn’t mean to spill my guts here but just feel a little validated for the first time in a long time. Thank you.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      GK,

      Push for a closer look at your thyroid including at a minimum TSH, Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, thyroid antibodies, adrenals, ferritin and D3. It’s not enough to hear they are normal. Get a copy of your lab results and check that these tests were done, your score and compare your score to the reference ranges that will appear to the right of your scores.

      Thyroid advocate Mary Shomon wrote: “More innovative doctors are beginning to believe that a TSH of around 1 – 2 — in the low end of the normal range — is optimal for most people to feel well and avoid having hypothyroid or hyperthyroid symptoms. Similarly, some practitioners feel that optimal hypothyroidism treatment includes Free T4 in the top half of the normal range, and Free T3 in the top 25th percentil of the normal range.” I don’t feel well unless my Free T3 is in the top quarter of the range. TSH normal range is often listed at 0.5 to 5.0 but you can see that Mary is saying 1 to 2 because thyroid advocates are pushing for a narrowing of the ranges.

      http://thyroid.about.com/cs/hypothyroidism/a/notwell.htm

      I compiled a list of the top 10 resources to help readers find great thyroid doctors in their area.

      http://hypothyroidmom.com/top-10-resources-to-find-a-great-thyroid-doctor-in-2013/

      • Thanks Dana. I saw a new dr on Friday who ordered an ultrasound of my thyroid. It seems she thought my thyroid was enlarged, or maybe she felt a growth but didn’t want to say. She was very thorough and attentive, and I’m feeling very hopeful about finding a solution that will make me feel better.

  10. Thank you Dana for this article! I follow you on facebook as Hypothyroid mom and I have to tell you that you are an inspiration! I had my son 14 months ago and my story is very similar to yours! I was completely healthy prior to having him, running 5 times a week, eating a diet I considered healthy and just enjoying life! After delivery the weight came off and I was just go-go-go. I couldn’t sit down, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t concentrate..and the sweating, oh my the sweating:) I just thought that was part of being a new mom and going back to work full-time at a highly stressful job! My GP told me I had postpartum anxiety and sent me home with anti-depressants, which I refused to take! Then around 6 months postpartum it was like I hit a wall! My body just stopped! However, I went through periods of hyper(anxiety, palps, sweating, etc) and hypo (extremely tired!). I also came back postive for 3 different thyroid antibodies, which my endo said was strange (thats comforting!) They said I either had Hashimotos, Graves, or just a bad case of postpartum thyroiditis! The doctors would place me on synthroid and I’d go hyper. Then they took me off and I’d go hypo. It was like my thyroid was completely out of control!! I asked to switch to armour and that sent me to the hospital, which was due to overmedicating! Basically, I was told you probably have hashimotos, but we won’t rule our postpartum yet! WHAT?!?!? After my sons first birthday I have decided to take my health into my own hands. I started the WHOLE30 automimmune protocol, which consists of meat, veggies, fruit, and good fats (boring, I know!) I had my blood drawn and two of the antibodies are completely gone and my TPOab went from 134 down to 67, but I’m still hypo, yet I’m seeing improvements on my own. I’m taking L-TYROSINE, selenium, magnesium, and a B12 complex everyday (no thyroid hormone right now). And started a new class with Marc Ryan from Hashimotos Healing website. Basically, what I have learned is we HAVE to be our own advocates! Dana, thank you for empowering me to save my own health. I’m hoping I can someday make an impact as well once I get all of my thyroid problems figured out! I know my road to recovery is far from over, especially, since I’m planning on having more babies, but it is comforting to know that you are suceeding! Thank you!!!

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Ashley,

      Your postpartum story sounded so much like mine I had to recheck to see if I wrote it!! So happy you found what works for you!!!! So amazing. There is hope to be well despite hypothyroidism. Happy you will be in a class with Marc Ryan. Love his site “Hashimoto’s Healing” and he’s a nice person too. Best wishes to you. I love hearing success stories!

      So happy to have you on my Facebook page. I love the group growing there!

  11. Hey Ashley, I think most of postpartum stories will be identical in some way. The difference is inside the mind.
    thanks.

  12. Stephanie says:

    Wow, thank you for sharing all this. I am glad I found your website and don’t feel so alone anymore. I was diagnosed with hashimotos 3 months ago after I started experiencing terrible fatigue and muscle weakness. I can’t even get out of the house, and I have an 8 month old daughter. I am now working with a holistic md who is also a nutritionalist and helps a lot of people with thyroid problems. I just started on armour and am on 60mg. I’m still feeling pretty bad, since I guess I haven’t found the right dose yet?! Everything else has been checked and I’m on a bunch of helpful supplements and vitamins as prescribed by this physician. Please tell me that one of these days I’ll start feeling better?!

  13. Hi Dana,
    Thank you for your post, that is precisely what I went through after having my daughter (now 16 MOS). I thought it was normal, that I was adjusting to night feedings and regulating womanly hormones from EBFing. After maintaining my pre-pregnancy weight I started gaining rapidly (15 lbs. in 2 MOS). So I went back to tracking calories on MFP app and working out. No loss! Besides continuing hair loss, depression, anxiety; my latest symptom is a strange ‘smoke’ or ‘chemical’ smell. It is there or gone some days but it is in my nostrils. Anyway I found info that it could be related to thyroid.
    So I made an appointment @ Red River Clinic http://www.youtube.com/user/redriverclinic/videos
    I also watched this amazing and informative video http://www.youcanbeatthyroiddisorders.com/
    I am just beginning my own research about the thyroid issues….That is how I found you! Thanks again so, so much for sharing! I hope the links I’ve posted are helpful to others out there ;)

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Heather,

      So happy you are an advocate for yourself and doing your own research. I will be sure to check out your links. Best wishes to you.

  14. Happy you will be in a class with Marc Ryan. Love his site “Hashimoto’s Healing” and he’s a nice person too. Best wishes to you. I love hearing success stories!

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Dora, I love Marc he’s so great. He’s not only knowledgeable but also a nice person and I love that!

  15. Dear Dana,

    I know this is an old post, but I just had to comment! This story is like reading my own story with hyper flares and all, before I was diagnosed 5 months after giving birth. I was “lucky” as my thyroid glend was enlarged and I was sent urgently to ultrasound and tests. My antibodies were in skies… The doctor asked if I had any symptoms and I was sort of like a question mark… What’s in a normal range of tiredness, hunger, headaches, anxiety?

    I also got the thyroid levels tested when I got pregnant as my mother had the same condition, only her thyroid got back to normal, and mine not (yet, maybe there is still hope :)).

    I had 4 friends on maternity leave togeher with me and I always felt a lot more tired and less happy of my wonderful healthy son (who is now 1,5 years). I just felt like motherhood is not for me afterall and I felt extremely sad about having all those negative feelings. Also I’ve had all kinds of symptoms at least 10 years before I got pregnant, even had tested thyroid function years before and the doctors always said I’m ok. Now would be so interesting to see those lab tests that I know so much more of my condition.

    We are planning another child in the next year(s) and I’m just a bit concerned about how my body will cope with another drastic hormone storm… not to mention the person inside who my body should support. Still in process for lifestyle changes that would make me feel so balanced that we would have the courage.

    All best & and so many thanks for this wonderful blog!

  16. Hi,
    Glad to have found this website. I had postpartum thyroiditis after my second child and it was hyper (lost a ton of weight), then did not seem to go into the hypo and it seemed to resolve itself. There is a great Dr named Dr Mark Sherfey in TN who successfully helps with thyroid and even helped my friend cure her thyroid issue with dessicated. He helped diagnose me and we did no treatment with the hyper, just good food, etc. Anyway, just had our third baby and I am feeling that I have hyperthyroidism again…I am going to attempt to treat it naturally again and I am in a much better position nutritionally this time– we have eliminated all sugar and wheat for another reason and I have found that Ginsana ginseng has helped with my heart palpitations enormously. It is supposed to be one of the best things for thyroid support. Here is my question. I haven’t seen my Dr yet and I suppose I need to go see him soon, but I did buy a super high dose of iodine to being supplementing with to support my thyroid. I am also now eating a nutrient dense diet with healthy fats, meat, and lots of vegetables. I am wondering if I should take the iodine supplement or if it might have a negative effect on hypERthyroidism. I plan to check out the page mentioned above about healing thyroid, but just looking for thoughts on this if anyone has suffered from hyper and treated it.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Marie,

      Don’t take the iodine until you see your doctor. While iodine deficiency is a real issue and iodine supplementing is helpful and important in those cases, overuse of iodine can actually worsen a thyroid condition so always be sure to be under doctor supervision when using iodine. Since your doctor was so great in helping you before you should wait to ask him about it. Just this morning I read an article about iodine and thought what a coincidence to read your message now.

      http://www.whitelotusclinic.ca/blog/dr-fiona-nd/iodine-and-hashimotos-fertility/

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Marie,

      Don’t take the iodine until you see your doctor. While iodine deficiency is a real issue and iodine supplementing is helpful and important in those cases, overuse of iodine can actually worsen a thyroid condition so always be sure to be under doctor supervision when using iodine. Since your doctor was so great in helping you before you should wait to ask him about it. Just this morning I read an article about iodine and thought what a coincidence to read your message now.

      http://www.whitelotusclinic.ca/blog/dr-fiona-nd/iodine-and-hashimotos-fertility/

      I have a Hypothyroid Mom Facebook page where thousands of readers post questions and provide support. Everyone is welcome. I will share your doctor’s name there now without including your name in case there are readers in need of a good doctor in TN.

    • Dana Trentini says:

      Hi Marie,

      Don’t take the iodine until you see your doctor. While iodine deficiency is a real issue and iodine supplementing is helpful and important in those cases, overuse of iodine can actually worsen a thyroid condition so always be sure to be under doctor supervision when using iodine. Since your doctor was so great in helping you before you should wait to ask him about it. Just this morning I read an article about iodine and thought what a coincidence to read your message now.

      http://www.whitelotusclinic.ca/blog/dr-fiona-nd/iodine-and-hashimotos-fertility/

      I have a Hypothyroid Mom Facebook page where thousands of readers post questions and provide support. Everyone is welcome. I will share your doctor’s name there now without including your name in case there are readers in need of a good doctor in TN.

      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hypothyroid-Mom/147791352031167?ref=tn_tnmn

  17. Hi,
    Thank you for this post! I feel like I’m going crazy. Here is my story. Towards the end of my preg, I started having severe heart palpitations, sweats, weakness bouts about once or twice a day. I could not figure it out. One time it landed me in the hospital where they tested my heart and it was fine, so I was sent home with a diagnosis of dehydration. After a period of time passed, It went away. At about 3 months preg I started to lose weight (but I was working out and eating very little – but I was losing weight). Also, about at that time my hair fell out pretty bad. At about 4 months preg, my appetite kicked in and I gained my weight back. Now at 8 months postpartum my hair is finally starting to grow back in on the bald/thin spots, BUT, now I’m facing a very unusual symptom. I feel extremely fatigued! My arms and legs burn as if I have ran a 20 mile race with two sacks of heavy potatoes in both hands for now apparent reason. They ache and ache. I also have a hard time concentrating and finding my words. I am losing weight and have a poor appetite. Also, my hands don’t seem to want to perform those small motor skills (I’m a little shaky). I’m really confused as to what this might be??? I would say its a thyroid situation, but its seems I’m losing weight during the times that other thyroid sufferers are gaining. And now my hair is growing back but its at the same time that I’m feeling so very fatigued and having arm and leg pain. Even though I have both hyper and hypo symptoms at the same time, could this still be a thyroid problem? I’ve always had low blood pressure my whole life. I’ve not yet seen a doctor on this, but I plan to soon.

  18. Your story could be mine. My son is 26 months. The first 6 weeks, he was waking up and of course I was tired. Then he was down to only waking once in 12 hours, for a quick 10 minute nursing and he fell right back to sleep. But every morning I was still exhausted. Debilitatingly exhausted. I kept saying to everyone who would listen “I am still waiting for the perfect night’s sleep, but something always interferes” — him waking up every night, waking up early in the morning, cat waking me up. There were all these excuses for why I felt tired. That first year was the unhappiest of my life. Finally at one year I asked my lactation consultant if breastfeeding could make me be this tired. Everyone else in the group laughed and said “welcome to motherhood”. That didn’t seem like the answer to me, since I’ve always been a type A very busy lawyer, and I found being stay at home was really relaxed compared to my former life. My lactation consultant is hashis and told me to get my bloodwork. Blookwork at GP showed TSH of 11. She punted for 2 months and had me retested, and my TSH was 8 and diagnosed me with Hashimotos. She said the decreasing TSH showed it was fixing itself and no medication was needed since that TSH level wouldn’t lead to symptoms. Even though I had gone to her with a long list of random symptoms (mainly exhaustion) of hypo thyroid. But I googled Hashimotos, and the symptoms were like a list of my life for the last year: sore joints, achy body, foggy brain, scratchy eyes, humming in the ears, jaw clenching. I had been having all these weird symptoms and had mentioned them all to my husband at some point in the prior year, but just thought they were flukes. But this diagnosis made everything come together. So i sought out an endo who put me on synthroid. Now i’ve been in the phase of working with an endo and a holistic MD and fighting with them to keep raising my dosage and get me on the right meds (currently at 2 grains of Armour, and thinking i could use a little more). The last 2 months have been the closest I felt to my old self since my son was born. I quit my job when my maternity leave ended at 6 months because i couldn’t fathom the idea of going back to work. Suddenly 2 weeks ago I got the bug to go back. My husband and I are both wondering how much my decision to quit two years ago was directly related to my thyroid. The difference in how I feel now is like night and day to a year ago. I’m not sure I’m quite there yet, but i could live if this is how I felt for the rest of my life.

    More importantly, i have been advocating to my OB and GP that thyroid testing should be mandatory 3 months after pregnancy. My lactation consultant (the one who told me to get tested) said she seems an unbelievable number of women dealing with this postpartum.

  19. Hi Da a

    I am a new mother of a little boy who is 3 months old. I started to feel dizzy month after giving birth. I had c section and lost a lot of blood after surgery. I went to my doctor to do blood work to check if my iron was low and it came back normal. DiZINESS has passed and 4 weeks ago i experienced something like vertigo. I was throwing up, very dizzy and nauseous! I could only be in bed!! I am a lot better now but still feel a bit of pressure on my eyes and sometimes my balance is not 100%.
    I am going tommorow to do blood work for glucose, hormones, blood count etc.

    Would you have any suggestions as to why this happens to new mothers? Also i feel very sleepy, weak and no will do to anything! :(
    Thank you!!

  20. Hi! my 2nd baby is now 4 yrs old. it was a difficult pregnancy, polyps, bleeding, pain, and jyst felt horrible! I had no problems with the 1st. soon after sge was born I became very tired, I could barely make it thru the day, and would sleep all weekend, never feeling rested. I gained 30 lbs, I couldnt walk across a room without my muscles feeling like I had been running stairs! very moody and irritable I feel like I have become detached from my family. I have been to many drs, and had all kinds of test, they all come back normal. im so frustrated and scared I will never enjoy my life again.

  21. After my third child i lost too much of weight right away. But after 2 months I got my regular period and it was very painful. After that I started gaining weight back. I tried dieting for 5 to 8 months, but I just kept gaining more and more weight. I’ve had an ultra sound and two blood tests done, and everything came back normal. Has anyone heard about that happening but still having a thyroid problem? I’m convinced that that’s what my problem is. I’m pregnant again and I don’t want any problems.

  22. Hi guys, good news! It seems my autoimmune thyroidism is recovering as my doctor wants me out of meds. I’m now slowly taking less thyroxin, we will see how I will feel in month or two. So far so good.

    I started taking selenium and L-glutamine a while back (and fish oil and extra D-vitamin even earlier), and to add up in fermented foods and probiotics that should cure the leaky gut. And selenium has been proven to help the thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormones (this info is from Izabella Wntz’s book about Hashimoto’s).

    I didn’t really believe these things would make a difference, and surely my thyroid can recover by itself, but at least there are things we can do on top of changing the diet. By the way, I was off from crops (all wheat and grains except rice) for a while and it had a great positive boost on my mental health. Worth a try!

    Good luck with everyone!

  23. exactly what you write, is how I feel. And I just found out today I have postpartum hypothyroidism. What is the connection between the kidney stones and hypothyroidism(if any)? I wake up with my kidneys hurting every morning

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