Hyperthyroidism In Pregnancy
What is hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism In Pregnancy Care Guide
Hyperthyroidism is a condition that develops when the thyroid gland makes too much thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormones help control body temperature, heart rate, growth, and how you gain or lose weight.
What causes hyperthyroidism?
- Autoimmune diseases: A problem with the immune system may make your thyroid gland produce too much thyroid hormone. Grave's disease is an example of an autoimmune disease that increases thyroid hormone.
- Family history: Your risk is greater if a family member has thyroid disease or an autoimmune disease
- Medicines: Certain medicines can cause hyperthyroidism. Ask your caregiver if any of the medications you are taking can cause hyperthyroidism.
- Infections: Infection near the thyroid gland may damage the gland.
- Thyroid problems: An enlarged or swollen thyroid, lumps caused by infections, or thyroid cancer can affect how your thyroid works.
- High iodine levels: The thyroid gland uses iodine to create thyroid hormone. The thyroid can produce too much thyroid hormone if your iodine levels are high.
What are the signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism during pregnancy?
The signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism may start slowly, and you may not notice any changes.
- Bulging eyes
- Weight loss without trying, and increased appetite
- Fast heart rate and fast breathing, even at rest
- Increased sweating, and heat intolerance
- Painful lump in your neck
- Fatigue, and difficulty sleeping
- Tremors and muscle weakness
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Nervous, tense, restless, and difficulty sleeping
- Increased blood pressure, with headache, nausea, and blurred vision
What is a thyroid storm?
Thyroid storm happens if your thyroid hormone levels get too high. Your temperature may go very high, your heart may beat very fast, and you may have problems thinking. You may have increased sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea. You may have seizures, or go into a coma and die if you do not get medical care quickly. Thyroid storm may happen if you have hyperthyroidism and get an infection or stop taking your thyroid medicine. Injuries, burns, and certain medicines may also cause a thyroid storm.
How is hyperthyroidism during pregnancy diagnosed?
Your caregiver will ask about your symptoms and examine you. He will ask what medicines you take. He will ask about your medical history and if anyone in your family has thyroid disease. You will have blood tests to check your thyroid hormone level.
How is hyperthyroidism during pregnancy treated?
Treatment for hyperthyroidism during pregnancy will depend on your health, age, and the size of your thyroid gland.
- Antithyroid medicines: These medicines act on the thyroid to decrease thyroid hormone levels. They may be used during your pregnancy.
- Surgery: You may need to have part or all of your thyroid gland removed. By reducing the size of your thyroid gland, the amount of thyroid hormone produced will also decrease. Your caregiver may do surgery during your pregnancy if he feels that it will be safe for you and your baby.
What are the risks of hyperthyroidism during pregnancy?
- Treatment for hyperthyroidism during pregnancy may carry certain risks for you and your child. Medicines for hyperthyroidism may cause itching and redness of skin, fever, sore throat, and pain in your joints. Medicines or surgery may damage thyroid gland cells and cause hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone). This may make you gain weight, feel very weak, and slow down your thinking. Medicines may cause birth defects or even the death of your baby. During surgery you may bleed more than usual or get an infection. Nerves in your thyroid gland may get nicked or cut and give you a hoarse voice. Even after successful treatment and surgery, your signs and symptoms may still remain or return.
- If left untreated, your signs and symptoms may get worse. You may get very thin and weak, have problems thinking, and go into a coma. Your heart may be affected and stop beating completely, and you may die. You may also have a life-threatening thyroid storm. You may have increased blood pressure and have vomiting, blurred vision, and very bad bleeding in your womb. Your child may be born with birth defects, have a low birth weight, or even die inside the womb. You may also give birth earlier than expected.
When should I contact my caregiver?
Contact your caregiver if:
- Your baby is moving less.
- You have a fever.
- You feel nervous and restless.
- You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
- You run out of thyroid medicine or stopped taking it.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
When should I seek immediate help?
Seek help immediately or call 911 if:
- Your baby is restless and always kicking, or is very still and not moving at all.
- You have sudden chest pains or trouble breathing.
- Your water broke, or you are bleeding from your vagina.
- Your heart is beating very fast and you are restless.
- You faint or have a seizure.
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.