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Postpartum Thyroiditis

AMBULATORY CARE:

Postpartum thyroiditis

is a disease that causes your thyroid gland to become inflamed after you give birth. The thyroid gland is located at the front of your neck. The thyroid produces hormones that help control your body functions, such as temperature and heart rate. Postpartum thyroiditis can develop right after or within a year after delivery.

Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands

Common signs and symptoms of postpartum thyroiditis:

  • Early signs and symptoms:
    • Being hot and sweaty
    • Feeling nervous, tense, or restless
    • A fast heartbeat
    • An enlarged thyroid gland
    • Tremors
    • Weight loss without trying, and always feeling hungry
  • Late signs and symptoms:
    • Feeling cold
    • A slow heartbeat
    • Weakness and muscle pain
    • Weight gain
    • Constipation
    • Dry or flaky skin, and thin and brittle fingernails or hair
    • Swelling around the eyes
    • A change in your voice or speech

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) or have someone call if:

  • You have sudden chest pain or trouble breathing.
  • You have a seizure.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your heart is racing.
  • You feel like you are going to faint.

Call your doctor if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You run out of thyroid medicine before your next scheduled refill.
  • You feel nervous and restless.
  • You have pain or swelling in your muscles.
  • Your voice becomes hoarse, or you have itchiness in your throat.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment

may not be needed. Postpartum thyroiditis usually goes away on its own. Healthcare providers may watch you for changes over time. You may need any of the following:

  • Medicines may be given to help raise or lower your thyroid hormone level. You may also need medicines to treat your signs and symptoms, such as fast heartbeat and nervousness.
  • Radioactive iodine may be given to damage or kill some of your thyroid gland cells. This may decrease the amount of thyroid hormone produced. Tell the provider if you know or think you are pregnant. Radioactive iodine may be harmful to an unborn baby.

Manage your symptoms:

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. This will help you maintain a healthy weight. Ask if you need to be on a special diet.
    Healthy Foods
  • Drink liquids as directed. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
  • Exercise as directed. Ask your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you. Start slowly and do more as you get stronger. Exercise can help give you energy and decrease your symptoms.
    Walking for Exercise

Follow up with your doctor in 4 to 8 weeks or as directed:

You may need to return regularly to have your thyroid level checked. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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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.

Learn more about Postpartum Thyroiditis (Ambulatory Care)

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Further information

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