I don’t often like to write about topics I don’t fully understand, particularly when they are medically related. It is for this reason I’m adding a disclaimer upfront to this one: All experiences written below are my own. Mine is not necessarily the typical presentation, my symptoms may not be yours and vice versa. Post partum thyroiditis is a tricky beast and indeed certainly not something I was searching for!
I thought I was going through menopause. It made sense. The hot flushes, sweating, no period, difficulty concentrating, irritability and increased anxiety. Also the crazy redness all around my face and neck after even a sip of alcohol. So here I was going through menopause when a friend suggested I get my thyroid tested. I stuffed up. I half booked an appointment for a repeat script, as I had literally run out (note to everyone… do not do this, withdrawal is a bitch). So I rocked up to the doctor only to find I in fact did not have an appointment. As they know me quite well, a consequence of having medical conditions and young children, the lovely receptionist squeezed me in with a new doctor. After all it was just for a script. I decided to mention my sweating problem and ask for just a simple blood thyroid test. Eager to rule that out and carry on with my menopause.
The call back to the doctor happened quickly, and a referral to an endocrinologist ensued. Unsure of the exact cause for my hyperthyroid symptoms it was a waiting game to see exactly what those crazy little hormones did. Heads it would be Graves disease, tails it would be thyroiditis. As a side note many people with hyperthyoidism experience weight loss. I did not, in fact if anything I put on weight after the birth of Dash, which is not awesome for the self esteem / wellness. Time marched on and six weeks later my blood results started to swing into hypothyroid territory. I experience increased fatigue, fogginess maybe even more weight gain, periods and feeling down right gloomy.
Sitting in the endocrinologists office breastfeeding a baby and placating a four year old I was given the diagnosis of Post partum thyroiditis. By far the preferable option and treatable whilst continuing to breastfeed which was very important. Thyroiditis is often a self limiting condition, with some patients going on to have long term thyroid damage. I was given two options 1. To wait and see or 2. To medicate. Realising I was about to return to work, something I wasn’t exactly ready for I was started on a low dose of thyroxine.
Since then I have been up and down with my symptoms including one occasion where I actually had to leave work due to something I would liken to a severe panic attack. The symptoms were out of control and something I was not able to breath my way out of. Heart palpitations, sweating, physically shaking, talking at 100 miles and hour and crazy anxiety. When I got home I was beyond exhausted and slept for hours. Only waking to the sound of my boys coming home with Mr Breast Dressed.
The symptoms of thyroiditis and thyroid disease are so many and varied. They are hard to tell apart from normal postpartum fatigue and forgetfulness. My biggest advice is to get your levels checked, there is so much that can be done to help put you on the path to better health when there is a reason. Put yourself first, fill your own cup, you and your family deserve that much.