Postpartum thyroiditis is usually a transient phenomenon observed following pregnancy and may involve hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism or the two sequentially.
It is believed to result from the modifications to the immune system necessary in pregnancy, and histologically is a lymphocytic thyroiditis. The process is normally self-limiting, but when conventional antibodies are found there is a high chance of this proceeding to permanent hypothyroidism.
This hypothyroid condition affects about 5% of new moms. Often the problem will resolve itself without need for treatment. But in a number of cases treatment is necessary.
Patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis are usually, young, middle-aged or older women. They often have no symptoms apart from mild pressure in the thyroid gland and tiredness. In the early stages there is a goitre which is firm, slightly irregular, and sometimes slightly tender. Pain occurs in about 10% of cases.
Almost all new moms end their pregnancy with some excess weight and most suffer from a certain amount of tiredness. If these problems persist, check with your doctor.
Treatment of Hashimoto's thyroiditis is to take thyroid hormone replacement (thyroxine) as soon as the diagnosis is made, even if thyroid function is, at that time, normal.