GIVING BIRTH CAN TRIGGER AUTOIMMUNE THYROID DISEASE
APRIL 3, 2019 @ 4.03 PM
Women are five to eight times more likely to have thyroid disease, yet more than half of those with a thyroid condition don’t know they have it.
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland found inside your neck, right under your larynx or voice box. Your thyroid is responsible for producing the master metabolism hormones that control every function in your body. Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid produces too little thyroid hormone, a condition that is often linked to iodine deficiency.
Dr Shamin Ramasamy consultant Endocrinologist, Prince Court Medical Centre explained that the thyroid; one of the largest endocrine glands, greatly influences almost every cell in the body.
“Aside from regulating your metabolism and weight by controlling the fat-burning process, thyroid hormones are also required for the growth and development in children and in nearly every physiological process in the body.”
“When your thyroid levels are out of balance, so are you. Too much or too little hormone secretion in this gland can spell trouble for your overall health and well-being.”
“It can be diagnosed with a simple blood test. When you’re a patient navigating a thyroid condition, it can feel like you’re all alone on the journey. After all, “you look normal, so shouldn’t you feel normal” is a common misconception many people have about thyroid disease,” she added.
It can be hurtful statements like these that can keep women from getting the help they need. Which means they struggle with their fatigue, infertility, depression, hair loss and other symptoms for far too long.
There are several types of thyroid disease with the most common being hypothyroidism. Hypothyroid disease is when there is too little thyroid hormone being produced or available to the body. It is most often due to an autoimmune disease known as Hashimoto’s.
“Autoimmune disease is when the body begins attacking itself which results in the destruction of tissue. In the case of Hashimoto’s, your body destroys your thyroid gland, resulting in an inability to produce sufficient hormones. This is the most common way hypothyroidism occurs.
“Women menstruate, which means we have hormone cycles. And in a perfect world, those cycles make us feel great the entire month with maybe a little more needed rest during our moon.
“But in a not so perfect world, hormone imbalances occur driving estrogen dominance. And this makes sense — since stress drives progesterone down and allows for estrogen to move about the body unchallenged. You see, there is this delicate balance among all the hormones and without enough progesterone, that estrogen is not blocked from affecting your tissues,” she added.
Estrogen has the ability to enhance the inflammatory process of the immune system. This means estrogen could contribute to the attack on the thyroid. The interaction between our fluctuating hormones and the immune system may be the very thing that puts us at risk.
It is well documented that pregnancy puts stress on the thyroid gland, as the demand for thyroid hormone increases following conception. Hypothyroidism can occur anytime during the pregnancy and should be monitored for that reason. But one common thyroid secret is that giving birth can be a trigger for autoimmune thyroid disease.
In fact, studies have shown that as many as one in 12 women develop postpartum thyroiditis. The shift in hormones and the immune system both during and after pregnancy put women at risk of developing a thyroid condition.
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