Hyperthyroidism and Pregnancy
Being pregnant is wonderful; you get to experience something that half of the population in Houston simply can’t – you get to carry a new life. Unfortunately, pregnancy also comes with a laundry list of problems and complications. One of those is an increased chance of Hyperthyroidism.
Your thyroid is the butterfly-shaped gland that sits at the front of your neck. Its primary role is to secrete hormones, which are responsible for metabolism, growth and development and the regulation of body temperature. The gland uses the iron from your food to produce these hormones.
Hyperthyroidism occurs when your body produces too many hormones. This increase can be caused by Grave’s disease, a viral infection or a toxic nodule. Too many hormones cause the body to speed up, leading to nervousness, irritability, difficulty sleeping, a racing heart, frequent bowel movements and weight loss. This condition is diagnosed through a simple blood test. Anti-thyroid drugs are used to treat the condition; they work by blocking the thyroid’s ability to produce too many hormones.
Hypothyroidism occurs when your body does not produce enough hormones. This creates a slowdown in the body, leading to feeling colder, more tired, depressed and constipated. A simple blood test is all that is needed to diagnose this condition. The most common treatment for this condition is the use of daily hormones. Every six to ten weeks you will need a blood test to confirm your hormone levels are where they should be.
If you have a pre-existing hyper/hypothyroidism condition and become pregnant, you will need to schedule an appointment with the best ENT in Houston as soon as possible. This can be especially dangerous during the first trimester. Untreated thyroid disease can lead to a number of issues such as premature birth, preeclampsia, miscarriage and low birth weight.
Others develop a thyroid disease while pregnant. Grave’s disease is the most common cause of maternal hyperthyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. These disorders are diagnosed through a blood test to measure your levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroid hormones T4 (T3 for hyperthyroidism) as well as a review of your symptoms and a physical exam.
The treatment for these conditions is similar for those who are not pregnant. Anti-thyroid medications are used for Grave’s disease. Propylthiouracil or PTU is prescribed for the first trimester and methimazole is recommended after that. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is treated with a synthetic hormone called levothyroxine, which is similar to the hormone T4 made by the thyroid. It is important to note that you should not take your prenatal vitamins within three to four hours of taking this drug.
Thyroid disorders should not be taken lightly. The Center for ENT has an otolaryngology department set up to help you through the nine months and beyond.