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What is Hypothyroidism?

hypothyroidism and pregnancy

In the later biology classes in high school, we all heard about a hormone called TSH, produced by the thyroid gland to regulate our metabolism. This hormone is produced by the thyroid gland which is integral to maintaining our weight and health and found under the larynx (inside the throat).

Causes of Hypothyroidism
Sometimes this valuable thyroid gland can become swollen and inflamed. Sometimes the immune system will even have a go at the thyroid gland because it “thinks” that this part is attacking the rest of the body or endangering it. In these extreme cases, a condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditus can develop which will be discussed again later in this article. There are however, a number of causes of hypothyroidism which could be anything from birth complications (which lead to defects) to the thyroid being tampered with to treat other problems directly related to it. Radiation is another common culprit which is often used to treat chronic illnesses like cancer.

There are also a number of medicines and prescription drugs that can contribute to a thyroid problem. These include (but are not limited to) lithium (a drug that is normally used for mental illnesses like bipolar disorder) and Amiodarone (which is used to treat heart abnormalities). Women who have problems with their pituitary gland or who bleed a lot during pregnancy can also experience the effects on their thyroids.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism symptoms can be both psychological and physical. If you have hypothyroidism you may feel constantly tired or drowsy even. Often, depression comes along with this and you will find that you get quite down without feeling much purpose. You may be gaining weight and you can’t understand why because you’re eating and exercise patterns haven’t changed. Some people with hypothyroidism may feel constipated or have very dry skin as well. If it goes untreated for some time, the late stages will present symptoms like not being able to taste and smell things as strongly as you normally do, swollen hands and feet (and in some cases the face as well).

Treatment of Hypothyroidism
Normally your doctor will test your TSH levels and possibly do blood counts or even check your liver enzymes to make sure that everything is in order. If he or she is of the opinion that you have hypothyroidism, there are a number of treatments that can be prescribed like Levothyroxine. The basic aim is to replenish the body’s thyroid hormone. If you are treated in this way, you need to continue with the medication even after you feel an improvement. Changes in medication and symptoms should also be reported to a professional. Especially things like rapid beating of the heart or if you seem to be getting worse in any way. There are some natural remedies that can be used to ease symptoms like.

Hypothyroidism and Pregnancy
Hypothyroidism is most common in women and pregnancy can have an effect on your hormone levels. There are women who will develop hypothyroidism (postpartum) after their pregnancy.

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