Are medications enough to cure hypothyroidism completely? What is the treatment of hypothyroidism in pregnancy?
You may have many such questions in your mind and relying on google for answers will only confuse you more.
But, don't worry. We've got you covered. Let's delve into the answers from trusted thyroid experts.
In this blog, let's explore some most asked questions about hypothyroidism like how the thyroid happens, thyroid treatment, why the thyroid level increases, and so on.
What are the main symptoms of underactive thyroid in females?
Symptoms of underactive thyroid in females are evident and are almost similar to the symptoms seen in males. You can quickly notice the following symptoms of underactive thyroid in females.
- Weight gain
- Dry skin
- Hair loss
- Knee pain
- Muscle aches
- Sensitivity to cold
Some lesser known symptoms of underactive thyroid in females are heartburn, headaches, and throat tightness.
Why do hypothyroidism symptoms increase all of a sudden in pregnancy?
It's because your fetus cannot produce thyroid hormones until the first trimester. And so, it depends on your thyroid hormones for brain development and growth.
This can be affected by many factors but mainly:
Iodine requirement increases up to 50% during pregnancy and deficiency can result in maternal and fetal hypothyroidism. Immune shifts in pregnancy can trigger an autoimmune response resulting in Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
So, you are more likely to experience increased hypothyroidism symptoms during pregnancy when your thyroid can't meet these expectations.
This study shows how subclinical and overt hypothyroidism are more prevalent in pregnancy.
But also make sure you're not confusing the symptoms of pregnancy with hypothyroidism. As some symptoms are similar in both these cases.
However, if you're seeing a rise in hypothyroidism symptoms in pregnancy, then do not wait. Approach a thyroid specialist and start your treatment to avoid complications.
How is hypothyroidism treated during pregnancy?
Whether you are pregnant or not, the thyroid treatment remains the same. The only thing is you need to be extra cautious and disciplined about your medications.
First, your doctor would check thyroid blood tests to study the change in TSH, T4, T3, free T4, and free T3 levels.
If TSH levels are high, then the medication dose will vary and your doctor would prescribe you accordingly.
Fix a schedule and stick with it consistently. If your symptoms don't reduce even after taking medicines, consult your doctor and check if doses need to be changed.
Never stop medicines without the notice of your doctor. Your doctor knows better about when to withdraw medications for the safety of both the mother and fetus.
Related article: Busting the five most common myths about hypothyroidism medications.
If medications are enough to cure hypothyroidism?
Short answer: NO
Let’s expand further to understand why this is the case.
Besides medicines, lifestyle factors matter greatly in curing the disease. Let's understand how thyroid treatment works.
Suppose you are taking levothyroxine for hypothyroidism. You are experiencing an improvement in symptoms over the next few months. Finally, the day has arrived and your doctor says it’s time to stop the medicines.
But what if you experience symptoms even when you have normal thyroid hormone levels? What if you don't feel completely fine even after taking regular medications?
For this, there are many factors like
- nutrient deficiencies
- gut health
- inflammatory foods
- sedentary lifestyle
- environmental toxins
- improper sleep
- chronic stress
contribute to how hypothyroidism occurs.
In this case, you cannot depend on medicines forever to fix your hormones. The better solution would be to treat the "WHY" behind your increased hypothyroidism symptoms.
As long as the roots are damaged, the branches would be diseased. Hence you need to work on the root causes to cure your hypothyroidism.
For this, you can get the help of functional medicine like Jeevam health to guide you along the journey.
Functional medicine is a better treatment for hypothyroidism than conventional medicine. Check out this article to know how and why this matters.
Can hypothyroidism affect my pregnancy and my child's health negatively?
If you take proper treatment on time, then there is no problem for your pregnancy and your fetus.
However, if left untreated it can cause serious complications to the mother and fetus.
Some complications that can occur when hypothyroidism symptoms increase in pregnancy are:
- Gestational diabetes
- Gestational hypertension
- Placental abnormalities
- Heart diseases
- Myopathy - A type of muscle disease
- Postpartum hemorrhage
Complications to the fetus are:
- Lower IQ
- Thyroid diseases
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
But you don't have to worry about these complications and can have a happy pregnancy if you are taking proper treatment.
Just remember these three points:
- Don't delay your functional treatment process.
- Check your thyroid levels every four weeks.
- Follow up regularly with your thyroid doctor.
Hypothyroidism is a lifestyle disease that needs to be treated properly. If not, it can result in serious health conditions.
A holistic approach concentrating equally on diet, exercise, stress management, and medications can cure hypothyroidism than just medicines.
You just need to be ready to put in the effort from your side. You can see the difference in your thyroid health with the help of thyroid doctors guiding you.