Thyroid depression can make postpartum recovery worse for women!

Thyroid depression can happen to a new mother as she is battling other postpartum complications as well. This must be checked at once.
A new mother doing through depression
Thyroid disorders can make Post partum depression worse. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Anjuri Nayar Singh Published: 23 Dec 2023, 04:30 pm IST
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While welcoming a new baby into your lives is a rather joyous event, one that can never be forgotten, for some moms, this period soon turns into one that is depressive and lonely. While postpartum depression can have many reasons behind it, thyroid depression can be a major reason as well.

So, while you prepare every little thing for your little one and yourself, make sure to get your thyroid checked as well. Health Shots got in touch with endocrinologist and diabetologist Dr Narendra BS to understand the link between thyroid disorders and postpartum depression.

What is thyroid?

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck. It helps to regulate the body’s metabolism by producing thyroid hormones. “These hormones influence various bodily functions, including energy levels, temperature, and heart rate. Thyroid disorders, such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, can arise when the gland produces too little or too much thyroid hormone, leading to a range of health issues,” says Dr Narendra. Diagnosing and managing thyroid conditions often involve blood tests to assess hormone levels and may require medication to restore balance.

What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression is a more severe and persistent emotional condition that some mothers experience after giving birth. It involves intense feelings of sadness, anxiety, and despair, extending beyond the typical ‘baby blues’. “Postpartum depression can onset during pregnancy and continue after childbirth, affecting a mother’s ability to bond with her baby. It is not a character flaw but a complication of childbirth that requires prompt treatment for symptom management and overall well-being. In rare instances, postpartum psychosis, an extreme mood disorder, may also emerge after childbirth,” says Dr Narendra.

Also Read: When you prepare for motherhood, prepare for postpartum depression too – here’s how!

What is the link between thyroid and postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression can stem from thyroid dysfunction due to hormonal shifts in pregnancy and childbirth. “These fluctuations, like the ones that happen in postpartum thyroiditis, can take a toll on your mood. Hypothyroidism, linked to underactive thyroid, is often tied to depressive symptoms. Monitoring thyroid function is crucial for new mothers with persistent mood changes, aiding in postpartum depression management,” says Dr Narendra. Collaborative healthcare is key for a holistic approach to thyroid health and mental well-being.

Also Read: Are thyroid disorders to be blamed for early menopause?

What is thyroid depression?

Thyroid depression refers to a condition where depression is connected to thyroid dysfunction, particularly hypothyroidism or autoimmune thyroid conditions. “Somatostatin and serotonin impact the hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid axis, linking hypothyroidism to depression. Individuals with undiagnosed, untreated, or undertreated hypothyroidism face a heightened risk of developing depression,” says Dr Narendra. Additionally, autoimmune thyroiditis is associated with an increased likelihood of experiencing depression. Elevated levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), antithyroglobulin (TgAb), and thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb) have all been associated with depression and an elevated risk of suicide.

Woman going to the doctor
Thyroid function must be regularly checked. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

How to deal with thyroid and postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression likely arises from a mix of genetic susceptibility, hormonal changes, and life events. Factors like stress, prenatal risks, prior psychiatric history, pregnancy complications, and thyroid shifts are associated with increased risk, although the exact cause of postpartum mood issues remains unclear.

Certain measures can be regarded as preventative management:

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1. Thyroid Function Monitoring

Regularly monitor thyroid hormone levels during and after pregnancy as fluctuations can impact mood and contribute to postpartum depression

2. Comprehensive Screening

Conduct thorough screenings for thyroid dysfunction in postpartum depression cases as thyroid issues can mimic or exacerbate depressive.

3. Risk Assessment

Evaluate the risk of postpartum depression in women with a history of thyroid disorders, as they might be at an increased risk for mood disturbances after childbirth symptoms.

Medicines in hand
Timely medication can help with thyroid depression. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

How to get rid of thyroid depression?

Therapy for thyroid disorders commonly involves medication aimed at reducing the production of thyroid hormones or supplementing the body with the deficient thyroid hormone. “This treatment frequently alleviates symptoms associated with thyroid conditions, including those impacting mood. Seek medical attention if experiencing depression. Both hypothyroidism and depression can be managed effectively,” says Dr Narendra. Accurate diagnosis is a crucial initial stride toward regaining a sense of normalcy.

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About the Author

Anjuri Nayar Singh has over 12 years of experience in writing for various topics including lifestyle, films, television and OTT. She also writes on art and culture, education and human interest stories. ...Read More

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