General Practice 2022

Hyperthyroidism in pregnancy: symptoms, possible complicationsções and how to treat

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Hyperthyroidism in pregnancy: symptoms, possible complicationsções and how to treat
Hyperthyroidism in pregnancy: symptoms, possible complicationsções and how to treat
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Hyperthyroidism can appear before or during pregnancy, and when left untreated it can cause problems such as premature birth, hypertension, placental abruption and miscarriage.

This disease can be detected through a blood test, and its treatment is done with the use of medications that regulate the functioning of the thyroid. After childbirth, it is necessary to continue the medical follow-up, as it is common for the disease to remain throughout the woman's life.

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism in pregnancy

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism in pregnancy can often be confused with symptoms that arise due to hormonal changes common in pregnancy, and there may be:

  • Excessive heat and sweating;
  • Tiredness;
  • Anxiety;
  • Heart racing;
  • Nausea and severe vomiting;
  • Weight loss or inability to gain weight despite eating well.

Thus, the main sign that something may be wrong with the thyroid is the absence of weight gain, even with an increase in appetite and the amount of food consumed.

It is important that the woman is regularly monitored by the doctor so that tests are carried out to help assess the general he alth status of the woman and the baby. Thus, in this case, blood testing of T3, T4 and TSH may be recommended, which when in increased amounts may be indicative of hyperthyroidism.

However, it is important to remember that the T4 hormone can be elevated due to high levels of beta-HCG in the blood, especially between the 8th and 14th week of pregnancy, returning to normal after this period.

How to treat

The treatment of hyperthyroidism in pregnancy is done with the use of drugs that help regulate the production of hormones by the thyroid, such as Methimazole and Propylracil, which must be used according to the doctor's instructions.

In the beginning, larger doses are given to control hormones more quickly, and after 6 to 8 weeks of treatment, if the woman improves, the dose of the drug is reduced, and it can even be stopped after 32 or 34 weeks of gestation.

It is important that the treatment is done according to medical advice, otherwise high levels of thyroid hormones can lead to the development of complications for both mother and baby.

Possible complications

Complications of hyperthyroidism in pregnancy are related to the lack of treatment or incomplete treatment for hyperthyroidism, which can result in:

  • Premature birth;
  • Low birth weight;
  • Hypertension in the mother;
  • Thyroid problems for baby;
  • Displacement of the placenta;
  • Heart failure in the mother;
  • Abortion;

It is important to remember that in most cases women already had symptoms of the disease before pregnancy and therefore do not realize the changes caused in the body when they become pregnant. The main cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves' disease, which is an autoimmune disease in which immune cells attack the thyroid gland itself, resulting in dysregulation of hormone production. See more about Graves' disease.

Postpartum care

After childbirth, it is necessary to continue taking the medication to control the thyroid, but if the medication is suspended, new blood tests should be performed to evaluate the hormones 6 weeks after delivery, as the problem is common reappear.

Furthermore, during the breastfeeding period, it is recommended that medications be taken in the smallest possible doses, preferably right after the baby's feeding and according to medical advice.

It is also important to remember that children should have routine examinations to assess thyroid function, as they are more likely to have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

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