Saturday, September 12, 2009

Post Partum Hyperthyroidism

So, that's what I have (you got it Dana!). Apparently it affects 5-10% of women three to eight months after delivery. The symptoms I have are; muscle weakness, trembling, fatigue, insomnia, tachycardia (rapid heart rate), loss of period, hair loss, feeling warm (but not having a fever) and weight loss. The symptoms really come across as a flu + anxiety. I wonder how many women go undiagnosed. It may last several weeks up to a year (and another source said permanent?!). Oh ya, another very strange symptom that I forgot to tell the doctor about, was that whenever I scratch my skin, I get a hickey like mark. Not that I know what a hickey looks like:)

I was given a beta blocker (propanolol) and took my max dose today even though the doctor recommended taking just one to start. Taking one pill reduced my heart rate from 120 to about 100 while resting. The pill's effects kick in after an hour and lasts for about one hour. It is safe to take while breastfeeding but still, some of it will travel through the breastmilk slowing Koen down...whatever that means.

In order to really treat hyperthyroidism, I need to take a stronger medication that I am not allowed to use while breastfeeding. The doctor was awesome though, he took so much time with me and validated all my concerns. He asked how much longer I wanted to breastfeed and my goal was to do it until Koen was 10 months old. I am very hesitant to stop breastfeeding because of his issue with formula (vomiting for hours the 3 times I gave it to him) and it's prob. too early for homo milk (and what if he's allergic to it?). I cannot live my life like this so if I have to, I somehow have to wean Koen. We'll have to see how this medication does for now. I am very upset about this. I hope my little boy will adjust well to formula or whole milk. Again, very sad for me.

Finally, I let the doctor know that I am an active person and I wondered when I could be active again. He said that I need to start off walking and see how that goes. He made it sound like I wouldn't even be jogging for a month:( I am VERY upset about this. Football is so important to me and I've only played one game this season. Right now, I seriously need to just lay on the couch and it's so hard to even be a good mom like this. It takes me about 20 minutes to recover from taking Koen upstairs to bed. If I walk too fast, or go up the stairs too quickly, my heart rate increases immediately and I feel like my heart is going to burst. I really, really love football. It is my highlight of the week. I am so sad about this too.

Fortunately I got the beta-blocker before doing the wedding shoot so although it was exhausting, I did okay. Hope tomorrow is a better day. I really need your prayers. I need this hyperthyroidism to disappear or I need to find a treatment that will be successful enough for me to return to my normal way of life. Appreciate your health folks. Seriously.


  1. What a mix of good news and bad news. It must be a relief to know what you're up against, and that it's something that will not be chronic. But in the meantime... It SUCKS!! So disappointing to be sidelined from football. And to be struggling just to do normal activities like taking your son to bed. Will continue to pray for you, Louise.

  2. I am praying for you Louise! I'm glad you figured out the problem -I hope you feel better soon.

  3. Awww, man. Those are some really crappy symptoms to deal with! I really feel for you, Louise. I'll be praying for you as you sort through your options for treatment vs. feeding and deciding on what to do. Are there other kinds of formula you could try?

  4. Not fun! Praying for a quick recovery!

  5. I feel awful for you! Take it easy as much as you can and hopefully you start to feel better really soon. You are in my prayers.

  6. Oh babe. I'm glad you got a diagnosis, so sorry to hear what it is. I'm glad you find the proponalol helpful. I've got this resource thru Jack Newman on medications and breastfeeding--he's the North American expert on breastfeeding and has done a lot of research on what IS and IS NOT actually safe during breastfeeding. Often drug monographs will state that a drug is not safe when it actually is, or is safer than stopping breastfeeding, especially in a case like yours where your baby can't tolerate cow's milk. Here is his website on medications:

    and here is his regular website

    Often, if a medication is not safe to use during breastfeeding (even by Jack Newman) , an alternative medication can be found which is safer.
    Email Jack Newman and ask regarding the specific medication you are on.

    Also: take heart, babies' guts mature at warp speed, so there is a good chance that Koen will be able to tolerate non human milk by 10 months or earlier if you can't hold on until then (no one would fault you for this!). Goat's milk is closer than cow's milk to human milk because goat milk proteins are shorter than cow's milk proteins (human milk proteins are shorter yet), so try homo goat's milk.

    Hang in there. Love to you! And prayers.

    Also; consider a naturopath? They are often great at getting the body back in balance, especially with glandular problems and thyroid problems are the 2nd most common gland problem (after diabetes). Your extended benefits might get you at least an initial visit, which is the most expensive.

    I'll email my naturopath friend and ask her if she has any recommendations for a bfing mom, too.


  7. my goodness! doesn't sound fun at all, will keep you in my prayers for sure :)

  8. I have "Medications and Mother's Milk": email me any drug you are considering and I will look it up.

  9. Ya - Jack Newman is the Breastfeeding Guru - email him about it!
    OR check "Medications in mother's milk" book - you can call you local health unit to check that one out ;)
    Glad you finally know what it is. And ya - being sick sucks - it often takes me, or someone close to me, to get sick before i appreciate my health...thanks for the reminder.

  10. wow louise - this is so frustrating! glad to hear you got an actual diagnosis and a way to deal with it, but the sacrifices are major :(
    praying you will recover from it quickly so you can get back to running and playing football, and most of all that you'll be able to continue nursing as long as you want!
    praying for you!