Do you know what your thyroid does? I didn’t, so I had to look it up before I could write about the fact that thyroiditis can cause symptoms that mimic postpartum depression. It turns out only a minority of women with postpartum depression have symptoms caused solely by problems with their thyroid function, but even so it’s worth getting your thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels checked to find out if you’re one of them. If you are, treatment with thyroid medication should clear the depression symptoms right up.
The New York Times reported last week on researchers who found that treating subclinical hypothyroidism may help relieve depression or fatigue symptoms. Right now, most people are only treated if their TSH is 10 or higher. This particular study looks at the potential of treating people with TSH levels in the 5-10 range. That approach is controversial because thyroid medication can have negative side effects.
Still, this is an important topic given how many women have thyroid problems. Harriet Brown writes in the New York Times piece:
Women are far more likely to develop thyroid problems than men, especially past age 50, and some experts believe that gender accounts for some reluctance to treat subclinical disease. “There’s a terrible bias against women who come in with subtle emotional complaints,” Dr. Davis said. “These complaints tend to be pushed aside or attributed to stress or anxiety.”
Two moms recently wrote about their experience with thyroid problems during pregnancy or in the postpartum period. Warrior Mom Cristi from Motherhood Unadorned explains that she had never heard of pregnancy-induced hypothyroidism until she had it herself, and Stacey over at Cafe Mom also writes about her thyroid disease and how it made her feel like she had postpartum depression, among other symptoms.
How about you? Have you had thyroid problems that impacted your mood?