Can Hyperthyroidism be Caused by Pregnancy?

Hyperthyroidism illustration

Pregnancy itself doesn’t cause hyperthyroidism, but pregnancy can sometimes lead to a condition known as gestational transient thyrotoxicosis or hyperthyroidism in pregnancy. This condition is usually temporary and occurs due to the changes in hormone levels that happen during pregnancy.

In some pregnant individuals, the hCG hormone (human chorionic gonadotropin) produced by the placenta can mildly stimulate the thyroid gland, leading to an increase in thyroid hormone production. This can result in symptoms similar to hyperthyroidism, such as:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Weight loss
  • Heat intolerance
  • Tremors
  • Fatigue

Gestational transient thyrotoxicosis typically occurs during the first trimester and tends to resolve on its own without specific treatment. However, in some cases, it might require medical management to alleviate symptoms.

On the other hand, some pregnant individuals might have pre-existing hyperthyroidism (such as Graves’ disease) before becoming pregnant, and pregnancy can sometimes exacerbate this condition due to the increased demands on the thyroid gland during gestation. In such cases, careful monitoring and management by healthcare professionals are crucial to ensure the health of both the mother and the baby.

It’s important for pregnant individuals with suspected hyperthyroidism or any thyroid-related symptoms to seek medical evaluation and appropriate care from healthcare providers specialized in managing thyroid disorders during pregnancy. Monitoring thyroid function and proper management are essential to ensure a healthy pregnancy and reduce potential risks associated with thyroid imbalances.

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