Vol 59, No 2 (2008)
Review paper
Published online: 2008-05-08

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Postpartum thyroiditis - current views on unappreciated disease

Robert Krysiak, Bogdan Marek, Bogusław Okopień
Endokrynol Pol 2008;59(2):180-190.


Postpartum thyroiditis is a form of autoimmune thyroiditis developing during the first 12 months postpartum as a consequence of the immunologic flare following the immune suppression of pregnancy. This disease, found in 5-10% of women in a general population and even more frequently in patients suffering from other autoimmune disorders, may reoccur in about 70% of women after a subsequent pregnancy. Postpartum thyroiditis is strongly associated with antithyroid peroxidase antibodies. Patients may present with symptoms of either thyrotoxicosis or hypothyroidism which may be transient or, in some (20-30%) cases of hypothyroidism, permanent in nature. A thyrotoxic phase of postpartum thyroiditis is usually brief and often unnoticed before a more long-lasting hypothyroid phase occurs. The diagnosis of postpartum thyroiditis is based on the observation of abnormal thyroid function tests in a postpartum antithyroid peroxidase- positive woman. In this paper, we discuss the etiopathogenesis, clinical picture, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of postpartum thyroiditis and provide the reader with some practical guidance concerning dealing with a patient suffering from this disorder. (Pol J Endocrinol 2008; 59 (2): 180-189)

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