More on Postpartum Hormones
By: Kelli Foulkrod
Did you know that breastfeeding mothers have six heavy hitting hormones surging through their bloodstream daily? These six key hormones, progesterone, estrogen, thyroid, cortisol, oxytocin, and prolactin have a delicate and synergistic balance and when one hormone is too high or too low, it can throw the whole endocrine system out of whack.
Did you also know that hormone imbalances often get misdiagnosed as a postpartum mood disorder? I’ve worked with multiple women with an underlying thyroid imbalance that got missed and led her to the path of psychiatry, when she first needed to consult with an endocrinologist. Thyroid and hormone imbalances mimic psychiatric symptoms. Therefore, in my opinion, it is vital to “check under the hood” with a full thyroid panel, complete blood count, and hormone testing done by a healthcare provider with expertise in postpartum hormones. It is important to rule out physiological causes of mental suffering before beginning any treatment process.
There are a variety of herbs, supplements, exercises, and pharmaceuticals to address hormones and thyroid issues. Another piece to the puzzle is addressing pelvic floor dysfunction, from a physical therapist perspective, which can help to bring balance to the woman’s body.
Women are complex beings! There are many, many variables that contribute to postpartum mood struggles. Chronic sleep deprivation in conjunction with huge (the biggest of your whole life!) hormone shifts has the potential to cause a woman to feel overwhelmed, sad, or fearful.