The Invisible Illness That Can Be Caused By Pregnancy

While most people know pregnancy can bring about horrible symptoms, like extreme nausea or body aches, many are unaware that pregnancy can also leave behind an invisible illness. Many times, we can tell if someone is sick, whether through sneezing and coughing, or other signs. However, people worldwide suffer from illnesses that can't be seen. According to Verywell Mind, an invisible illness is usually a chronic condition in which a person looks healthy on the outside, but in reality, they're dealing with hidden symptoms, such as chronic pain or fatigue.

Invisible illnesses are difficult to diagnose and often misdiagnosed because they're often unable to be identified from a simple blood test (via Verywell Mind). Often, those with invisible illnesses must undergo several tests or attend many doctors' appointments to determine what is causing them problems.

Carolina Total Wellness reports pregnancy can actually trigger an invisible illness in some women. In fact, autoimmune disorders, which are invisible illnesses, are more common in women.

How Hashimoto's disease affects the body

Pregnant women may develop an invisible illness known as Hashimoto's disease, which causes hypothyroidism, according to Verywell Health. Hashimoto's is an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid gland, which plays a role in hormones and the body's overall functioning. Your immune system essentially confuses your thyroid gland for a bug or virus and tries to retaliate through destruction. The thyroid is then damaged through an attack, making it harder to produce thyroid hormones. These hormones are needed to manage the body's metabolism, which in turn affects a person's weight, energy, and more.

Registered dietitian Whitney Crouch wrote at Mindbodygreen that she recognized during her second trimester that something was "off." Despite hearing how great the second trimester was supposed to be, Crouch still felt "sluggish." Crouch says she was prescribed medication after tests revealed she had low thyroid levels. She was instructed to stop taking the medication six weeks after giving birth, but once she did, Crouch's symptoms worsened. She quickly lost weight, hair, and energy. 

After many appointments, she finally found a doctor who listened to her concerns and diagnosed her with Hashimoto's. Crouch is taking medication similar to the type she took during pregnancy to control the disease, in addition to getting more rest and movement, and prioritizing her gut health through healthy eating (via Mindbodygreen).