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Thyroiditis facts

*Thyroiditis facts medically edited by: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

  • Thyroiditis is inflammation or swelling of the thyroid gland.
  • There are several types off thyroiditis; Hashimoto's, postpartum, silent or painless and subacute.
  • Symptoms of Hashimoto's thyroiditis may include fatigue, depression, cold intolerance, weight gain, dry skin and hair, muscle cramps, constipation, decreased concentration and sleepiness, leg swelling, puffy eyes; severe symptoms include a slow heart rate, low body temperature, heart failure and coma – cause is suspected immune mediated reaction.
  • Postpartum thyroiditis may have two phases; phase one occurs about 1 to 4 months after giving birth when symptoms of hyperthyroidism occur and phase two that starts 4 to 8 months after delivery when the patient develops hyperthyroiditis symptoms – most women with postpartum thyroiditis return to normal function after 12 to 18 months and not all women go through phase two.
  • Silent or painless thyroiditis develops like postpartum thyroiditis, but the person is not pregnant.
  • Symptoms of subacute thyroiditis can be the same as postpartum thyroiditis, but it may also include neck, jaw, or ear pain.
  • In contrast to other thyroid types, subacute thyroiditis can be caused by infection.

What is thyroiditis?

Thyroiditis (thy-roi-DY-tiss) is inflammation, or swelling, of the thyroid. There are several types of thyroiditis, one of which is Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

Thyroid Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ

Thyroiditis

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Thyroid Disease

Note: We recommend you use this page as a reference for your consultation with your doctor.

Medical Reviewing Editor: Ruchi Mathur, MD

1. Are my symptoms consistent with thyroid disease?

2. Could my symptoms be the result of anything else?

3. What investigations do I need to have performed to make a diagnosis?

4. How safe are these investigative tests and procedures?

5. What exactly is a thyroid biopsy, and how is it performed?

Postpartum thyroiditis symptoms and signs

Like Hashimoto's thyroiditis, postpartum thyroiditis seems to be caused by a problem with the immune system. In the United States, postpartum thyroiditis occurs in about 5 to 10 percent of women. The first phase starts 1 to 4 months after giving birth. In this phase, you may get symptoms of hyperthyroidism because the damaged thyroid is leaking thyroid hormones out into the bloodstream. The second phase starts about 4 to 8 months after delivery. In this phase, you may get symptoms of hypothyroidism because, by this time, the thyroid has lost most of its hormones. Not everyone with postpartum thyroiditis goes through both phases. In most women who have postpartum thyroiditis, thyroid function returns to normal within 12 to 18 months after symptoms start.

Risk factors for postpartum thyroiditis include having:

Silent or painless thyroiditis symptoms and signs

Symptoms are the same as in postpartum thyroiditis, but they are not related to having given birth.

Subacute thyroiditis

Symptoms are the same as in postpartum and silent thyroiditis, but the inflammation in the thyroid leads to pain in the neck, jaw, or ear. Unlike the other types of thyroiditis, subacute thyroiditis may be caused by an infection.

Thyroid Gland - Thyroiditis
Thyroid Gland - Thyroiditis

SOURCE: U.S. Womenshealth.gov. Thyroid Disease.

Thyroid Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ

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Reviewed on 7/16/2012
References
SOURCE: U.S. Womenshealth.gov. Thyroid Disease.

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