Thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid)

Throat | Rheumatology | Thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid) (Disease)


Thyroiditis is characterized by inflammation of the thyroid gland, which may be accompanied by an increase in basal metabolism. The evolution of the disease is variable, depending on the cause. Acute thyroiditis, subacute thyroiditis (de Quervain) and chronic thyroiditis (Hashimoto's thyroiditis) may exist. Riedel thyroiditis is a particular form of the disease. Other conditions of the thyroid may also be associated with hyperthyroidism such as Graves' disease.

Causes and Risk Factors

The cause of acute thyroiditis is a bacterial infection, rarely, a fungus infection. It can also follow radiotherapy or trauma to the thyroid. De Quervain's thyroiditis (subacute form) is viral. Primarily affecting women between 40 and 50 years, it often resolves spontaneously.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis (chronic form) results from a malfunction of the immune system, a process in which the body makes antibodies against the glandular tissue, which causes inflammation of the gland. Women are affected three times more often than men. It can also occur during pregnancy.

Riedel's thyroiditis, also called woody thyroiditis is a rare condition characterized by swelling of the gland. The gland is hard, inflamed and adheres to the surrounding tissues. Excessive growth of the hard tissue leads to the hardening of certain areas of the neck, with destruction of part of the thyroid gland and invasion of peripheral tissues. This may result in a cure of all the mediastinum.

Diagnosis and treatment

Physical examination (palpation of the thyroid gland in the neck) can be performed. The blood sample with dosage of thyroid hormones, a CT scan shows the volume of the thyroid gland and optionally, the biopsy tissue sampling using a fine needle.

Acute bacterial thyroiditis is treated with antibiotics. The surgery is required for potential abscess ablation. The treatment of subacute and chronic thyroiditis is symptomatic with eventual administration of thyroid hormones in case of hypofunction.

The use of beta-blockers is necessary for the emergence of hyperthyroidism manifested as palpitations, tremors, etc. However, many patients do not respond to this treatment. Hypothyroidism is treated by administration of thyroid hormones. Riedel's thyroiditis should be treated surgically through an incision in the thyroid gland to clear the airway. ...