What is thyroiditis?
Thyroiditis is a condition that occurs when the thyroid gland located on the front of the neck becomes inflamed. This gland produces thyroid hormones that control energy and heat exchange in the body.
If you have thyroiditis, a large amount of thyroid hormones is produced in the blood. This causes a condition called " hyperthyroidism, "or"thyrotoxicosis." This is a medical term that means excessive production of thyroid hormones by the body. After this happens, you may not have enough thyroid hormones in your blood. This will cause a condition called "hypothyroidism". This is a medical term that means a lack of thyroid hormones in the body. But after the inflammation passes, the thyroid gland will begin to produce thyroid hormones again. Over time, the function of the thyroid gland decreases, the amount of hormones decreases, and patients are prescribed replacement therapy.
What are the causes of thyroiditis?
Many different diseases can cause thyroiditis, including:
- Infectious diseases of the body – problems with the protective system, called the "immune system". If your immune system attacks healthy cells, including thyroid cells, this is called an " autoimmune response."
- Drugs or radiation
What are the symptoms of thyroiditis?
Some types of thyroiditis cause an increase in the thyroid gland. Sometimes, it can also cause neck pain, which can spread to the area of the jaw and ears
Most people with thyroiditis have the first symptoms of thyrotoxicosis. Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
- Feeling weak or unwell;
- Weight loss despite a normal meal;
- Frequent and irregular heartbeat;
- Excessive sweating, intolerance to hot weather;
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism can last up to 6-8 weeks. Then, people with thyroiditis may have symptoms of hypothyroidism that last from 2 to 8 weeks. Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- Lack of energy, drowsiness;
- Constant feeling of cold
- Tendency to constipation.
In most people with thyroiditis, thyroid hormone levels return to normal levels within 6 to 8 months.
How is thyroiditis diagnosed?
The attending physician will make a survey and conduct an examination. You will need to take a blood test to determine the level of thyroid hormones in the body.
Your doctor may also prescribe additional screening methods, which include:
- Thyroid scan-with this method, the patient receives a tablet containing a radioactive substance, after which a special device takes a picture of the thyroid gland;
- Ultrasound of the thyroid gland;
How to treat thyroiditis?
Treatment depends on the symptoms and cause of thyroiditis. If you have no symptoms, you may not need treatment. But your doctor will often check your thyroid function to make sure it is working properly.
If you have symptoms, your doctor may prescribe medications, including:
- Preparations containing thyroid hormones;
- Painkillers such as aspirin or ibuprofen;
- Drugs called "beta blockers" that can slow down your heart rate;
Diagnosis and treatment of thyroid diseases should take place with the participation of an endocrinologist and a surgeon.