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Thyroiditis (Chronic Lymphocytic)

Chronic Lymphocytic Thyroiditis

What is thyroiditis? — Thyroiditis is a condition that happens when a gland in the neck called the thyroid gets inflamed (figure 1). This gland makes thyroid hormone, which controls how the body uses and stores energy.
If you have thyroiditis, your thyroid gland leaks large amounts of thyroid hormone into your bloodstream. This causes a condition called hyperthyroidism. That is the medical term for too much thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroidism lasts only until the thyroid hormone stored in your gland is used up.
After that happens, you might not have enough thyroid hormone in your bloodstream. This causes a condition called hypothyroidism. That is the medical term for too little thyroid hormone. But once the inflammation goes away and your thyroid gland heals, it will start to make thyroid hormone again.
What causes thyroiditis? — Many different things can cause thyroiditis, including:
Problems with the body's infection-fighting system, called the "immune system." If your immune system attacks healthy cells, including cells in your thyroid, it is called an "autoimmune response."
Medicines or radiation
What are the symptoms of thyroiditis? — Some types of thyroiditis cause the thyroid gland to swell. Sometimes, this can also cause pain in the neck that can spread to the jaw and ears.
Most people with thyroiditis first have symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
Feeling weak or tired
Losing weight, even when eating normally
Having a fast or uneven heartbeat
Sweating a lot and having trouble dealing with hot weather
Feeling worried
The symptoms of hyperthyroidism might last for up to 6 to 8 weeks. Then, people with thyroiditis might have symptoms of hypothyroidism, which can last for 2 to 8 weeks. Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
Having no energy
Feeling cold
Trouble having bowel movements (constipation)
In most people with thyroiditis, thyroid hormone levels return to normal within 6 to 8 months.
Is there a test for thyroiditis? — Yes. Your doctor or nurse will ask about your symptoms and do an exam. You will need blood tests, called thyroid function tests.
Your doctor might also order other tests. They include:
Thyroid scan – For this test, you get a pill or shot with a small amount of a radioactive substance. Then a special camera takes pictures of your thyroid.
Thyroid ultrasound – This test uses sound waves to create pictures of the thyroid.
How is thyroiditis treated? — The treatment depends on your symptoms and what caused your thyroiditis. If you do not have symptoms, you might not need any treatment. But your doctor will check your thyroid function every so often to be sure it returns to normal.
If you have symptoms, your doctor might prescribe medicines, including:
Thyroid hormone pills
Pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen (sample brand names: Advil, Motrin)
Medicines called "beta blockers," which slow down the heart rate
All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete.
This topic retrieved from UpToDate on: Mar 30, 2020.
Topic 86462 Version 4.0
Release: 28.2.2 - C28.105
© 2020 UpToDate, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

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