Silent Thyroiditis – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment
What is silent thyroiditis?
Silent thyroiditis is a type of inflammation of thyroid gland. It is also known as subacute lymphocytic thyroiditis. The thyroid gland is located in the neck, just above where the collarbones meet in the middle. When thyroiditis occurs, often the thyroid gland is painful and tender. When silent thyroiditis occurs, the thyroid gland is not painful, and there is no tenderness. This disorder is characterized by hyperthyroidism, followed by hypothyroidism.
The disease affects women more often than men.
What causes silent thyroiditis?
What exactly causes silent thyroiditis is not known to doctors and scientists. But it is believed to be an autoimmune disorder.
Silent thyroiditis can occur in women after childbirth. It can also be caused by medicines which affect the immune system, such as interferon and amiodarone.
What are the symptoms of silent thyroiditis?
Silent thyroiditis causes mild symptoms of hyperthyroidism followed by symptoms of hypothyroidism till the thyroid gland comes to a normal state.
These mild symptoms of hyperthyroidism may last up to 3 months and can include:
- Frequent bowel movements
- Heat intolerance
- Increased appetite
- Increased sweating
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Mood changes, such as irritability
- Muscle cramps
- Nervousness, restlessness
- Weight loss
The hyperthyroid state is followed by hypothyroid state, which causes the following symptoms:
- Weight gain
- Sensitivity to cold
- Mild thyroid gland enlargement
- Hair loss
- Dry skin
- Irregular periods in women.
How is silent thyroiditis diagnosed?
The doctor will perform a physical examination and review your symptoms and medical history. The physical examination may reveal:
- An enlarged thyroid gland that is not painful to the touch
- Rapid heart rate
- Tremor (shaking hands)
The doctor may order the following tests for diagnosis:
- Radioactive iodine uptake
- Thyroid hormones T3 and T4
How is silent thyroiditis treated?
Generally, treatment is not required for silent thyroiditis, as it lasts only a few months and causes only mild symptoms. Doctors usually recommend a regular follow-up.
If and when treatment is required, it is based on symptoms. Usually, beta-blockers are recommended to relieve rapid heart rate and excessive sweating.
This feature is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute the expert guidance of a doctor. We advise seeing a doctor if you have any health concerns.