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Alternative Names Return to topLymphocytic thyroiditis; Subacute lymphocytic thyroiditis; Painless thyroiditis
Definition Return to top
Silent thyroiditis is swelling (inflammation) of the thyroid gland, in which the person alternates between hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
Causes Return to top
The cause of this type of thyroiditis is unknown. The disease affects women more often than men. It usually develops in people ages 13 - 80.
Symptoms Return to top
The earliest symptoms are those of overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism). These symptoms may last for 3 months or fewer. Later symptoms may be of an underactive thyroid (including fatigue and cold intolerance) until the thyroid recovers.
Symptoms are usually mild and may include:
Exams and Tests Return to top
A physical examination may show:
Tests may show:
Treatment Return to top
Treatment is based on symptoms. Beta-blockers relieve rapid heart rate and excessive sweating.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Generally, silent thyroiditis will go away on its own within 1 year. The acute phase will end within 3 months.
Some people may develop hypothyroidism over time. Regular follow-ups with a doctor are recommended.
Possible Complications Return to top
Hypothyroidism may develop.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of this condition.
References Return to top
AACE Thyroid Task Force. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists Medical Guidelines for Clinical Practice for the Evaluation and Treatment of Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism. Endocr Pract. 2002;8:459.
Ladenson P, Kim M. Thyroid. In: Goldman L and Ausiello D, eds. Goldman: Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa:Saunders;2007:chap 244.Update Date: 6/17/2008 Updated by: Elizabeth H. Holt, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Section of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Yale University. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.