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Thyroiditis

Inflammation of the thyroid gland.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Thyroiditis

Thyroiditis causes stored thyroid hormone to leak out of the thyroid gland. At first, the leakage raises hormone levels in the blood, leading to hyperthyroidism—when thyroid hormone levels are too high—that lasts for 1 or 2 months. Most people then develop hypothyroidism before the thyroid is completely healed.

Several types of thyroiditis can cause hyperthyroidism followed by hypothyroidism:

  • Subacute thyroiditis. This condition involves painful inflammation and enlargement of the thyroid. Experts are not sure what causes subacute thyroiditis, but it may be related to a viral or bacterial infection. The condition usually goes away on its own in a few months.
  • Postpartum thyroiditis. This type of thyroiditis develops after a woman gives birth.
  • Silent thyroiditis. This type of thyroiditis is called "silent" because it is painless, as is postpartum thyroiditis, even though the thyroid may be enlarged. Like postpartum thyroiditis, silent thyroiditis is probably an autoimmune condition and sometimes develops into permanent hypothyroidism.

NIH - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Selenium supplementation for Hashimoto's thyroiditis

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a common disease in which a form of chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland results in reduced function of the gland. It is an auto‐immune disorder, which means that a person's own immune system attacks the thyroid gland, so that it no longer makes adequate quantities of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism). Common clinical manifestations include feeling cold, depressive mood, dry skin, puffy eyes, constipation, weight gain, slowed heart rate, joint and muscle pain and fatigue. Some but not all people with Hashimoto's thyroiditis have an enlarged gland, also called a goitre. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is more common in women than in men and tends to run in families. Other auto‐immune diseases often occur simultaneously, such as vitiligo, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes type 1. The disease does not always require treatment, but when it does, it is treated with synthetic thyroid hormone replacement (sometimes desiccated thyroid hormone is used, which is not synthetic). Selenium is an essential trace element that is required in small amounts for correct functioning of the immune system and the thyroid gland.

The CTLA4 +49A/G polymorphism is associated with an increased risk of Hashimoto's thyroiditis in Asian but not Caucasian populations: an updated meta-analysis

The polymorphism +49A/G in the cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) gene has been implicated in susceptibility to Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT), but the findings are not clear-cut. This study aimed to investigate the association between CTLA-4 polymorphisms and HT risk using an updated meta-analysis. A meta-analysis was carried out of 14 previous studies that investigated the CTLA-4 +49A/G polymorphism and HT risk. +49A/G was associated with a significantly increased HT risk in both allele analysis and all genetic models (allele analysis: G vs. A: P < 0.001, OR = 1.379, 95 % CI = 1.244-1.529). Subgroup analysis by ethnicity showed a significantly increased HT risk with the G allele and all other genetic models in the Asian subgroup (P < 0.001). In the Caucasian subgroup, no significant association was detected between the CTLA-4 +49 G allele and HT, or in the genetic model analysis (P = 0.05). This gene-based analysis indicates that the cumulative effect of the +49A/G polymorphism in CTLA-4 is associated with HT in Asians, but appears to have no effect on HT in Caucasians.

Selenium supplementation in the treatment of Hashimoto's thyroiditis: a systematic review and a meta-analysis

BACKGROUND: Evidence suggests that selenium (Se) supplementation could be useful as an adjunctive therapy to levothyroxine (LT₄) in the treatment of Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT). To summarize evidence regarding its effect on thyroid autoantibodies' titers, demands in LT₄ replacement therapy, ultrasonographic thyroid morphology, and mood in patients with HT under LT₄ treatment, a systematic review and meta-analysis of relevant literature were performed.

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Summaries for consumers

Selenium supplementation for Hashimoto's thyroiditis

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a common disease in which a form of chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland results in reduced function of the gland. It is an auto‐immune disorder, which means that a person's own immune system attacks the thyroid gland, so that it no longer makes adequate quantities of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism). Common clinical manifestations include feeling cold, depressive mood, dry skin, puffy eyes, constipation, weight gain, slowed heart rate, joint and muscle pain and fatigue. Some but not all people with Hashimoto's thyroiditis have an enlarged gland, also called a goitre. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is more common in women than in men and tends to run in families. Other auto‐immune diseases often occur simultaneously, such as vitiligo, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes type 1. The disease does not always require treatment, but when it does, it is treated with synthetic thyroid hormone replacement (sometimes desiccated thyroid hormone is used, which is not synthetic). Selenium is an essential trace element that is required in small amounts for correct functioning of the immune system and the thyroid gland.

Interventions to reduce harm to women and their children from untreated low levels of thyroid hormone in pregnancy

The thyroid is a butterfly‐shaped gland at the front of the oesophagus/throat that produces thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone helps the body to make energy, keeps body temperature regulated and assists other organs in their functions. Hypothyroidism (a deficiency of thyroid hormone) is a relatively common illness that can cause fatigue, constipation, muscle cramps and weakness, hair loss, dry skin, intolerance to cold, depression and weight gain. Medication is with levothyroxine. Selenium is a trace element that changes the expression of selenoproteins. These act as antioxidants and appear to decrease thyroid inflammation in autoimmune thyroiditis. Pregnant women with subclinical hypothyroidism have abnormal thyroid hormone levels but no symptoms. They are at a increased risk of miscarriage, pre‐eclampsia and preterm birth with impaired neuropsychological development in the child.

Underactive thyroid: Overview

If you constantly feel unmotivated, have a low pulse and are constipated, you may wonder what the cause is. There are many possible reasons for these sorts of symptoms, but they are all typical of an underactive thyroid. A blood test can help you find out for sure.

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Terms to know

Hashimoto's Disease
An autoimmune condition of the thyroid gland (a gland located beneath the larynx).
Hyperthyroidism
Too much thyroid hormone. Symptoms include weight loss, chest pain, cramps, diarrhea, and nervousness. Also called overactive thyroid.
Hypothyroidism
Too little thyroid hormone. Symptoms include weight gain, constipation, dry skin, and sensitivity to the cold. Also called underactive thyroid.
Inflammation
Redness, swelling, pain, and/or a feeling of heat in an area of the body. This is a protective reaction to injury, disease, or irritation of the tissues.
Thyroid Hormones
A hormone that affects heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and weight. Thyroid hormone is made by the thyroid gland and can also be made in the laboratory.

More about Thyroiditis

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Other terms to know: See all 5
Hashimoto's Disease, Hyperthyroidism, Hypothyroidism

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