Centres of Excellence -> Endocrinology and Diabetes -> Acute thyroiditis

Acute thyroiditis (purulent inflammation of the thyroid gland)

When does purulent inflammation of the thyroid occur and what causes it?

It typically occurs at a younger age, in children and adolescents, while it occurs somewhat less frequently in the adult population. It is most often caused by bacteria that spread to the thyroid gland from the surrounding areas of the neck (eg. during inflammation of the throat, tonsils, ear).

What are the symptoms of purulent thyroiditis?

The most common complaints are painful enlargement of the thyroid gland, redness of the skin on the front of the neck, increased body temperature and general weakness. The thyroid gland is extremely painful to the touch, swallowing or moving the neck.

Diagnosis and treatment

The diagnosis is established by a specialist and ultrasound examination of the thyroid and laboratory tests, which necessarily include the determination of TSH and inflammatory parameters. Sometimes a thyroid puncture is needed to remove the accumulation of inflammatory content.

Acute inflammation of the thyroid gland is treated with antibiotics, less often surgically and after the inflammation is over, a permanently reduced function of the thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) can remain, which needs to be treated with hormone therapy.

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