Thyroiditis is a temporary inflammation of the thyroid, in which the gland abruptly releases accelerated amounts of thyroid hormone into the blood. It generally lasts only a few weeks or months.

The two most common forms of thyroiditis are:

  • Subacute thyroiditis, which often occurs after such viruses as a cold or respiratory tract infection.
  • Postpartum Thyroiditis, a fairly common condition in women who have just given birth.

During the initial phase of thyroiditis, excessive hormone levels in the blood may lead to:

  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of shakiness
  • Racing heart
  • Weight loss despite a good appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping

Diagnosis and Treatment

In addition to blood tests, your doctor may order a thyroid uptake and scan or ultrasound to pinpoint the exact nature and cause of the inflammation.

In the vast majority of cases, the thyroid eventually heals on its own and resumes normal function within a few months.  Therefore, most patients don't need any specific treatment, but rather just close observation.

However, if you are uneasy or uncomfortable, your doctor may prescribe a beta-blocker to control such symptoms as anxiety or a racing heart, in addition to over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol or ibuprofen for pain.