What is De Quervain’s Thyroiditis?

Thyroiditis refers to inflammation in the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located in the neck. It produces hormones that deliver oxygen and energy throughout the body. There are several kinds of thyroiditis, including De Quervain’s thyroiditis. De Quervain’s thyroiditis is also known as subacute or granulomatous thyroiditis. De Querain’s thyroiditis was analyzed first in 1904. It is less common than Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and it can lead to tenderness or pain in the thyroid gland due to rapid swelling.

De Quervain’s thyroiditis, or subacute granulomatous thryoiditis, is divided into the category of a painful kind of thyroiditis. The two types of thyroiditis include both painless thyroiditis and painful thyroiditis. If you experience pain or tenderness in your thyroid or neck area, it is possible your thyroid gland is inflamed. Speak to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. This article is compiled based on research conducted, and it is important to note that I am not a doctor.

De Quervain’s Thyroiditis Diagnosis

Tests and clinical examination are a couple of ways to help diagnose the condition. Early on in the disease test results can involve an increase in T4 and T3 levels. They can also include a decrease in TSH (low thyroid stimulating hormone) and thyroid radioactive iodine uptake as well as a high ESR (erthrocyte sedimentation rate).


It is assumed that De Quervain’s thyroditis is caused by a viral or bacterial infection. De Quervain’s thyroiditis is geographical and seasonal, more commonly diagnosed in the season of fall (after upper respiratory tract infections).


Besides experiencing pain or tenderness in the thyroid area, there are other signs of De Quervain’s thyroiditis. You can have difficulty swallowing, a fever, or experience signs of infection like enlarged lymph nodes close to the thyroid.

There are a few other symptoms to note, though they are less common:

  • Fatigue
  • Nervousness
  • Being sensitive to heat
  • Excessive sweating
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Heart palpitations

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above or believe you may be experiencing De Quervain’s thyroiditis, contact your doctor. Additionally, you should speak to a healthcare professional you trust in order to receive correct and reliable answers.


There are a couple of treatment options to look at depending on your condition. If you are experiencing pain or swelling in your thyroid glands, you can take high doses of aspirin, ibuprofen, or other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Additionally, your doctor can prescribe antibiotics if he or she finds a bacterial infection.

Hyperthyroid symptoms can lead to a treatment plan that includes a beta-blocker. You can also receive thyroid hormone replacement medications depending on your condition. Your doctor may also recommend corticosteroids if your condition is more severe. Hypothyroid cases can require different treatment processes. As soon as the thyroid radioactive iodine uptake returns to elevated levels, treatment can stop.

Usually, the thyroid gland and hormone production goes back to normal in patients with the hyperthyroid condition. There is a low risk of a recurrence of subacute granulomatous thyroiditis because it is considered self-limited. However, this does not mean it is not impossible to eventually become permanently hypothyroid.

Risk Factors

Women are more likely to be affected by De Quervain’s thyroiditis than men. In fact, a study shows that women are three to five times more likely to be affected. The condition usually occurs in middle-aged women (about thirty to fifty years old), but it can affect any individual.

De Quervain’s thyroiditis is believed to be an inflammatory immune reaction and more frequently there is a commonality of antecedent viral upper respiratory tract infections.

Recurrences of the hyperthyroid condition are quite uncommon. In fact, subacute thyroiditis is self-limited and can subside in less than three months. If it does reoccur, it can lead to hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism can be permanent, especially when there is extensive follicular destruction.

In Sum…

De Quervain’s thyroiditis is a type of painful thyroiditis that more likely affects middle-aged women. Although subacute granulomatous thyroiditis can resolve on its own, patients with more extreme or severe conditions are prone to be permanently hypothyroid. Treatment is possible, and there are different techniques and approaches you can take depending on the state of your condition. De Quervain’s thyroiditis has many symptoms. In order to receive a correct diagnosis your doctor can conduct other tests. These other tests will help ensure your symptoms are caused by De Quervain’s thyroiditis.

Reach out to your doctor if you have any more questions or concerns. In order to receive professional support and insight, it is best to ask for advice from a healthcare professional you trust.