What are the signs and symptoms of subacute granulomatous thyroiditis?

Updated: Mar 23, 2021
  • Author: Stephanie L Lee, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Local symptoms can include the following:

  • Dysphagia

  • Hoarseness (uncommon)

  • Pain over the thyroid area that is gradual or of sudden onset

Pain is the presenting symptom in over 90% of cases. It usually involves both lobes of the thyroid; in 30% of cases, it starts on one side and then migrates contralaterally within a few days. While the pain may be limited to the region of the thyroid, it may also involve the upper neck, throat, jaw, or ears. Some patients may first consult an otolaryngologist.

The pain may be so severe that the patient cannot tolerate palpation of the neck. The pain is most commonly bilateral. Occasionally, it may be unilateral, beginning in one lobe and spreading to the opposite side (creeping thyroiditis). Coughing, swallowing, or even tightening a necktie aggravates pain.

Constitutional symptoms

Constitutional symptoms (often absent) can include the following:

  • Fever

  • Malaise

  • Anorexia

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle aches

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