Thyroid disorders affect the health and lifestyle of millions of adults. From complications of an overactive thyroid to complications of an underactive thyroid, many adults suffer from thyroid disease to varying degrees but few suffer from complications of the rare form; that involving bacterial infection.
When afflicted with a thyroid inflammation that is attributed to a bacterial infection, the diagnosis is often given of the rare thyroid disorder known as suppurative thyroiditis. Most often, this type of thyroiditis is attributed to infections of Streptococcus.
The underlying basis for the rarity of this development is attributed to the rich supply of not only blood but also lymph fluid found in the thyroid gland. Because the thyroid gland is so well protected, it often does not experience complications associated with infection. For individuals with suppressed immune systems, however, the thyroid gland may fall prey to the strep infection.
In patients who suffer from strep infection and the development of suppurative thyroiditis, there is an increased risk for being diagnosed with a full, and permanent, thyroid dysfunction. Often, this thyroid dysfunction was pre-existing the strep infection and simply not diagnosed previously.
While rare, in patients with suppurative thyroiditis, the method of treatment is quite radical, often requiring drainage of the thyroid gland with aggressive administration of antibiotic therapy. In most cases, fortunately, this complication of the thyroid does not attribute to either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism and simply involves pain and inflammation. However, once the underlying strep infection is resolved, many individuals find they develop a thyroid dysfunction soon thereafter, if one was not already present prior to infection.
Because suppurative thyroiditis is associated with a strep infection, there is a great concern over the need to manage the underlying infection so as to prevent further health complications. Because the thyroid is infected, there is risk that other major bodily organs may also be infected, resulting in the need for aggressive antibiotic therapy to the entire body.
As with any complication involving a thyroid dysfunction, the key to your optimal health lies in the early detection and treatment. When thyroid pain is present, and radiates through the neck and to the ear with associated strep infection noted, ask your doctor to conduct the appropriate testing into the possibility of strep infection to the thyroid. With aspiration and the application of antibiotic therapy, the thyroid gland can be healed but long term thyroid dysfunction may persist.