Thyroid nodule treatment
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About Thyroid nodule
Thyroid nodules are abnormal lumps that form within the thyroid - a small butterfly-shaped organ that is located on the front of the neck, just below the Adam’s apple. In many cases, these growths are unnoticeable and do not cause symptoms. Only a small percentage of nodules are cancerous or cause symptoms.
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty with breathing
Some thyroid nodules produce thyroxine, a hormone usually produced by the thyroid gland. An overproduction of thyroid hormones can lead to symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
- Weight loss
- Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Tremor (trembling in the hands and fingers)
- Increased appetite
- Changes in menstrual cycles
- Sensitivity to heat and excessive sweating
- Sleep problems
- Bulging eyes (common in Grave’s disease)
- Hair loss, or thinning of hair
Even though most thyroid nodules are small and noncancerous, it is important to screen these growths for cancer cells. If the nodule is cancerous, early detection can help improve the efficacy of treatment.
Talk to your doctor if you begin to notice the signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Additionally, it is recommended that you seek medical attention if your thyroid nodules have grown large enough to be felt or seen.
Below is a list of common treatment options for thyroid nodules. During your appointment, talk to your provider about your symptoms and the cause of your nodules to determine the treatment plan that’s right for you.
If your doctor has determined that your thyroid nodules are noncancerous, they may suggest holding off treatment. Instead of treating the condition, your health care provider may instead recommend frequent testing of thyroid hormone levels and monitoring the nodule for further growth.
Thyroid nodules that are causing an overproduction of thyroid hormones may be shrunk with an injection of radioactive iodine. It may take two or three months for the nodules to begin to shrink in size and symptoms of hyperthyroidism to subside.
If a thyroid nodule hasn’t responded to other forms of treatment, or if your doctor has determined that it is cancerous, they will recommend surgery to remove the growth. After surgery on a thyroid nodule, you will need hormone replacement therapy to maintain the levels of hormones usually produced by the thyroid. If you are a candidate for thyroid surgery, talk to your doctor about the risks of this procedure and the best methods for recovery.