Thyroid nodules are abnormal growths that form a lump in your thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is butterfly-shaped and is located around the windpipe of trachea. It has two lobes on either side of the windpipe which are joined together by a bridge (isthmus). The cause of this nodules is not exactly known. Nonetheless, it seems that they are caused by iron deficiency in diet, certain genes and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
If you have non-cancerous thyroid nodules, you still have to monitor them carefully. You should also have another biopsy if they increase in size. Treatment for thyroid nodules includes:
- thyroid hormone suppression therapy
- radioactive iodine
- anti-thyroid medications
1. Thyroid hormone suppression therapy treats a benign nodule with medications such as Levoxyl or Synthroid, which are a synthetic form of levothyroxine. The purpose of this type of treatment is to make your pituitary gland produce less TSH, an important hormone that stimulates the growth of thyroid tissue. Nonetheless, using levothyroxine is a debated subject and there’s no clear evidence that nodules decrease in size or disappear.
2. Surgery is recommended when a thyroid nodule is very large that makes breathing or swallow difficult. It’s also appropriate for those who have multinodular goiters that constrict their airwaves. Nodules which are suspicious are also surgically removed. Surgically removal is used also for malignant thyroid nodules, even with a large part of thyroid tissue, which is called near-total thyroidectomy. This procedure is very risky because your vocal cords and parathyroids can be seriously affected. Thyroidectomy needs lifelong treatment with levothyroxine.
3. Radioactive iodine is used to treat multinodular goiters. Radioactive iodine makes the nodules decrease in size, while symptoms and signs will be soon subsided.
4. Anti-thyroid medications is also a method that your doctor may recommend it to you if you have nodules that cause hyperthyroidism. You will have to take methimazole (Tapazole) to subside symptoms of hyperthyroidism. This type of treatment lasts a long period of time and it may affect your liver. Therefore, you will have to discuss its benefits and risks with your doctor.
If you feel a lump or you can even see one in your neck, if you have any thyroid symptoms, call your doctor. You should do the same thing if you have been exposed to radiations in your neck or face area. The doctor will do a simple, painless neck ultrasound to see if you have thyroid nodules. In case you have non-cancerous nodules, they aren’t life threatening. Additionally, many of them don’t even require treatment, watching your condition being enough.