They thyroid gland is located at the base of the neck and is shaped like a butterfly. It produces thyroid hormone, which helps to control our bodies’ metabolism. Thyroid disease, whether in the form of hyperthyroidism, nodules, or cancer, is very common.
What Are Thyroid Nodules?
Nodules are abnormal growths within the thyroid gland. Some patients may have just one nodule, while others may have multiple. They are very common in women and may vary in size. While most nodules are non-cancerous, further examination may be needed for nodules with a certain appearance or symptoms. If a nodule is cancerous, it may require thyroid surgery.
Symptoms of Thyroid Nodules
Many cases of thyroid nodules do not result in symptoms however, in some cases, thyroid nodules are associated with hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is the overproduction of the thyroid hormone, resulting in symptoms such as:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Nervousness and irritability
- Rapid heartbeat
- Increased perspiration
- Trouble sleeping
More severe symptoms could require thyroid removal. Symptoms associated with the need for thyroid surgery include:
Symptoms associated with the need for thyroid surgery include:
- Throat pressure
- Difficulty swallowing
- Visible goiter
- Respiratory distress
What Causes Thyroid Nodules?
The causes of thyroid nodules are not usually threatening and include:
- Overgrowth of tissue – normal thyroid tissue can overgrow resulting in nodules. The condition is noncancerous but can sometimes lead to other symptoms.
- Hashimotos disease – a thyroid disorder involving an underactive thyroid that can result in inflammation and thyroid nodules.
- Multinodular goiter – an enlargement of the thyroid gland, resulting in a goiter made up of several nodules.
If you have a thyroid nodule, there is a small chance of it being cancerous. When it comes to thyroid cancer, there are various types. In most cases, surgical removal of the thyroid and/or lymph nodes is required. The many types of thyroid cancer include:
- Papillary- This is the most common type of thyroid cancer, and it is generally treated with thyroid surgery.
- Follicular- This form of thyroid cancer is similar to papillary, and is treated using the same methods.
- Medullary- This is a cancer that is formed in the C cells of the thyroid, which make t hormone to maintain the calcium level in the blood. The type of thyroid cancer is less common, and surgery is the most common treatment.
- Anaplastic- This is the rarest form of thyroid cancer, and is the most aggressive.
Partial of complete removal of the thyroid is often required to treat thyroid cancer. After removal, patients will need thyroid replacement therapy to avoid the symptoms associated with a lack of thyroid hormones.
To determine which treatment is best for your thyroid complications, contact Tuscaloosa ENT today. It is important to undergo an examination of your thyroid nodules to help determine which type of treatment is required to keep you as healthy as possible.