Thyroid Nodules and Dysfunction Q & A
What are thyroid nodules?
Thyroid nodules are very common and don’t often cause health issues. They’re growths or lumps that appear on your thyroid gland, which is at the base of your neck and produces hormones that help regulate your metabolism.
Thyroid nodules can be either fluid-filled and soft, or hard, solid masses on the thyroid. You won’t realize you have them unless a doctor finds them during a routine exam or unless they start to cause complications. In very rare cases, thyroid nodules can become so large that you can see or feel them.
Which complications can thyroid nodules cause?
Thyroid nodules can be the root cause behind the following three health complications:
If your thyroid nodules become large enough to reach your vocal cords, they can place pressure on them and cause you to have a hoarse voice or trouble swallowing.
Some thyroid nodules cause an overproduction of thyroxine, one of the hormones the thyroid produces. Hyperthyroidism symptoms include weight loss, tremors, and heart palpitations.
Thyroid cancer is a rare diagnosis, but thyroid nodules can be cancerous.
When do thyroid nodules and dysfunction occur?
The team at Ally Endocrinology uses different diagnostic strategies to find out if your thyroid nodules are causing any health complications. They evaluate any symptoms you’re experiencing from your thyroid nodules to see if they’re consistent with any possible diagnoses.
If you have symptoms of hyperthyroidism, they may give you a blood test in order to find out if you have excess thyroxine levels in your system.
If your thyroid nodules are larger than one centimeter, the team performs an on-site thyroid biopsy using ultrasound imaging to guide the needle. They remove a small amount of thyroid tissue and test it for cancerous cells in a lab. Generally, the results are available within 10 days of the test.
How are thyroid nodules and dysfunction treated?
If you experience thyroid nodules and dysfunction, the team at Ally Endocrinology creates an individualized treatment plan for you based on the findings of any blood tests or biopsies they perform. Usually, you won’t need treatment unless you have a complication from your thyroid nodules.
Ally Endocrinology treats hyperthyroidism using medication or radioactive iodine treatment. For thyroid cancer, they usually recommend surgical thyroid removal followed by radioactive iodine ablation. After that, you should come in annually for follow-up appointments to look for recurrent thyroid cancer.
To find out if you have thyroid nodules and dysfunction, call your nearest Ally Endocrinology location or book your visit online today.