Irregular Menstrual Periods And Infertility
When your thyroid is underactive, you may experience heavier, more painful menstrual periods, or your periods may come more frequently, and last longer. Hypothyroidism is also associated with an increased risk of infertility including early and recurrent miscarriage. If you have irregular periods or are finding it difficult to get pregnant, a thorough thyroid evaluation is an important step.
What Increases My Risk For A Thyroid Goiter
A lack of iodine in the foods you eat is the most common cause of a thyroid goiter. The following may increase your risk:
- Autoimmune thyroid disorders, such as Grave disease or Hashimoto disease
- Medical conditions, such as cancer, a thyroid infection, or a thyroid cyst
- Medicines used to treat mood disorders
- A family history of a thyroid goiter
- Pregnancy that causes your body to create more hormones
Are Thyroid Nodules Cancer
The vast majority more than 95% of thyroid nodules are benign . If concern arises about the possibility of cancer, the doctor may simply recommend monitoring the nodule over time to see if it grows.
Ultrasound can help evaluate a thyroid nodule and determine the need for biopsy. A thyroid fine needle aspiration biopsy can collect samples of cells from the nodule, which, under a microscope, can provide your doctor with more information about the behavior of the nodule.
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What My Cankles Taught Me About Thyroid Health
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Zana Carver from Thyroid Code wrote the below guest post.
Fluid retention is something Im asked quite frequently about and can be concerning to live with.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Hyperthyroidism
Your doctor will take a medical history and do a physical exam, but also will need to do some tests to confirm a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism. Many symptoms of hyperthyroidism are the same as those of other diseases, so doctors usually cant diagnose hyperthyroidism based on symptoms alone.
Because hypothyroidism can cause fertility problems, women who have trouble getting pregnant often get tested for thyroid problems.
Your doctor may use several blood tests to confirm a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism and find its cause. Imaging tests, such as a thyroid scan, can also help diagnose and find the cause of hyperthyroidism. Learn more about thyroid tests and what the results mean.
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Can A Thyroid Problem Heal Itself
Occasionally, the condition may resolve without treatment. Follow-up appointments are important to monitor hypothyroidism over time, however. If hypothyroidism doesnt go away on its own within several months, then treatment is necessary. If left untreated, this condition eventually may lead to serious health problems.
Thyroid Nodule Symptom # : Uncomfortable Pressure Sensation On The Breathing Tube
- What to do about it?
A thyroid nodule that causes problems with breathing should almost always be removed with surgery. This is a routine operation because this symptom is pretty common. There is an uncommon thyroid cancer that can present with these pressure on the trachea symptoms, but the vast majority of people with this symptom have a large, benign goiter that needs removed. An ultrasound scan should be done in all patients who have problems breathing related to the thyroid gland.
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But What If Its Thyroid Cancer
A cancer diagnosis is always worrisome, but even if a nodule turns out to be thyroid cancer, you still have plenty of reasons to be hopeful.
Thyroid cancer is one of the most treatable kinds of cancer. Surgery to remove the gland typically addresses the problem, and recurrences or spread of the cancer cells are both uncommon. People who undergo thyroid gland surgery may need to take thyroid hormone afterward to keep their body chemistry in balance.;
Whether its benign or not, a bothersome thyroid nodule can often be successfully managed. Choosing an experienced specialist can mean more options to help personalize your treatment and achieve better results.;
Rachel Hill Thyroid Patient Advocate
Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and multi-award winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. Her thyroid advocacy work includes writing articles, authoring books, producing her Thyroid Family email newsletters and speaking on podcasts, as well as being a founding board member for the;American College of Thyroidology. She is well-recognised as a crucial contributor to the thyroid community and has a large social media presence. Her books include Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate and You, Me and Hypothyroidism.
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Other Causes Of Nodules
Other causes of thyroid nodules include:
- a benign overgrowth known as a colloid adenoma, which is usually harmless
- a cyst, which may contain fluid or blood
People often cannot see or feel a thyroid nodule. They may learn that they have one when they have an imaging test for another condition.
Tests to investigate unusual thyroid activity include:
- an ultrasound to see if a nodule is present, how big it is, and if it contains fluid
- a blood test to assess hormone levels and other factors
- a biopsy to remove and test a small piece of tissue
- a nuclear thyroid scan
A fine needle biopsy or aspiration can show whether a nodule is malignant or not. The doctor will insert a thin needle into the thyroid gland and suction out a few cells for testing.
If biopsy results suggest cancer, the doctor may recommend surgery to remove the nodule and to examine the tissue more closely.
A nuclear thyroid scan can show whether the thyroid gland is working properly. For this test, the individual takes radioactive iodine by mouth or intravenously. They then undergo a scan to see how well the thyroid gland is working and if there are any nodules.
What Are The Risk Factors For Thyroid Nodules
Risk factors for developing thyroid nodules include:
- Family history. Having parents or siblings who have had thyroid nodules or thyroid or other endocrine cancers increases your chance of developing nodules.
- Age: The chance of developing nodules increases as you get older.
- Gender: Women are more likely than men to develop thyroid nodules.
- Radiation exposure: A history of radiation exposure to the head and neck increases your risk of developing nodules.
Risk factors for developing cancerous thyroid nodules include:
- Family history of thyroid cancer
- A nodule that is hard or is stuck to a nearby structure
- Male gender
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How Do I Know If I Have Thyroid Nodules
Most thyroid nodules do not produce any symptoms. However, if you have several nodules, or large nodules, you may be able to see them. Although rare, nodules can press against other structures in the neck and cause symptoms, including:
Hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules can lead to overproduction of thyroid hormones, also known as hyperthyroidism. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
What Is Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer describes any cancer that originates in the thyroid. There are several types, and they can be differentiated or undifferentiated. A differentiated cancer is one in which the cells still look healthy, while the undifferentiated disease has abnormal cells. Differentiated cancers are fortunately much more common, as the undifferentiated or anaplastic tumors are both aggressive and hard to treat. Only about two percent of patients are diagnosed with an undifferentiated cancer of the thyroid.
The most common type of thyroid cancer is papillary cancer, which is also called papillary adenocarcinoma or papillary carcinoma. About eighty percent of patients have papillary cancer, which develops slowly and usually affects only one lobe of the thyroid gland. While papillary cancers often spread to the lymph nodes in the neck, they are relatively easy to treat. If caught in time, papillary cancer is rarely lethal.
Follicular cancer is the second-most common type, and it affects about ten percent of patients with cancer of the thyroid. It is more common in places where the local diet is typically deficient in iodine.
Medullary thyroid cancer develops in the thyroid glands C cells. It affects about four percent of patients. MTC can be sporadic or familial; the latter runs in families and can affect children. Sporadic MTC affects about 80 percent of MTC patients. MTC is more difficult to detect and treat than some of the other types.
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Does An Enlarged Thyroid Cause Symptoms
Anatomical changes to your thyroid, such as changes to the size or shape of your thyroid, are most often found incidentally.;
Patients are often quite surprised that they even have a thyroid issue until they are notified by their physician during a routine exam.;
Problems which cause changes in the shape and size of thyroid usually do NOT cause problems with the production of thyroid hormone.;
This is important because the symptoms associated with dysregulated thyroid hormone production are often profound and easy to identify.;
Instead, disorders to the shape and size usually are asymptomatic.;
What this means is that they do NOT cause any symptoms.;
Now, this isn’t true for all disorders because there are always exceptions.;
These issues might present as problems swallowing, changes to your vocal cords or a change in your voice, or a bulge that is noticeable in your neck.;
Occasionally, if your enlarged thyroid is due to swelling or inflammation, then you might also experience pain when touching your neck.;
Some conditions which result in an enlargement of your thyroid gland are reversible and may go away on their own while others may persist and cause permanent thyroid damage .;
Hopefully, you’re beginning to understand that in order to really understand what is happening with your thyroid gland you will need further evaluation.;
What Other Health Problems Could I Have Because Of Hyperthyroidism
If hyperthyroidism isnt treated, it can cause some serious health problems, including
- an irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related problems
- an eye disease called Graves ophthalmopathy that can cause double vision, light sensitivity, and eye pain, and rarely can lead to vision loss
- thinning bones and osteoporosis
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Checking For Thyroid Nodules
Checking yourself for thyroid nodules shouldnt replace a doctors visit, of course, but these regular neck checks can help you detect changes early on.;
To look for nodules, Dr. Kausel recommends that you:
- Stand in front of a mirror
- Extend your neck, lifting your chin toward the ceiling
- Keep your neck muscles relaxed
- Make a swallowing motion, perhaps by taking a sip of water
- Watch the base of your neck for bumps, lumps, or protrusions
- Touch the area, checking for enlargements
Dr. Kausel confirms the presence of thyroid nodules by performing specific tests, including radioactive iodine thyroid scans, ultrasounds, and fine-needle aspiration biopsies. Based on the type of growth you have and how it affects your health, Dr. Kausel might recommend a variety of approaches to manage your condition.;
In some cases, this involves merely monitoring the nodule, but in others, she might recommend medications or surgery.
If you have concerns about thyroid disease or nodules, call Ana Maria Kausel MD Endocrinology, send a message to the team here on the website, or schedule an appointment today using the convenient online booking feature.
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Follow Up With Your Doctor
If you find lumps or protrusions of any sort, you should definitely let your doctor know. You may have an enlarged thyroid or a thyroid nodule that requires further evaluation. Follow up diagnostic tests may include an ultrasound, blood hormone tests, or a computerized tomography scan.
Finding a thyroid nodule does not mean you have cancer. In fact, a 2018 study published in Academic Radiology concluded that only around 8% of thyroid nodules are ever cancerous.
Thyroid Disease Doctor Discussion Guide
Get our printable guide for your next doctor’s appointment to help you ask the right questions.
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Impact Of Water Retention
Other than the visible puffiness, the retention also triggers several health conditions. The increase in fluid produces undue pressure on nerves resulting in inflammation.
When the nerve compression is more in the forearm or wrist region, it causes carpal tunnel syndrome, which exhibits symptoms such as tingling, numbness, aches and burning sensation. Restricted blood flow due to fluid accumulation can cause symptoms such as tinnitus, dizziness, headaches, visual disturbances and breathlessness.
Water retention can also exert pressure on nerve endings in the legs resulting in leg cramps during nighttime.
Enlarged Thyroid Vs Painful Thyroid
It’s important to differentiate between an enlarged thyroid gland and a painful thyroid gland.;
This one single symptom is unique to very few conditions and can easily help you figure out a diagnosis.;
Your thyroid gland is an organ and is susceptible to inflammation and infection, just like other parts of your body.;
This condition occurs very rarely, however, because for the most part your thyroid is protected from the rest of your body.;
This is one of the very few conditions which cause pain in the thyroid gland when touching it.;
Subacute thyroiditis can also result in an enlargement of the thyroid gland but it’s almost always associated with pain.;
This pain is important because it can easily help differentiate other, more serious, conditions which cause an enlargement of your thyroid gland.;
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Other Coexisting Conditions You Should Be Aware Of
The water retention in hypothyroidism can also be caused by adrenal fatigue. The functioning of adrenal gland is affected in autoimmune thyroid conditions and in hypothyroidism.; The adrenal hormones aldosterone and cortisol are not secreted properly resulting in low sodium levels and blood pressure.
This causes retention of water. Treating the adrenal fatigue and adding more salt to foods will help in increased aldosterone production.
Estrogen dominance in women during their peri-menopausal and menopausal stage is another cause of water retention. Low thyroid function, stress and nutritional deficiencies can lead to high estrogen levels. Restoring the hormonal balance is an effective way to treat the water retention in such cases.
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Hypothyroidism Increases Water Retention
Water retention occurs when excess fluids accumulate in the body. It takes place in the circulatory system or within tissues and cavities. Various factors can contribute to water retention, and hypothyroidism is one of them.
As seen above in this post, hypothyroidism leads to weight gain and changes in body composition. But not the whole weight gain is due to the buildup of fat. Weight gain in hypothyroidism is a complex process, and most of the extra pounds that people put on are due to excessive buildup of water and salt i.e., fluid retention.
Therefore, due to the fact that hypothyroidism causes water retention patients will notice swelling in their face. Besides facial swelling, people with hypothyroidism may also notice swelling in their hands, wrists, legs, ankles, and feet.
Why hypothyroidism causes water retention, youre probably wondering. It all comes down to the role of thyroid hormones in metabolism. As seen above, thyroid hormones regulate metabolic rate. In hypothyroidism, the gland produces lower levels of thyroid hormones, and as a result, the metabolic rate slows down.
This causes a chain of reactions that also makes the body hang on to water and salt. The amount of water the body retains depends on the severity of the condition. For example, the more severe hypothyroidism, the more water you retain, the more weight you gain, and facial swelling becomes more noticeable.
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What Else Could It Be
A lump in your thyroid could be caused by an infection or a goiter, which is an abnormal growth of the thyroid gland. It might not be cancerous at all. Lumps in the thyroid usually arenât.
But itâs possible to have thyroid cancer without any symptoms at all.
Your doctor will examine your thyroid during routine physical exams. If you have any symptoms between checkups, such as a new nodule on the gland or a rapidly growing one, you should make an appointment to have your thyroid gland checked. Your doctor will do several tests to diagnose the source of the problem and decide on the best treatment.
How Hypothyroidism Causes Facial Swelling
Hormonal imbalances act as a catalyst for a number of changes in our body, and lower production of thyroid hormones is not the exception.
Hypothyroid people experience various symptoms that affect their quality of life, and facial swelling is one of them.
Its perfectly natural to wonder how hypothyroidism leads to puffiness in the face, but it would be difficult to pinpoint a single mechanism.
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Look For Enlargements As You Swallow
As you swallow, look for any enlargements, lumps, protrusions, or anything that is off center. It is a good idea to repeat the process again, swallowing another mouthful of water, and observing the structures in your neck a few times.
Thyroid nodules are bumps that usually appear round. You may feel a thyroid nodule rolling beneath your fingertips or see it move with your thyroid gland when you swallow. A goiter may be seen on one side of the thyroid, and occasionally on both.
What Are My Hyperthyroidism Treatment Options
You may receive medicines, radioiodine therapy, or thyroid surgery to treat your hyperthyroidism. The aim of treatment is to bring thyroid hormone levels back to normal to prevent long-term health problems and to relieve uncomfortable symptoms. No single treatment works for everyone.
Treatment depends on the cause of your hyperthyroidism and how severe it is. When recommending a treatment, your doctor will consider your age, possible allergies to or side effects of the medicines, other conditions such as pregnancy or heart disease, and whether you have access to an experienced thyroid surgeon.
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