How To Treat Thyroid Problems
Now that you know more about the problems that indicate thyroid problems, what should you do? Of course, the first thing you should do is ask your doctor about your symptoms. Depending on your symptoms, you may have another condition that needs to be treated.
However, if you are experiencing several of these symptoms at a time, you most likely have a thyroid condition.
Before you start receiving treatments, first youll need to work with your doctor to get tested. Typically this will include blood tests to check the levels of T4 and T3 in your blood. When the tests come back, your doctor will help you know that to do next.
Usually, treatments include hormone replacement therapy. Iodine supplements may be prescribed in order to treat goiters.
However, if your symptoms are severe, it can be a sign of thyroid cancer. In which case youll need to visit a thyroid surgeon to remove the cancerous cells. Chemotherapy and radiation oncology are also viable options.
Symptoms Of Thyroid Goiters
Most thyroid goiters don’t cause symptoms, but they will if the goiter continues to grow. In fact, small thyroid goiters may more commonly be detected by routine examination of the patient’s neck by a doctor or by some type of screening x-ray or scan for some other reason. The symptoms occur as the goiter becomes big enough that it presses on other structures in the neck.
Larger thyroid goiters most commonly produce symptoms of
- A mass or lump in the neck.
- Uncomfortable pressure sensation on the breathing tube
- A sense of feeling like you need to swallow something or difficulty swallowing
- Excess production of the thyroid hormone, thyroxine which include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Rapid or irregular heart rate
Finding Your Thyroid Gland
Your thyroid is at the lower end of the front of your neck, right above your collarbone and below your larynx. The larynx or voice box is a hollow structure connected to your windpipe.
To find your thyroid, slide your fingers midway down the front of your neck, starting from your chin. The first hard spot you touch is thyroid cartilage, which leads to your Adams apple this area is often more prominent in men than women.
The next hard area in your neck is more cartilage, or the cricoid ring encircling your windpipe. Now, two finger-widths lower is your thyroid isthmus, which connects each side of your butterfly-shaped thyroid gland.
You can develop thyroid nodules for several reasons, including having:
- An enlarged thyroid gland
- Increased sweating
You might also feel a lump at the base of your throat when you have a thyroid nodule. These abnormalities usually feel round, and they may move when you swallow. They can also move at the touch of your fingertips.
Read Also: Does Naturethroid Cause Weight Loss
Symptoms Of An Overactive Thyroid
The thyroid produces hormones that affect things such as:
The hormones can also affect your heart rate and body temperature.
An overactive thyroid can cause a wide range of possible symptoms. It’s unlikely you’ll experience all of them.
The symptoms may develop gradually or suddenly. For some people they’re quite mild. For others, they can be severe and significantly affect their life.
Look For Enlargements As You Swallow
As you swallow, look for any:
- Anything that is off-center
It is a good idea to repeat the process again. Swallow another mouthful of water and observe 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. You will occasionally find it on both sides.
Read Also: Does Levothyroxine Give You Energy
How Is A Goiter Treated
The treatment will depend upon the cause of the goiter. If the goiter was due to a deficiency of iodine in the diet , you will be given iodine supplementation given in preparations to take by mouth. This will lead to a reduction in the size of the goiter, but often the goiter will not completely resolve.
If the goiter is due to Hashimotos Thyroiditis, and you are hypothyroid, you will be given thyroid hormone supplement as a daily pill. This treatment will restore your thyroid hormone levels to normal, but does not usually make the goiter go completely away. While the goiter may get smaller, sometimes there is too much scar tissue in the gland to allow it to get much smaller. However, thyroid hormone treatment will usually prevent it from getting any larger. Although appropriate in some individuals, surgery is usually not routine treatment of thyroiditis.
If the goiter is due to hyperthyroidism, the treatment will depend upon the cause of the hyperthyroidism . For some causes of hyperthyroidism, the treatment may lead to a disappearance of the goiter. For example, treatment of Graves disease with radioactive iodine usually leads to a decrease or disappearance of the goiter.
Whatever the cause, it is important to have regular monitoring when diagnosed with a goiter.
Benefits And Limitation Of The Self
An at-home self-exam known as the “neck check” can help you find thyroid lumps or enlargements on your own thyroid gland. These growths may point to any number of thyroid conditions from nodules and goiters to thyroid cancer.
Lumps in the neck can be caused by thyroid disease, and they can also be caused by a variety of other conditions, such as:
- An infectious abscess
- A traumatic injury
In general, a neck check is not considered the most accurate or reliable way to identify thyroid disease. You can have serious thyroid disease if you have a completely normal neck check. On the other hand, a major growth can often be a sign of an easily treatable condition, such as an iodine deficiency.
In the end, there are limitations as to what a neck check can tell you. A 2017 report from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force concluded that neck palpation was able to detect thyroid nodules in only 11.6% of cases. Ultrasound, an imaging procedure using sound waves, was five times more accurate in detecting abnormal growths.
However, if you want to try it, this article will discuss all the necessary steps for performing a thyroid neck check at home.
Verywell / Emily Roberts
Recommended Reading: Can You Take Collagen Supplements With Levothyroxine
Lab Testing For Your Thyroid
Looking at your thyroid gland via imaging doesn’t usually give you any information about the FUNCTION of the thyroid gland.
The function of your thyroid gland is very important because it relates to how well your thyroid is able to produce thyroid hormone.
Any change to the ability of your gland to produce thyroid hormone will result in very specific symptoms that are too big to be ignored and these symptoms will often drive people into the Doctors office for evaluation.
Fortunately, many conditions that result in thyroid gland enlargement usually do not interfere with thyroid hormone production.
Some conditions, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, cause both thyroid gland enlargement AND thyroid hormone issues.
Because of this each and every patient with a known or suspected thyroid gland issue should undergo thyroid function testing with blood tests.
To test your thyroid function you will need the following tests:
- TSH – This will help you understand if your brain is talking to your thyroid gland.
- Free T3 – This is the most important thyroid hormone in your body and is responsible for the majority of thyroid cellular activity/
- Free T4 – This is the most abundant thyroid hormone in your body and is important because it acts as a reservoir for T3 thyroid hormone.
- Thyroid Antibodies – The presence or absence of thyroid antibodies can help you understand if you have an autoimmune disease or if your body is attacking your own thyroid gland.
Causes: Pituitary Gland Problems
Thyroid disease may begin in the pituitary gland. The pituitary is located at the base of your brain. It controls the functions of many other glands in the body, including the thyroid. This gland produces TSH, which signals the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormones.
If there is a problem with your pituitary and not enough TSH is produced, thyroid problems can result. Inflammation of the thyroid and taking certain medications can also cause low thyroid hormone levels.
Recommended Reading: Collagen And Levothyroxine
Thyroid Goiter: The Definitive Diagnosis Of A Thyroid Goiter Is Made By High Resolution Ultrasound Examination
What Causes Hyperthyroidism
In more than 70% of cases, hyperthyroidism is caused by Graves disease. Normally, the immune system helps protect your body against viruses, bacteria, and other substances. An autoimmune disease causes it to attack your bodys tissues and/or organs. With Graves disease, the immune system stimulates your thyroid, making it produce too much hormone. Doctors think Graves disease may run in families. It is most common among young women.
Two other common causes for hyperthyroidism are:
- Hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules. One or more nodules or lumps in the thyroid grow. This increases the production of the thyroid hormone.
- A problem with the immune system or a viral infection causes the thyroid gland to become inflamed. This causes extra thyroid hormone to leak into your bloodstream. Thyroiditis could lead to hypothyroidism over time.
Consuming foods or medicines that contain high levels of iodine can lead to hyperthyroidism. In rare cases, the cause could be a benign tumor on the pituitary gland.
Also Check: What Is Levothyroxine Used For In Humans
How Are Goiters Treated
Depending on the test results, a goiter might not need to be treated. If it does, treating the thyroid disease causing the goiter usually will decrease or control the enlargement.
Surgery might be needed if the thyroid keeps getting bigger even with treatment and causes discomfort or a very large lump in the neck.
How Is Goitre Treated
Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the goitre. Simple goitre, where there is no thyroid hormone imbalance and no problems arising from the size of the thyroid, is unlikely to cause problems. In case the goitre is large and symptomatic , it may be appropriate to consider surgery , though this will result in the patient requiring lifelong thyroxine replacement.
Treatment of overactive and underactive thyroid is explained in articles on hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, respectively.
You May Like: Hypothyroidism Double Chin Caused By Thyroid
Is It Menopause Or Thyroid Disorder
Thyroid disorders can cause symptoms that are mistaken for those of a woman approaching menopause. Both menstrual cycle changes and mood changes can result from the menopausal transition or from thyroid conditions. Blood tests can determine which of these conditions is responsible for your symptoms. It’s also possible to have a combination of the two causes.
Your Muscles Are Acting Up
Muscle twitching, cramping, and pain can be signs of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. They can also indicate your electrolytesmainly calcium and sodiumare out of balance.
If you feel sudden and intense muscle pain when you havent done any strenuous physical activity, it might be because your thyroid function has changed.
Also Check: Is Thyroid Surgery Serious
What Is Facial Swelling
Weve all heard of facial swelling or puffiness, but have you ever wonder what it is actually?
Facial swelling is the accumulation of fluid in the tissues of the face.
What many people dont realize is that facial swelling oftentimes involves more than the face it may extend to the neck or throat.
People experience facial swelling or puffiness due to a number of reasons.
Some of the many causes of facial swelling include allergic reaction, angioedema, blood transfusion reaction, cellulitis, conjunctivitis, drug reactions, obesity, disorders of the salivary glands, among others.
When To See A Gp
See a GP if you have symptoms of an overactive thyroid.
They’ll ask about your symptoms and if they think you might have a thyroid problem, they can arrange for a blood test to check how well your thyroid is working.
If the blood test shows that you have an overactive thyroid, you may be referred for further tests to identify the cause.
Recommended Reading: Stopping Armour Thyroid
What Are The Treatments For Hyperthyroidism
The treatments for hyperthyroidism include medicines, radioiodine therapy, and thyroid surgery:
- Medicines for hyperthyroidism include
- Antithyroid medicines, which cause your thyroid to make less thyroid hormone. You probably need to take the medicines for 1 to 2 years. In some cases, you might need to take the medicines for several years. This is the simplest treatment, but it is often not a permanent cure.
- Beta blocker medicines, which can reduce symptoms such as tremors, rapid heartbeat, and nervousness. They work quickly and can help you feel better until other treatments take effect.
What Are Early Warning Signs Of Thyroid Problems 15 Signs It May Be Time To Get Thyroid Testing
At the Medical Transformation Center in Louisville, Kentucky, we know that thyroid disorders are common, and we offer thyroid testing to help combat the concern. Statistically, about 12% of people will experience some form of thyroid disorder in their life, and getting it treated is the key to feeling like yourself again. Knowing the early signs of thyroid problems could be a great help to treat it.
Don’t Miss: What Medications Can Affect Your Thyroid
What Are The Treatments For Thyroid Goiter
- If the ultrasound with or without biopsy suggests that the patient has benign small thyroid goiter and there are little to no symptoms, the doctor may suggest simply watching the patient and the goiter. The duration of observation is however somewhat arbitrary. Observation usually implies repeating thyroid blood tests, ultrasound, and physical examination in approximately one year. If the thyroid goiter should increase in size or establish symptoms, another intervention may be indicated. Small thyroid goiters that don’t change over a period of years may never require any treatment whatsoever.
Other Causes Of Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism can also result from thyroid nodules. These are lumps that develop inside the thyroid and sometimes begin producing thyroid hormones. Large lumps may create a noticeable goiter. Smaller lumps can be detected with ultrasound. A thyroid uptake and scan can tell if the lump is producing too much thyroid hormone.
Read Also: Why Suppress Tsh After Thyroidectomy
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.
You Might Also Enjoy…