Optimize Iodine Levels To Improve Thyroid Nodules
Thyroid hormone is made up in large part by iodine, which has led some clinicians to recommend iodine supplementation to support thyroid health. However, we need to get just the right amount of iodine. The American Thyroid Association states, Iodine deficiency, which is very uncommon in the United States, isknown to cause thyroid nodules. However, too much dietary iodine can increase the risk of goiter, multinodular goiter, nodules, and thyroid autoimmunity, especially in Hashimotos thyroiditis. [20
How To Shrink Thyroid Nodules
Medically reviewed and written by Izabella Wentz, PharmD, FASCP on October 4, 2018
I recently had the pleasure of connecting with a lovely lady who was very concerned about her thyroid nodules. She was a new mom who had just given birth and found that the nodules she had on her thyroid had grown. She was planning on getting them biopsied and potentially removing her thyroid, and wanted to know what her options were for addressing this concern.
I frequently receive these types of questions about thyroid nodules why they happen, and what to do about them. While I personally did not present with thyroid nodules, I have had a few clients and readers with Hashimotos and nodules, and was pleasantly surprised when they shrunk their nodules using my recommendations for Hashimotos. Dont you just love these kinds of surprises?
Up to 50 percent of our population has thyroid nodules. Nodules are also more common in those with Hashimotos so chances are, if youre reading this article, you may have a nodule .
This article will cover:
- Not suspicious
- Mildly, moderately, or highly suspicious
5. Another method of diagnosis is to get a thyroid scan done. An isotope of radioactive iodine is injected into a vein in the arm to find nodules that produce an excess of thyroid hormone. You may find cold or hot nodules. Cold nodules are non functioning and appear as defects or holes in the scan. Hot nodules are almost always non-cancerous, while only some cold nodules are cancerous.
History And Physical Examination
History and physical examination should focus on detecting features particularly suggestive of malignancy
The spectrum of disorders associated with thyroid nodules ranges from benign etiologies to malignant conditions that may either have an indolent course or a very aggressive behavior . Therefore, clinical evaluation is best tailored to identification of clues suggestive of malignant disease. A careful history and physical examination should include information regarding previous radiation treatment of the head and neck area growth of a neck mass location, size, and consistency of the thyroid nodule cervical lymphadenopathy associated local symptoms such as pain, hoarseness, dysphagia, dysphonia, and dyspnea and symptoms of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
A personal history of head and neck irradiation, particularly as a child, young age , or advanced age , and male sex are demographic features associated with increased likelihood of malignancy in a patient with a thyroid nodule. summarizes clinical features that should alert the clinician to the possibility of thyroid carcinoma in a patient with a thyroid nodule. It is important to know that symptoms, such as hoarseness, dysphagia, and cough, are rarely related to thyroid conditions, and a thorough workup should be pursued to exclude other, more common etiologies related to gastrointestinal and respiratory systems.
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How Is A Thyroid Nodule Diagnosed
You may not know you have a nodule until your doctor finds it during a general physical exam. They may be able to feel the nodule.
If they suspect you have a thyroid nodule, they will probably refer you to an endocrinologist. This type of doctor specializes in all aspects of the endocrine system, including the thyroid.
Your endocrinologist will want to learn if you:
- underwent radiation treatment on your head or neck as an infant or child
- have a family history of thyroid nodules
- have a history of other thyroid problems
They will use one or more of the following tests to diagnose and assess your nodule:
- thyroid ultrasound, to examine the structure of the nodule
- thyroid scan, to learn if the nodule is hot, warm, or cold
- fine needle aspiration, to collect a sample of the nodule for testing in a laboratory
- blood tests, to check your levels of thyroid hormones and thyroid stimulating hormone
What Causes Thyroid Nodules
The cause of thyroid nodules is often unknown. They sometimes run in families, meaning that they may have a genetic basis. Nodules can also stem from iodine deficiency, but this is rare in the United States.
Rarely in fewer than 5% of people with thyroid nodules cancer is the cause of the overgrowth of tissue, which is why it is important to see a doctor if you think you have a nodule.
There are several known risk factors for thyroid nodules. They are more common in women in men, and incidence increases with age. You are also at higher risk for thyroid nodules if you have been exposed to radiation or have Hashimotos disease, also known as Hashimotos thyroiditis, which is the most common cause of hypothyroidism .
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Shrinking Nodules A Success Story
Id like to share the success story of a client who was able to reverse her nodules with nutrition, supplements and treating Blastocystis hominis. Her thyroid antibodies are also now in the remission range . This 60 year old woman with asthma, Hashimotos and past exposure to Chernobyl had consecutive ultrasounds on an annual basis to monitor her thyroid nodule. As of 2018, this person still does not have any nodules on her thyroid ultrasound. She did, however, have a flare in asthma and thyroid antibodies in 2017 after having dairy. As a side note, I think the significant dairy reactivity may be due to the Chernobyl exposure and the radioactive toxins concentrated in the milk from cows in Eastern Europe. My theory is that this exposure made people highly sensitized to dairy proteins.
Here are the results from her first test:
11/5/10: First ultrasound
FINDINGS: There is a 6 x 3 x 4 mm hypoechoic solid nodule in the right lobe with multiple small but discrete hyperechoic foci likely due to calcifications. There is a 2 x 4 x 2 mm partly calcified solid nodule in the left lobe that demonstrates shadowing.IMPRESSION: There are bilateral calcified thyroid nodules. The nodules measure under 1 cm in diameter. The nodules are nonspecific in appearance and results should be correlated with clinical and laboratory data. Follow up ultrasound needed in 12 months due to the calcifications.
11/20/14 After starting a gluten and dairy free diet
New Test For Thyroid Cancer Could Prevent Unnecessary Surgery
- University of Texas at Austin
- Each year, thanks to inconclusive tests for thyroid cancer, thousands of people undergo unnecessary surgeries to remove part or all of their thyroids. A new test based on the unique chemical fingerprints of thyroid cancer might change that. Its faster and about two-thirds more accurate than the diagnostic tests doctors use today.
Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and Baylor College of Medicine have developed a new preoperative test for thyroid cancer that is faster and about two-thirds more accurate than the diagnostic tests doctors use today. Although more validation will be necessary before it can be used clinically, the new metabolic thyroid test shows promise for preventing thousands of unnecessary thyroid removals each year, such as the partial removal UT Austin grad student Amanda Helms had due to an inconclusive test.
All the uncertainty was nerve wracking, Helms said.
The results appear this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
If we could prevent people from having surgery they dont need and enable them to have a more precise diagnosis, we can improve treatment for patients and lower costs for the health care system, said Livia S. Eberlin, assistant professor of chemistry and diagnostic medicine at The University of Texas at Austin and co-principal investigator.
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Key Issues In Goiter & Thyroid Nodule
Whenever a person has a goiter or thyroid nodule, three questions must be answered.
Table 2. Key Issues to Evaluate in a Person with a Goiter or Thyroid Nodule
Definition Clinical Importance Epidemiology
Thyroid nodules are most common in women and older populations
The purpose of thyroid nodule evaluation is to determine which nodules are malignant or require surgical attention
Thyroid nodules have been defined by the American Thyroid Association as âdiscrete lesions within the thyroid gland, radiologically distinct from surrounding thyroid parenchyma.â They may be discovered by palpation during a general physical examination or with radiographic studies performed for medical evaluations, such as carotid duplex ultrasound , computed tomography scans, magnetic resonance imaging studies, or 18FDG-PET scanning. The latter entities are called âthyroid incidentalomasâ and they generally do not correspond to palpable thyroid lesions. Conversely, clinicians may identify palpable thyroid lesions that do not correspond to distinct radiological entities, and therefore would not be defined as thyroid nodules.
Thyroid nodules are common, their prevalence being largely dependent on the identification method. The estimated prevalence by palpation alone ranges from 4% to 7%,, whereas US detects nodules in 20% to 76% of the adult population,â particularly with the current use of high-resolution US techniques. The reported frequencies detected by US correlate with the prevalence reported at surgery and autopsy with ranges between 50% and 65%.
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Thyroid Nodule Treatment Options
Most nodules, benign or cancerous, are not an immediate health risk. However, as with most conditions, treating the issue early is less intensive and less invasive than waiting until it becomes serious.
The treatment your endocrinologist recommends will depend upon the nodule characteristics:
If you are diagnosed with a thyroid nodule, dont panic. The majority of thyroid nodules are benign, and most do not require surgery. See an endocrinologist to find the most effective treatment option for you and to get your questions answered.
To find out whether you or a loved one might benefit from a thyroid exam or a second opinion, call or request an appointment online.
What Types Of Healthcare Professionals Treat Thyroid Nodules
Endocrinologists and thyroid specialist surgeons deal with these problems on a regular basis. But many family practice physicians, general internists, general surgeons, and otolaryngologists are also adept at addressing thyroid nodules. The important thing is that the physician be experienced with and comfortable evaluating and treating this condition.
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The Conventional Approach To Thyroid Nodules
Most conventional doctors will recommend the following options for treatment of thyroid nodules:
1. Observation. When you have benign nodule, most doctors will recommend monitoring your thyroid with regular checkups to check for malignancy. This is especially important for those with Hashimotos, as they are at an increased risk of thyroid cancer. An increase in size or symptoms may demand a repeat biopsy or another treatment, but nodules that dont change over the years might not require any additional treatment.
2. Thyroid hormone suppression therapy. Prescribing thyroid hormone replacement medications can lower the production of TSH from the pituitary gland, and thus decrease the growth of thyroid tissue. Some practitioners may even attempt to suppress TSH with thyroid medications, to reduce nodule size. One double-blind, placebo-controlled study looked at 123 patients with a single palpable benign nodule, using levothyroxine therapy to suppress their TSH below 0.3 mIU/L over 18 months. The study found that those in the medication group had a significant decrease in the size of their largest nodules, while the placebo group saw an increase in nodule size .
Ways To Shrink Benign Nodules
That is why I believe that a number of dietary and lifestyle changes can help improve symptoms of Hashimotos and reduce the size of thyroid nodules.
As mentioned above, many root causes of Hashimotos are associated with the development of thyroid nodules, so addressing them may reverse their growth and shrink them! Here are some tips that may help to reduce the size of your thyroid nodules:
- Address nutrient deficiencies in iodine, selenium, and vitamin D While iodine deficiency is rare in those with Hashimotos, those that are indeed low in iodine may benefit from taking a multivitamin with iodine, like Nutrient 950 from Pure Encapsulations. A dose of up to 250 mcg of iodine per day has been found to be helpful and beneficial in people with Hashimotos however, doses above 300 mcg can be potentially inflammatory. Vitamin D and selenium supplementation may also help. You can read more about addressing vitamin D and selenium deficiencies in my articles.
- Clear out toxins Supporting your livers detoxification pathways as well as opting for non-toxic, natural personal products can greatly reduce your bodys toxic burden and result in optimal thyroid health. Check out my article on liver support for more information.
- Consider smart supplementation Some of my readers have reported an elimination of nodules utilizing the systemic enzyme Wobenzym, and others with turmeric.
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How Common Are Thyroid Nodules
Thyroid nodules are very common, especially in the U.S. In fact, experts estimate that about half of Americans will have one by the time theyre 60 years old. Some are solid, and some are fluid-filled cysts. Others are mixed.
Because many thyroid nodules dont have symptoms, people may not even know theyre there. In other cases, the nodules can get big enough to cause problems. But even larger thyroid nodules are treatable, sometimes even without surgery.
What Does A Hypoechoic Nodule On My Thyroid Mean
Hypoechoic means below or beneath and echoetic means to emit sounds. A hypoechoic nodule is one that emits noxious substances from its surface. These are called hypoxic nodules. They are found in the bodys tissues such as blood vessels, nerves, organs and other soft tissue. When these nodules get big enough they cause damage to vital organs like the heart and brain.
A hypoechoic nodule on your thyroid gland may mean that it is leaking toxins into your bloodstream. If you have a large number of them then you could develop symptoms similar to those associated with cancer. The main source of these toxins is food. But if there are too many of them, then they can leak out through your skin and enter your blood stream.
The most common type of hypoechoic nodule is called a thyrotropin releasing hormone receptor positive hyperplasia . T4 PR refers to the fact that the thyroid produces this hormone. TRH stands for triiodothyronine receptor.
When a person consumes food, the stomach breaks it down into tiny little bits. These bits are called molecules. Your body cannot use the nutrients in these molecules directly. Instead, they must undergo a process which involves wrapping them inside a protein coating.
This process is called bioavailability.
If too much builds up in your blood then you may experience symptoms such as those listed below.
Thyroid Gland Nodules
The main types of nodules that have been found on the thyroid are described below:
Painless Thyroid Nodule
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Causes Of A Thyroid Nodule
A thyroid nodule may occur for any number of reasons. Multinodular goiter is often associated with the same causes as a simple diffuse goiter. This includes :
- Iodine deficiency
- Thyroid inflammation and/or infection thyroiditis
- Birth defects
- Antibodies that causes the immune system to target the thyroid gland
- Excessive TSH secretion from the pituitary gland which stimulates the thyroid gland and eventually causes enlargement
- Other hormones like human chorionic gondaotropin which may be secreted from tumors elsewhere in the body or in pregnancy
- Certain substances that reduce thyroid function leading to the pituitary gland secreting more TSH to stimulate the thyroid gland. This causes thyroid gland enlargement.
- Radiation to the head and neck appears to be associated with a greater risk of developing thyroid nodules. This may include repeated x-rays even for dental treatment and has supported the use of radiation shielding thyroid guards.
- Family history of goiter or thyroid nodules
- Hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism may precede the onset of nodules and therefore teh causes of these ocnditions also needs to be considered.
It is important to note that a significant number of cases of thyroid nodules occurs for no known reason idiopathic.
Improve Gut Health To Reduce Thyroid Nodules
Typical treatment for an autoimmune hypothyroid condition is thyroid hormone replacement therapy. This helps resolve symptoms but does nothing to address the underlying autoimmunity. Preliminary research suggests gut health and thyroid health are closely connected. In some cases, addressing your gut health can improve thyroid autoimmunity. [5