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What Does A Slightly Enlarged Thyroid Mean

What Are The Treatments For Thyroid Goiter

How does the thyroid work? – YMyHealth
  • Observation
  • 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.
  • Thyroid Hormone Therapy
  • If you have hypothyroidism , your doctor will prescribe you thyroid hormone in the form of a pill or capsule. There are different types of thyroid hormone pills that doctors may prescribe to deal with low hormone levels. In theory, prescribing thyroid hormone can lower the thyroid stimulating hormone production of the pituitary gland and thus decrease the stimulation to growth of thyroid tissue. In many instances, when patients have been hypothyroid, this may result in a decrease in the size of the thyroid goiter.
  • Radioactive iodine therapy
  • Surgery
  • Continued observation of your thyroid goiter
  • Radioactive Iodine Therapy
  • Used in circumstances where the thyroid goiter is associated with excess thyroid hormone production
  • Taken orally
  • RAI treatment frequently results in reduced size of the goiter
  • Surgery
  • The thyroid goiter is large
  • Thyroid Disease And Endocrine Dysfunction

    The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland. Thyroid disease can occur along with other endocrine conditions, such as diabetes, pituitary tumors, and adrenal tumors. Similarly, if your child has another endocrine condition, he will also likely be tested for thyroid disease as well.

    Sometimes, people who have a thyroid tumor may also have other endocrine tumors, a hereditary condition described as multiple endocrine neoplasia .

    Symptoms and signs of thyroid disease combined with other endocrine conditions include:

    • Hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia
    • Galactorrhea
    • Hypertension or hypotension

    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.;

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    What Is Mild Heterogeneity Of The Thyroid Gland

    A mildly heterogeneous thyroid gland is one with slight abnormalities in its shape, unlike a homogeneous thyroid gland with a uniform shape, explains Dr. Jonathan Fay for Just Answer. It is often a sign of inflammation or thyroiditis, notes Dr. Bradford Mitchell for HealthTap.

    There are three main types of thyroiditis that can cause a mild heterogeneity of the thyroid gland: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, De Quervain’s thyroiditis and silent thyroiditis, according to Endocrine Web. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is more common and is caused by hypothyroidism, which is an underactive thyroid gland. The structural shape of the gland becomes enlarged due to its inability to convert iodine into thyroid hormone.

    De Quervain’s thyroiditis is the exact opposite and is induced by the hyperactivity of the thyroid gland. A thyroid gland afflicted by this disease becomes misshapen and swells up as it leaks unneeded thyroid hormone into the bloodstream, states Endocrine Web. Silent thyroiditis is less common and shows symptoms of both De Quervain’s and Hashimoto’s. It has much subtler symptoms and is less serious than the other two types of thyroiditis; it better reflects a mildly heterogeneous thyroid gland. With this disease, thyroid glands are only slightly enlarged and usually go untreated as patients tend to naturally recover from the illness after three months.

    Other Causes Of Hyperthyroidism

    Thyromegaly: Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis ...

    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.

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    What Are Thyroid Problems

    Through the hormones it produces, the thyroid gland influences almost all of the metabolic processes in your body. Thyroid disorders can range from a small, harmless goiter that needs no treatment to life-threatening cancer. The most common thyroid problems involve abnormal production of thyroid hormones. Too much thyroid hormone results in a condition known as hyperthyroidism. Insufficient hormone production leads to hypothyroidism.Although the effects can be unpleasant or uncomfortable, most thyroid problems can be managed well if properly diagnosed and treated.

    What Causes Thyroids To Swell

    An enlarged thyroid can have various causes. In many cases, the bodys immune system attacks the thyroid, causing it to stop functioning properly and produce too much or too little thyroid hormone . A swollen thyroid, or goiter, can also be caused by an infection, a drug interaction, nodules in the gland, inflammation, iodine deficiency or as a reaction after pregnancy.;

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    Symptoms Of Enlarged Thyroids

    Located at the base of the neck, the thyroid produces hormones that regulate a variety of crucial bodily functions, ranging from helping us keep warm and use energy to fueling proper function of organs and muscles. The development of a goiter doesnt mean the gland isnt working. But this enlargement, which can happen slowly or quickly, may also signal the thyroid is making too much or too little hormone.

    What signs of a goiter should you watch for? Dr. Shifrin says size matters. Watch for an enlargement of the thyroid, he says, including swelling at the base of your neck. Every enlarged gland should be checked for cancer.

    According to the American Thyroid Association, you should also watch for these signs:

    • Trouble swallowing, breathing or speaking normally
    • Coughing
    • Tightness in the throat

    Most goiters arent cancerous, Dr. Shifrin says, but you should still have it checked by your primary physician or an endocrine specialist. Blood tests alone cant usually determine if thyroid cancer is present. Ninety percent of thyroid cancers are detected by palpating the gland and a thyroid ultrasound, Dr. Shifrin says.

    Surgery For Thyroid Disorders

    Thyroid Problems- How Do You Know If You Have A Thyroid Problem?

    Removing the thyroid gland can cure hyperthyroidism, but the procedure is only recommended if antithyroid drugs don’t work, or if there is a large goiter. Surgery may also be recommended for patients with thyroid nodules. Once the thyroid is removed, most patients require daily supplements of thyroid hormones to avoid developing hypothyroidism.

    Read Also: How To Improve Thyroid Function Naturally

    What Are The Symptoms Of Hyperthyroidism

    The symptoms of hyperthyroidism can vary from person to person and may include

    • Nervousness or irritability
    • Imaging tests, such as a thyroid scan, ultrasound, or radioactive iodine uptake test. A radioactive iodine uptake test measures how much radioactive iodine your thyroid takes up from your blood after you swallow a small amount of it.

    Whats Special About University Of Michigans Treatment Of Graves Disease

    UM is one of the few places in the country that has a multidisciplinary group dedicated to the treatment of patients with Graves disease. UMs multidisciplinary group consists of endocrinologists, endocrine surgeons, ophthalmologists, nuclear medicine physicians, rheumatologists and psychiatric professionals. Our group sees Graves disease patients from around the country and is involved with one of the most well-known national organizations concentrating on helping patients and families coping with Graves disease and Graves eye disease. Our group routinely publishes papers with new research results on Graves disease.;

    The ophthalmologists in our group specialize in the treatment of Graves eye disease which can require complex management. Most ophthalmologists have little experience treating patients with Graves disease and Graves eye disease. For those patients with Graves eye disease, it is the severity of the eye disease which drives the selection of the type of treatment for hyperthyroidism if these two problems occur together.

    While those patients with no Graves eye disease or only mild eye disease may be candidates for any of the three types of treatments for hyperthyroidism, those who have moderate to severe eye disease are often referred for surgical thyroidectomy as RAI has a higher chance of worsening the eye disease than surgery does.

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    Your Next Steps + Treating Your Thyroid

    If you suspect that you have an enlarged or swollen thyroid gland then you may be wondering what are you supposed to do next.;

    The world of thyroid management can be difficult to navigate, but I’ve created a list of steps below that you can check off to ensure that you are on the right track.;

    Following this list will help you with proper diagnosis and treatment .;

    What Is A Thyroid Nodule


    A;thyroid nodule;is simply a lump or mass in the thyroid gland.;;Thyroid nodules are relatively common; 6% of adult women and 2% of adult men in the U.S. have a thyroid nodule that can be felt on examination.;Moreover, close inspection of the thyroid by sonographic imaging shows that as many as one-third of women and one-fifth of men have small nodules in their glands.

    The thyroid may contain just one nodule or several of them .;;Thyroid nodules can be solid if they are comprised of thyroid or other cells or an accumulation of stored thyroid hormone called colloid. When nodules contain fluid, they are called cystic nodules.;;These can be completely fluid filled , or partly solid and partly fluid, .;

    Thyroid nodules vary greatly in size.;;Many are large enough to see and feel .;;Some multinodular goiters can become enormous, bulging out of the neck and over the collar bones or extending down into the chest behind the breastbone, a condition called;substernal goiter.;;At the other end of the spectrum, the majority of thyroid nodules are too small to see or feel at all, and are called;nonpalpable nodules.

    Such small nodules are found when a person has a medical imaging procedure performed for some other reason, such as a sonogram of the carotid arteries; a CAT or MRI scan of their neck, head, or chest; or a PET scan.;;These very small, incidentally detected thyroid nodules are called thyroid;incidentalomas.;

    Multinodular Goiter

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    Thyroid Nodules: When To Worry

    Suppose you go to your doctor for a check-up, and, as shes feeling your neck, she notices a bump. Then, suppose she tells you theres a nodule on your thyroid. Is it time to panic?

    No, say experts at Johns Hopkins Department of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery. Thyroid nodules even the occasional cancerous ones are treatable.

    Heres what you need to know about thyroid nodules and how concerned you should be if you develop one.;

    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.

    Read Also: Can You Have Normal Thyroid Levels And Still Have Hypothyroidism

    What Is Hashimotos Thyroiditis

    Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder that damages the thyroid gland. Autoimmunity occurs when immune cells attack healthy tissue instead of protecting it, leading to chronic inflammation.

    In Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, immune cells mistakenly attack the healthy thyroid tissue, causing inflammation of the thyroid. This damage can eventually lead to inadequate thyroid hormone production. Without enough thyroid hormones for your body to function correctly, you develop hypothyroidism.Â;

    Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is theÂ;leading causeÂ;of hypothyroidism in the United States, affectingÂ;roughly 5%Â;of the population.

    Slightly Enlarged Thyroid What Does This Mean

    Swollen Thyroid Gland

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    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

    Symptoms Of An Enlarged Thyroid

    A goiter may be small, moderate or at times, it may be so large compressing the trachea and esophagus. Typically, a goiter is painless, but if it grows large, it causes other uncomfortable and unpleasant symptoms. Symptoms resulting from the goiter primarily include:

    • Problems associated with swallowing and experiencing a sensation like food is getting stuck in your upper throat after; when eating.
    • Shortness of breath including waking up feeling like you cannot breathe.
    • Hoarseness and stridor. Stridor is a wheezing sound that results from the turbulent air flow in and out of the obstructed trachea.

    When hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism is the reason behind your enlarged thyroid, other symptoms associated with thyroid disorders such as fatigue or sweating a lot can accompany those discussed above.

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    What Does It Mean When Your Thyroid Gland Is Heterogeneous

    A heterogeneous thyroid gland means that the gland is abnormal, according to the Research Institute of Radiological Science. A normal, or homogeneous, thyroid has uniform tissue throughout. An abnormal thyroid gland often presents with nodules, which may or may not be cancerous.

    Most thyroid nodules are benign, according to both the Research Institute of Radiological Science and Mayo Clinic. Some are even silent. However, they still indicate possible thyroid disease and need to be investigated by a medical professional. Even a cancerous thyroid has a good prognosis if it’s detected early.

    If thyroid nodules cause symptoms, they might present as lumps that are felt or seen in the neck. Some are large enough to interfere with swallowing or breathing, states Mayo Clinic. Some stimulate the thyroid to produce excess thyroid hormones, which leads to hyperthyroidism symptoms.

    These symptoms include weight loss, even though the patient isn’t trying to lose weight, or an increased appetite, tachycardia, trembling, weakness, nervousness and an inability to tolerate heat, claims Mayo Clinic. Complications of hyperthyroidism can be osteoporosis, or weakened bones, and a thyrotoxic crisis. This is a potentially fatal development that requires immediate medical attention.

    A heterogeneous thyroid can be caused by an iodine deficiency or goiter, cysts, inflammation, overgrowth of thyroid tissue and cancer, also according to Mayo Clinic.

    Thyroid Nodules Diagnosis And Treatment

    Thyromegaly Symptoms

    Most nodules are detected during a normal physical exam. They can also be detected during an ultrasound, CT scan, or an MRI. Once a nodule is detected, other procedures a TSH test and a thyroid scan can check for hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. A fine needle aspiration biopsy is used to take a sample of cells from the nodule and determine whether the nodule is cancerous.

    Benign thyroid nodules arent life-threatening and usually dont need treatment. Typically, nothing is done to remove the nodule if it doesnt change over time. Your doctor may do another biopsy and recommend radioactive iodine to shrink the nodules if it grows.

    Cancerous nodules are pretty rare according to the National Cancer Institute , thyroid cancer affects less than 4 percent of the population. The treatment your doctor recommends will vary depending on the type of tumor. Removing the thyroid through surgery is usually the treatment of choice. Radiation therapy is sometimes used with or without surgery. Chemotherapy is often required if the cancer spreads to other parts of the body.

    Children can also get thyroid conditions, including:

    • hypothyroidism
    • thyroid nodules
    • thyroid cancer

    Sometimes children are born with a thyroid problem. In other cases, surgery, disease, or treatment for another condition causes it.

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    Hyperthyroidism Diagnosis And Treatment

    A blood test measures levels of thyroid hormone and thyroid-stimulating hormone in your blood. The pituitary gland releases TSH to stimulate the thyroid to produce its hormones. High thyroxine and low TSH levels indicate that your thyroid gland is overactive.

    Your doctor might also give you radioactive iodine by mouth or as an injection, and then measure how much of it your thyroid gland takes up. Your thyroid takes in iodine to produce its hormones. Taking in a lot of radioactive iodine is a sign that your thyroid is overactive. The low level of radioactivity resolves quickly and isnt dangerous for most people.

    Treatments for hyperthyroidism destroy the thyroid gland or block it from producing its hormones.

    • Antithyroid drugs such as methimazole prevent the thyroid from producing its hormones.
    • A large dose of radioactive iodine damages the thyroid gland. You take it as a pill by mouth. As your thyroid gland takes in iodine, it also pulls in the radioactive iodine, which damages the gland.
    • Surgery can be performed to remove your thyroid gland.

    If you have radioactive iodine treatment or surgery that destroys your thyroid gland, you will develop hypothyroidism and need to take thyroid hormone daily.

    Causes Of Hashimotos Thyroiditis

    Doctors aren’t entirely sure why the immune system, which is supposed to defend the body from harmful viruses and bacteria, sometimes turns against the body’s healthy tissues.

    Some scientists think a virus or bacterium might trigger the response, while others believe it may involve a genetic flaw. A combination of factorsâincluding heredity, sex, and ageâmay determine your likelihood of developing the disorder.

    Genetic predisposition

    Researchers estimate that 70%â80% of autoimmune thyroid disease susceptibility is fromÂ;a family historyÂ;of autoimmune disease.


    Pregnancy puts metabolic stress on a woman. The thyroid undergoes noticeable modifications to cope. These changes are typically reversible after birth, though pregnancy can sometimes be a trigger for postpartum thyroiditis. Postpartum thyroiditis is a condition in which the thyroid becomes inflamed within the first year after birth. In most cases, postpartum thyroiditis is limiting to weeks or months after delivery but occasionally develops into Hashimoto’s disease.

    Other hormonal events

    Hashimoto’s isÂ;seven times more likelyÂ;to occur in women than men. Hormonal events like puberty, pregnancy, or menopause may contribute to the development of Hashimoto’s.Â;


    It is not uncommon for someone with one autoimmune condition to have another likeÂ;celiac disease,Â;type one diabetes,Â;rheumatoid arthritis, orÂ;lupus. This condition of have two or more autoimmune disorders is polyautoimmunity.Â;

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