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What Is A Nodule On Your Thyroid

Preparing For An Appointment

What Is A Thyroid Nodule?

If you see or feel a thyroid nodule yourself usually in the middle of your lower neck, just above your breastbone call your primary care doctor for an appointment to evaluate the lump.

Often, your doctor may discover thyroid nodules during a routine medical exam. Sometimes, your doctor detects a thyroid nodule when you have an imaging test, such as an ultrasound, CT or MRI scan, to evaluate another condition in your head or neck. Nodules detected this way are usually smaller than those found during a physical exam.

Once your doctor detects a thyroid nodule, you’re likely to be referred to a doctor trained in endocrine disorders . To get the most from your appointment, try these suggestions:

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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.

Types Of Thyroid Nodules & Cancers

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck, in front of the trachea, or windpipe, the tube through which air passes to the lungs. The thyroid consists of two lobes connected by a thin tissue called the isthmus. The gland produces thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolismthe conversion of food to energy.

The thyroid takes the mineral iodinefound in table salt, seafood, and dairy productsfrom the bloodstream and uses it to produce the thyroid hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine .

T3 helps regulate your heart rate. It also controls your metabolismthe speed with which food is digested and glucose, or sugar, is produced and used in the body. T4 plays the same role, but its more powerful and acts more rapidly.

The thyroid produces T4 and T3 after the pituitary gland, a small organ at the base of the brain, releases a hormone called thyroid-stimulating hormone, or TSH. When thyroid hormone levels are low, the pituitary releases more TSH. When thyroid hormone levels are high, TSH levels are suppressed.

NYU Langone doctors treat many types of conditions affecting the thyroid and can identify benign thyroid tumors, known as nodules, and thyroid cancers.

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Find Your Balance The Marcelle Pick Approach

When we support our thyroid naturally, like with the thyroid diet, we can improve the way we feel on many levels. It may seem complicated, but once we learn which foods help and how to support our thyroid with the micronutrients we need, it will become second-nature. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Final Thoughts on the Thyroid Diet

Now that you have a little more information, you can take steps to support your thyroid with delicious meals. Isnt it great to know that the choices you make can have a huge positive impact on the way you feel?

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Other Causes Of Nodules

Thyroid Nodule: Causes, Signs, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

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.

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What Causes Thyroid Nodules And How Common Are They

We do not know what causes most thyroid nodules but they are extremely common. By age 60, about one-half of all people have a thyroid nodule that can be found either through examination or with imaging. Fortunately, over 90% of such nodules are benign. Hashimotos thyroiditis, which is the most common cause of hypothyroidism , is associated with an increased risk of thyroid nodules. Iodine deficiency, which is very uncommon in the United States, is also known to cause thyroid nodules.

How Do You Keep Your Thyroid Healthy

Whether you have or dont have a thyroid disorder, you can take some steps that will help you have a healthy thyroid. A holistic approach that involves diet, exercise, and simple lifestyle changes can help in the proper functioning of your thyroid.;

Watch your diet

A balanced diet is key to maintaining a healthy thyroid for life. Limit or avoid your intake of processed foods, trans fats, refined sugar, preservatives, and dyes. Opt for more antioxidant rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, beans, probiotic foods, heart-healthy fats, and omega-3s such as fatty fish; extra-virgin olive, canola, sunflower, safflower, groundnut, coconut, avocado oils; and nut butters.;

Iodine deficiency is another reason for thyroid disorders, as reported by the American Thyroid Association. The body needs iodine to produce TSH but it does not produce it, and we need to consume iodine as part of our diet. You can get your iodine intake from table salt, dairy products, seaweed, saltwater fish, shellfish, seafood, and any iodized product. However, it would help if you had it in moderation, as too much iodine can mess up your thyroid hormone level.;

If you have iodine deficiency, have soy in moderation. Also, make sure to cook cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, and Bok choy before consumption. Eating them raw can hamper thyroid functioning.;

Switch to healthier habits;

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Thyroid Nodules And Goiter

A goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid, the H-shaped gland that wraps around the front of your windpipe, just below your Adam’s apple.

A goiter can be smooth and uniformly enlarged, called;diffuse goiter, or it can be caused by one or more nodules within the gland, called nodular goiter. Nodules may be solid, filled with fluid, or partly fluid and partly solid.

Thyroid nodules are quite common. When examined with ultrasound imaging, as many as one-third of women and one-fifth of men have small thyroid nodules.

It’s possible for an enlarged thyroid to continue functioning well and producing the right amounts of hormones. In fact, most goiters and nodules don’t cause health problems. However, goiter can also be a sign of certain conditions that cause the thyroid to produce too much thyroid hormone or too little .;;

What Do You Do When Your Child Has A Thyroid Nodule

Thyroid Nodules – When to Worry? (Signs your nodule could be something more)

The first step if your child has a thyroid nodule is to get an ultrasound. This will help your healthcare provider assess the quality of your childs nodule and determine if additional workup is needed. In some cases a repeat ultrasound is needed, and in some cases a biopsy. This all depends on what it looks like on the ultrasound. Some nodules require labs to look at how the thyroid is functioning.

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Improve Your Sleep Routine

Not getting enough sleep can add to your bodys stress load, so prioritizing quality shuteye is key to healing your thyroid, according to Safdieh. One study published in the Annals of Occupational and Environmental Medicine even found that night shift workers, who typically have poorer sleep quality, are at higher risk for thyroid diseases than people who work a daytime schedule. There are lots of ways you can get better sleep, from developing a nighttime routine to limiting caffeine intake during the day.;;

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Health Literacy To Empower Patients

With the right information, patients can make the best decisions about their care. By partnering with patients, healthcare providers, and hospitals, we hope to provide all patients with the tools and knowledge to understand their pathology report.

For more information about this site, contact us at .

Disclaimer: The articles on MyPathologyReport are intended for general informational purposes only and they do not address individual circumstances. The articles on this site are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the MyPathologyReport site. MyPathologyReport is independently owned and operated and is not affiliated with any hospital or patient portal. The articles on MyPathologyReport.ca are intended for use within Canada by residents of Canada only.

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What Are The Symptoms Of A Thyroid Nodule

Most thyroid nodules do not cause symptoms. Often, thyroid nodules are discovered incidentally during a routine physical examination or on imaging tests like CT scans or neck ultrasound done for completely unrelated reasons. Occasionally, patients themselves find thyroid nodules by noticing a lump in their neck while looking in a mirror, buttoning their collar, or fastening a necklace. Abnormal thyroid function tests may occasionally be the reason a thyroid nodule is found. Thyroid nodules may produce excess amounts of thyroid hormone causing hyperthyroidism . However, most thyroid nodules, including those that cancerous, are actually non-functioning, meaning tests like TSH are normal. Rarely, patients with thyroid nodules may complain of pain in the neck, jaw, or ear. If a nodule is large enough to compress the windpipe or esophagus, it may cause difficulty with breathing, swallowing, or cause a tickle in the throat. Even less commonly, hoarseness can be caused if the nodule invades the nerve that controls the vocal cords but this is usually related to thyroid cancer.

The important points to remember are the following:

  • Thyroid nodules generally do not cause symptoms.
  • Thyroid tests are most typically normaleven when cancer is present in a nodule.
  • The best way to find a thyroid nodule is to make sure your doctor checks your neck!

Risk Factors For Thyroid Nodules

Thyroid Nodules

Thyroid nodules are actually quite common. By the age of 60, half of all people have them. Theyâre often very small. You might only learn you have a thyroid nodule when your doctor feels for one during an examination or if you have an ultrasound of your thyroid.

Still, several things can increase your chances of developing a thyroid nodule. They include:

  • Living in a part of the world where the diet doesnât include iodine

  • Having a family history of thyroid nodules

  • Being female

  • Having a history of radiation exposure to head or neck

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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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Limit Your Sugar Intake

Too much sugar is bad for you in general, but its especially harmful if you have a thyroid imbalance.

One of your thyroid glands main jobs is to regulate your carbohydrate metabolism. If you arent making enough thyroid hormones, your body struggles to balance your blood sugar, which can lead to fatigue, weight gain, and metabolic issues.

Its a good idea to cut back on sugar even if you dont have thyroid issues. It may be hard for the first week or two, but its worth it.

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Cut Back On Refined Starches And Sugary Carbs

Carbohydrates are often described as the enemy of weight loss. But thats not an accurate statement. Rather, its the highly-processed, high-sugar content carbs that provide no nutritional value and cause weight gain with regular consumption. Limiting junk foods, such as chips, cookies, donuts, most cereals, sugary drinks, including certain juices, alcohol, and even many healthy gluten-free packaged products will help you stay on track when trying to reach your weight loss goals.

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Thyroid Molecular Markers Allow Patients To Avoid Surgery

What You Need to Know about Thyroid Nodules

We want to help patients find that perfect balance between under-treatment and over-treatment. The people-gram shows how molecular testing can help patients avoid unnecessary surgery.

Left Path: Before the use of molecular markers, everyone with an indeterminate biopsy went to surgery. Of those who went to surgery, cancer was found in only 25% of those cases . 75% of the surgical patients turned out not to have needed surgery at all because their nodules were benign .

Right Path: Today, if you have an indeterminate biopsy, you also undergo molecular testing.50% of patients were categorized as benign from the molecular test and safely avoided surgery. Of the surgical patients who received a suspicious molecular test result , cancer was found in 50% of those patients .

It is very rare that patients end up having cancer because of a false negative test. Still, it is UCLAs standard of care to have a safety net and follow every patient after molecular testing, regardless of their result. Those patients will get ultrasounds every 12 months to ensure that nodules do not grow or change in appearance.

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Symptoms That May Indicate Hypothyroidism

The Mayo Clinic sums this one up nicely: Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesnt produce enough of certain crucial hormones, they write. Hypothyroidism may not cause noticeable symptoms in the early stages. Over time, untreated hypothyroidism can cause a number of health problems, such as obesity, joint pain, infertility and heart disease. Accurate thyroid function tests are available to diagnose hypothyroidism. Treatment with synthetic thyroid hormone is usually simple, safe and effective once you and your doctor find the right dose for you. Here are the symptoms you might feel:

Whats The Treatment For A Thyroid Nodule

Even a benign growth on your thyroid gland can cause symptoms. If a thyroid nodule is causing voice or swallowing problems, your doctor may recommend treating it with surgery to remove all or part of the thyroid gland.

If the doctor recommends removal of your thyroid , you may not even have to worry about a scar on your neck. Some patients are good candidates for a scarless thyroid procedure, where the surgeon reaches the thyroid through an incision made on the inside of your lower lip.

A newer alternative that the doctor can use to treat benign nodules in an office setting is called radiofrequency ablation . Radiofrequency ablation uses a probe to access the benign nodule under ultrasound guidance, and then treats it with electrical current and heat that shrinks the nodule. Its simple: Most people treated with RFA are back to their normal activities the next day with no problems.

The Johns Hopkins; Thyroid and Parathyroid Center

Our thyroid experts in the head and neck endocrine surgery team diagnose and treat patients with a variety of thyroid and parathyroid conditions. Learn about what we offer at our center.

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How Is A Thyroid Nodule Evaluated And Diagnosed

Once the nodule is discovered, your doctor will try to determine whether the rest of your thyroid is healthy or whether the entire thyroid gland has been affected by a more general condition such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Your physician will feel the thyroid to see whether the entire gland is enlarged and whether a single or multiple nodules are present. The initial laboratory tests may include measurement of thyroid hormone and thyroid-stimulating hormone in your blood to determine whether your thyroid is functioning normally.

Since its usually not possible to determine whether a thyroid nodule is cancerous by physical examination and blood tests alone, the evaluation of the thyroid nodules often includes specialized tests such as thyroid ultrasonography and fine needle biopsy.

The report of a thyroid fine needle biopsy will usually indicate one of the following findings:

  • The nodule is benign .
    • This result is obtained in up to 80% of biopsies. The risk of overlooking a cancer when the biopsy is benign is generally less than 3 in 100 tests or 3%. This is even lower when the biopsy is reviewed by an experienced pathologist at a major medical center. Generally, benign thyroid nodules do not need to be removed unless they are causing symptoms like choking or difficulty swallowing. Follow up ultrasound exams are important. Occasionally, another biopsy may be required in the future, especially if the nodule grows over time.

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