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What Does Your Thyroid Do? 10 Important Functions You Should Know

You will see your childs endocrinologist and head and neck surgeon one week after surgery. Expect to have labs done to assess calcium levels. Thyroid function labs will be drawn four weeks after surgery. Depending on the pathology, additional imaging may be obtained to see if radioactive iodine is needed. Some types of thyroid cancer will require regular blood work screening and scheduled ultrasounds.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/30/2018.


Who Is At Risk For Thyroid Cancer

About three times as many women get thyroid cancer as men. The number of women with thyroid cancer is also going up. By 2020, the number of women with thyroid cancer is expected to double, from 34,000 women to more than 70,000 women.9

Thyroid cancer is more common in women who:10

  • Are between the ages of 25 and 65
  • Had radiation therapy to the head or neck, especially in childhood, to treat cancer
  • Have a history of goiter
  • Have a family history of thyroid cancer

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.

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When Tsh Alone Is Not Enough

During diagnosis, most healthcare providers use the TSH test to evaluate thyroid function and determine the optimal course of treatment. There are times, however, when knowing one’s TSH may be insufficient.

For instance, free T4 in addition to TSH is usually tested if a healthcare provider suspects thyroid dysfunction due to disease of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus.

Likewise, if the TSH is normal, but a person still has symptoms of being hyperthyroid or hypothyroid, free T4 may be checked.

TSH is also not necessarily sufficient to monitor hypothyroidism during pregnancy T4 and free T4 are often recommended.

Depending on the clinical situation, other thyroid tests that may be done include , free T3, reverse T3, and thyroid antibody tests.

S To Take If You Had Your Thyroid Removed Or Ablated

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Are there steps you can take to feel better if you had your thyroid removed or if you had it ablated? While youll definitely need to be on medications, there are still so many things you can do to support the other parts of your endocrine system, support detoxification, reduce symptoms and feel better!

What happens when you dont have a thyroid or your thyroid doesnt produce hormones :

While there are many various kinds of thyroid hormones, the two main thyroid hormones to be aware of that your body now cant make are fT4 and fT3. fT4 is produced by the thyroid and then most of it is sent to the liver to be converted into fT3.

When the thyroid has been ablated or removed, its imperative that you talk to your doctor about the correct dose of t4 and t3 medications so that your body has these two essential hormones.

There are some thyroid hormones and other thyroid levels that you can influence with your diet and lifestyle.

Here are some examples:

TSH TSH is a pituitary hormone, and while it does rely on feedback from fT4, you can also help keep it in balance by taking steps to balance your adrenals . Nine times out of ten, when TSH is elevated its from an imbalance in the adrenals. And, if its elevated, its either from an imbalance in the adrenals and/or toxicity somewhere in the body.

TPOab TPO antibodies are an immune system issue, not a thyroid issue. Thankfully, there are dozens of things you can do to improve antibodies!

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How Is Thyroid Pain Treated

To treat thyroid pain, youll need to treat the thyroid condition. Thyroid cancers are usually very treatable and can usually be taken care of with surgery alone. In fact, this surgery is regularly done on an outpatient basis.

If you have acute thyroiditis, it can be treated with antibiotics and/or anti-inflammatory medicine, CEENTA ENT doctorMichael Sicard, MD, said. Surgery is sometimes required to remove the infected part of the thyroid, too. Chronic thyroiditis will need lifelong thyroid treatments.

If you have thyroid pain, dont hesitate to see a doctor. Theyll work to ensure your thyroid is healthy and help ease your discomfort.

This blog is forinformational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consultyour physician. Dr. Sicard practices in our Matthews office. Do you need to make an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat doctor? Call 704-295-3000. You can also schedule an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.

What To Know About Common And Less

Finding out you need thyroid surgery can be stressful and even scary. The surgery may be recommended because you have thyroid cancer, or it may be done to treat hyperthyroidism , an enlarged thyroid , or thyroid nodules.

Partial or total removal of the thyroid gland is known as a thyroidectomy. If one of the two lobes of the butterfly-shaped gland is taken out, its called a partial or hemi-thyroidectomy. If the entire organ is taken out, its a total thyroidectomy.

The good news is that thyroidectomies are quite commonmore than 150,000 are performed in the U.S. each yearand the procedure is relatively safe. Still, as with any surgery, there can be complications.

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How Can I Prevent Thyroid Cancer

As most cases of thyroid cancers are not associated with any risk factors, there is no method to prevent the development of thyroid cancer. Careful examination of the thyroid and consideration of screening for patients at high risk could be considered. In addition, it is important that the thyroid is shielded in children who undergo diagnostic X-ray procedures, including dental X-rays. If you have a family history of thyroid cancer, be sure to notify your primary care provider. Preventive screening in families with a strong FNMTC history can be helpful in early detection and treatment.

How The Body Adjusts Thyroid Hormones

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The body has a complex mechanism for adjusting the level of thyroid hormones. First, the hypothalamus, located just above the pituitary gland in the brain, secretes thyrotropin-releasing hormone, which causes the pituitary gland to produce thyroid-stimulating hormone . Just as the name suggests, TSH stimulates the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones. The pituitary gland slows or speeds the release of TSH, depending on whether the levels of thyroid hormones circulating in the blood are getting too high or too low.

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Wound Infection May Be A Possibility On Removal Of Thyroid

Though unusual in most cases, yet there may be wound infection after the thyroid removal surgery. It is essential to prevent any infection once you are at home after the surgery. Below are some of the things you need to keep a note after the surgery so as to prevent self from wound infection.

  • Leave you dressings in place unless your doctor tells to remove them
  • Keep your neck wound clean and dry till it gets totally healed.
  • Do not go swimming till your wound is healed completely
  • Do not put pressure on the wound.

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Approach To The Thyroid Gland

Before any thyroid surgery, any voice changes or previous neck surgery should prompt assessment of vocal cord mobility by indirect mirror or flexible fiberoptic laryngoscopy. Although many patients with thyroid carcinomas are euthyroid, necessary medical therapy should be instituted for patients with thyrotoxicosis or hypothyroidism to avoid intraoperative metabolic derangements, such as hypertensive crisis. Details of this management are beyond the scope of this chapter, but management should include consultation with an endocrinologist.

The patient should be positioned supine on the operating table with an inflatable pillow or shoulder roll and adequate head support to permit neck extension for optimal exposure. A symmetric transverse incision along a skin crease approximately 1cm below the cricoid cartilage is made through the platysma. The length of the incision depends on the size of the thyroid gland. Larger incisions are necessary for patients with short, thick necks difficulty with neck extension or a low-lying thyroid gland. Subplatysmal skin flaps are raised superiorly to the level of the thyroid cartilage notch and inferiorly to the clavicle.

Roy E. Weiss, Samuel Refetoff, in, 2009

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Can I Check My Thyroid At Home

You can do a quick and easy self-exam of your thyroid at home. The only tools you need to do this self-exam are a mirror and a glass of water.

To do the thyroid self-exam, follow these steps:

  • Start by identifying where your thyroid is located. Generally, youll find the thyroid on the front of your neck, between your collar bone and Adams apple. In men, the Adams apple is much easier to see. For women, its usually easiest to look from the collar bone up.
  • Tip your head back while looking in a mirror. Look at your neck and try to hone in on the space you will be looking once you start the exam.
  • Once youre ready, take a drink of water while your head is tilted back. Watch your thyroid as you swallow. During this test, youre looking for lumps or bumps. You may be able to see them when you swallow the water.

Repeat this test a few times to get a good look at your thyroid. If you see any lumps or bumps, reach out to your healthcare provider.

Graves Disease Diagnosis And Treatment

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A simple physical exam can reveal an enlarged thyroid, enlarged bulging eyes, and signs of increased metabolism, including rapid pulse and high blood pressure. Your doctor will also order blood tests to check for high levels of T4 and low levels of TSH, both of which are signs of Graves disease. A radioactive iodine uptake test might also be administered to measure how quickly your thyroid takes up iodine. A high uptake of iodine is consistent with Graves disease.

Theres no treatment to stop the immune system from attacking the thyroid gland and causing it to overproduce hormones. However, the symptoms of Graves disease can be controlled in several ways, often with a combination of treatments:

  • beta-blockers to control rapid heart rate, anxiety, and sweating
  • antithyroid medications to prevent your thyroid from producing excessive amounts of hormone
  • radioactive iodine to destroy all or part of your thyroid
  • surgery to remove your thyroid gland, a permanent option if you cant tolerate antithyroid drugs or radioactive iodine

Successful hyperthyroidism treatment usually results in hypothyroidism. Youll have to take hormone-replacement medication from that point forward. Graves disease can lead to heart problems and brittle bones if its left untreated.

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How Do I Prepare For My Thyroidectomy

You are an important member of your own healthcare team. The steps you take before surgery can improve your comfort and outcome.

You can prepare for a thyroidectomy by:

  • Answering all questions about your medical history and medications. This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, herbal treatments, and vitamins. It is a good idea to carry a current list of your medical conditions, medications, and allergies at all times.

  • Getting preoperative testing as directed. Testing varies depending on your age, health, and specific procedure. Preoperative testing may include a , other imaging studies, a fine-needle biopsy, a swallow study, , flexible laryngoscopy , blood tests, and other tests as needed.

  • Losing excess weight before the surgery through a healthy diet and exercise plan

  • Not eating or drinking before surgery as directed. Your surgery may be cancelled if you eat or drink too close to the start of surgery because you can choke on stomach contents during anesthesia.

  • Stopping as soon as possible. Even quitting for just a few days can be beneficial and help the healing process.

  • Taking or stopping medications exactly as directed. This may include not taking aspirin, ibuprofen , and blood thinners. You may also need to take thyroid medications or iodine treatments for a couple of weeks before your thyroidectomy.

Questions to ask your doctor

It is also a good idea to bring a list of questions to your appointments. Questions can include:

How Are Thyroid Nodules Treated

Treatment depends on the type of thyroid nodule. Treatment options include:

  • No treatment/”watchful waiting.” If the nodules are not cancerous, you and your doctor may decide that you dont need to be treated at this time. You will see your doctor on a regular basis so he or she can watch for any changes in the nodules.
  • Radioactive iodine. Your doctor may use radioactive iodine to treat hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules and goiters with several nodules. The radioactive iodine is absorbed into the thyroid gland, causing the nodules to shrink. Pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant should not have this treatment.
  • Surgery. Surgery to take out the nodules is the best treatment for nodules that are cancerous, cause “obstructive symptoms” , and are suspicious .

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How Long Does It Take To Recover From Thyroid Surgery

It will take your body a few weeks to recover after your thyroid is surgically removed . During this time you should avoid a few things, including:

  • Submerging your incision under water.
  • Lifting an object thats heavier than 15 pounds.
  • Doing more than light exercise.

This generally lasts for about two weeks. After that, you can return to your normal activities.

Treatment Options & What To Do Next

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Treating thyroid pain should focus on identifying and diagnosing the underlying cause.

Each treatment, for the conditions listed above, may be different.

Some conditions, such as postpartum thyroiditis and subacute thyroiditis, may go away on their own with time and simple anti-inflammatory medications.

On the other hand, some conditions, such as thyroid cancer and Hashimotos thyroiditis, are not likely to go away without serious treatment or intervention.

In most cases, you will probably need to take something to cool off the inflammation in your thyroid gland to help reduce the pain.

Its important to note that the treatment for thyroid pain will probably not alter the other symptoms that we discussed previously.

Treating these symptoms may require thyroid hormone medication or other medications to temporarily blunt thyroid hormone.

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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism

Symptoms of hypothyroidism develop slowly, often over several years. At first, you may feel tired and sluggish. Later, you may develop other signs and symptoms of a slowed-down metabolism, including:

  • Feeling cold when other people do not
  • Constipation
  • A hoarse voice
  • More than usual menstrual bleeding

You also may have high LDL or “bad” cholesterol, which can raise your risk for heart disease.

What Happens To Your Body After Thyroid Is Removed

Today, many people are facing thyroid problems due to which they are gaining weight, losing hair and are not able to conceive. This is a tinier gland that is in the shape of a butterfly which sits on the front side of the neck.

This gland can be removed through the surgical procedure. In the whole process, either the entire part is removed or the thyroid. The thyroid plays a critical role in proper functioning of the body. It is the hormone that is spread across and would regulate the metabolism rate and temperature. This promotes proper digestion and helps in maintaining the muscle health.

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Heavy Or Irregular Periods

Both irregular and heavy menstrual bleeding are linked to hypothyroidism.

One study showed that about 40% of women with low thyroid hormone experienced increasing menstrual irregularity or heavy bleeding in the last year, compared to 26% of women with normal thyroid levels .

In another study, 30% of women with hypothyroidism had irregular and heavy periods. These women had been diagnosed with hypothyroidism after other symptoms had caused them to get tested .

Thyroid hormone interacts with other hormones that control the menstrual cycle, and abnormal levels of it can disrupt their signals. Also, thyroid hormone directly affects the ovaries and uterus.

There are several problems besides hypothyroidism that can cause heavy or irregular periods. If you have irregular or heavy periods that disrupt your lifestyle, consider talking with a gynecologist before worrying about your thyroid.

Summary: Heavy periods or irregular cycles that are worse than usual could be caused by a medical condition, including hypothyroidism. Its best to talk to a gynecologist about them.

Treatments For An Overactive Thyroid

The long

An overactive thyroid is usually treatable.

The main treatments are:

  • medicine that stops your thyroid producing too much of the thyroid hormones
  • radioiodine treatment where a type of radiotherapy is used to destroy cells in the thyroid, reducing its ability to produce thyroid hormones
  • surgery to remove some or all of your thyroid, so that it no longer produces thyroid hormones

Each of these treatments has benefits and drawbacks. You’ll usually see a specialist in hormonal conditions to discuss which treatment is best for you.

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