Thyroid nodules represent solid or fluid-filled lumps that form within the thyroid gland, with most of them being not serious nor causing any symptoms. The prevalence of thyroid nodules is approximately 0.1% per year in the United States. Thyroid nodules have been discovered 4 times more common within women as compared with men.
Types of Thyroid Nodules
Thyroid hormones can be either benign or malignant. However, up to 90% of all cases of thyroid nodules are benign, failing to cause any symptoms or interfere with the patient’s life. Most thyroid nodules are discovered accidentally at a routine medical exam.
Causes of Thyroid Nodules
Symptoms of Thyroid Nodules
Most thyroid nodules do not cause any symptoms. Some thyroid nodules can be large enough so that they can be seen and felt. They can also press on the windpipe or esophagus, causing difficulty swallowing or breathing. In some cases, the thyroid nodules can lead to hyperthyroidism, stimulating the thyroid gland to produce more thyroxine then needed. In that case, the usual symptoms of hyperthyroidism are expected to develop, including:
- Weight loss;
- Heart palpitations;
- Sleep issues;
- Irregular heartbeat, etc.
Treatment of Thyroid Nodu Thyroid Nodules les
If the thyroid nodule is not malignant, and it does not cause any symptoms, then no treatment plan is required. The thyroid nodule will, however, be followed up in the future to register any potential changes. In case the thyroid nodule starts causing hyperthyroidism or is malignant, surgical removal will be done. There is also an option to use radioactive iodine to treat the thyroid nodule.