Thyroid nodules are small, fluid, or solid-filled lumps that form in the gland located above your breastbone at the base of your neck, otherwise called your thyroid. Thyroid nodules are relatively common, appearing in about 75 percent of people, but are rarely detected because they are usually asymptomatic. However, when they grow, these nodules can cause troubling symptoms. They can compromise your ability to swallow or breathe or alter your appearance. When this happens, it is recommended that you seek Newport beach thyroid rfa treatments. Your doctor will likely diagnose your thyroid nodules as being caused by one of the following conditions.
Doctors and patients that find thyroid nodules are initially and primarily concerned about thyroid cancer. In fact, the first tests are usually done to determine if the growths are benign or cancerous. Fortunately, only 6.5 percent of thyroid nodules contain cancer, so the risk is low. But you should see your doctor if your nodules are hard and large and cause discomfort or pain. You should also schedule a consultation if you were previously exposed to radiation or have a family history of thyroid cancer.
Normal Thyroid Tissue Overgrowth
In some cases, a thyroid nodule is the result of overgrown normal thyroid tissue. This condition is called thyroid adenoma, and medical experts are unclear on why it happens. Fortunately, it is benign and is often not considered a medical emergency unless the growths are large enough to cause disruptive symptoms. That said, some thyroid adenomas can increase your risk of hyperthyroidism, which requires treatment as it can have serious medical implications.
Chronic Thyroid Inflammation
Thyroid nodules can also indicate chronic thyroid inflammation. This is commonly seen in a thyroid disorder called Hashimoto’s disease, which often causes enlarged nodules. Like thyroid adenoma, Hashimoto’s disease is associated with hypothyroidism. This is because the enlarged nodules tend to produce extra thyroid hormones. They may or may not be painful.
Goiter refers to any thyroid gland enlargement. It can be caused by a thyroid disorder or iodine deficiency. When you do not consume sufficient iodine, your body may react by developing thyroid nodules. This type of goiter is less common in the US because iodine is routinely added to some foods and table salt. However, you can develop a multinodular goiter whose cause is unclear. This goiter often contains several nodules within it, most of them benign.
Thyroid adenomas can degenerate over time. As they do, they may leave behind thyroid cysts or fluid-filled cavities. Thyroid cysts often contain some solid components and are usually benign. However, sometimes, the components are cancerous. Your doctor may order a biopsy if the cysts grow larger than 2 centimeters.
How Are Thyroid Nodules Treated?
Once your doctor diagnoses the cause of your thyroid nodules, they will prescribe treatment. Your medical team’s approach will depend on the cause and type of nodule. In some cases, you only need to be put under observation, which involves waiting, watching for symptoms, and regular checkups. In other cases, you may need surgery, medication, or more proactive treatments like radiofrequency ablation (RFA). RFA is a nonsurgical treatment that uses radio frequency waves to shrink benign thyroid nodules through heat. Call a provider today to find out if you are an ideal candidate.