Hyperthyroidism is generally treated with radioactive iodine, antithyroid medicine or in some cases, surgery, according to WebMD. Even if there are no symptoms, the hyperthyroidism should be treated, as it can lead to a more serious condition.
The treatment type will depend upon several factors, including the cause of hyperthyroidism, the amount of thyroid hormone the body is manufacturing and the age of the patient. If the patient is experiencing any other medical conditions, this will also affect which kinds of treatments are used.
Initially, hyperthyroidism is generally treated with radioactive iodine or antithyroid medicine. If several symptoms are present, antithyroid medicine generally works best. It is also the best choice if the patient is being treated for Grave's disease for the first time, if there is minimal thyroid gland swelling or if the patient is younger than 50. If the patient has thyroid nodules or is over 50, radioactive iodine therapy is often recommended. Radioactive iodine is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, or for patients with thyroiditis or other temporary types of hyperthyroidism.
In most cases, initial treatment does not involve surgery. If the thyroid gland is so enlarged as to make it hard to swallow or breathe, or if a single thyroid nodule is releasing an excess of hormone, surgery may be required. In certain cases, a thyroidectomy may be necessary to remove some or all of the thyroid gland.