Side effects of thyroid lesions, or nodules, may include lumps or swelling at the base of the neck, difficulty swallowing or shortness of breath, according to Mayo Clinic. However, thyroid nodules do not usually cause symptoms. Sometimes those with thyroid nodules experience hyperthyroidism symptoms.
Some individuals with thyroid nodules experience hyperthyroidism symptoms because the nodules produce additional thyroxine, explains Mayo Clinic. These hyperthyroidism symptoms can include nervousness, irregular or rapid heartbeat, heat intolerance, nervousness or unexplained weight loss. Additional hyperthyroidism symptoms include irritability, muscle weakness and difficulty sleeping. Occasionally, thyroid nodules are cancerous. Cancerous nodules generally do not have symptoms that differentiate them from benign nodules, but they do tend to be large fixed masses that grow quickly.
Due to the possibility of thyroid nodules being cancerous, it is important to talk to a doctor if there are any abnormal symptoms, explains Mayo Clinic. These abnormal symptoms include unusual swelling in the neck, particularly that which causes difficulty swallowing or breathing. Medical care should also be sought if the patient experiences hyperthyroidism symptoms. A visit to the doctor typically entails various assessments to determine if the nodules are cancerous and if the thyroid is functioning correctly. Tests that may be performed include thyroid function tests, an ultrasonography, a thyroid scan, a physical exam and fine-needle aspiration biopsy.