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How are thyroid nodules treated?

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Quick Answer

Treatments for thyroid nodules include surgery, radioactive iodine therapy, medications that suppress activity of the thyroid and synthetic thyroid hormone therapy, depending on the type of the nodule, according to Mayo Clinic. Thyroid nodules can be benign, cancerous or overproduce thyroxine.

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Full Answer

A benign thyroid nodule that does not fluctuate with time requires no treatment, explains Mayo Clinic. Treating a nodule with synthetic thyroxine, including Synthroid, may help increase the levels of thyroid hormone, thus inhibiting the pituitary from producing excessive TSH, which is a hormone that promotes thyroid tissue growth. However, it is not yet clear whether the therapy shrinks nodules completely. In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to remove noncancerous nodules that are big enough to cause difficulty swallowing or breathing.

Surgery that involves removing nearly the entire thyroid is the only treatment option for cancerous nodules, according to Mayo Clinic. The surgery may damage glands that keep the levels of calcium in the blood under control and nerves that control the vocal cord.

Radioactive iodine, which can be taken as a capsule or liquid, may help suppress overactive adenomas or multinodular goiters, hence shrinking the nodules and reducing the symptoms of an overactive thyroid. Methimazole is a medicine that aids in treating hyperthyroidism. Surgical removal of the thyroid may be necessary it radioactive iodine and anti-thyroid medications fail to reverse the problem.

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