After doing a battery of tests, you discovered a thyroid nodule. At first, it’s normal to be scared, without fully understanding the impact that this discovery can have on your routine and your family’s life. But, the important thing is not to neglect this fact and follow up with a specialist in the subject, such as an endocrinologist, to understand the severity, possible causes and start the ideal treatment for this condition.
A thyroid nodule, in the vast majority of cases, does not cause symptoms and, in general, is only identified when the person notices an increase in the cervical region, in a routine consultation when the doctor examines the gland or when an image examination of the thyroid is performed. thyroid. Rarely, when the nodules are very large, there may be symptoms such as pain when swallowing, hoarseness and changes in the tone of voice and cough. But, in addition, is it possible that this problem causes some kind of important hormonal change? Does this change trigger other symptoms? To clear up these doubts, we talked to endocrinologist Daniele Zaninelli. Check out!
What are thyroid nodules?
Thyroid nodules are lesions in the form of balls or lumps that can appear inside the thyroid gland, located in the neck and responsible for producing T3 and T4 hormones – they act in metabolism and are fundamental to the body! “When they are more voluminous, they can be visible in the anterior region of the neck. The most common nodules are found during palpation of the region or when performing an imaging test, such as an ultrasound”, clarified the doctor.
What are the causes of thyroid nodule?
The cause of most thyroid nodules is not known, but according to the endocrinologist, there are some possibilities: “There may be a genetic component that is often found in individuals of the same family. Dietary iodine deficiency also becomes a factor, as does the overweight”. Not to mention, with advancing age, thyroid nodules become even more common.
Can a thyroid nodule cause worrying hormonal changes? See how to handle this issue
In general, thyroid nodules do not cause hormonal dysfunction. According to Dr. Danielle, in some circumstances, they can be associated with decreased production of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism), or “they can produce thyroid hormones in excessive amounts, leading to hyperthyroidism. In these cases, treatment may require surgery, indication of radioactive iodine or the use of medication”, concluded the doctor.
Hypothyroidism is the condition where T3 and T4 hormones are produced in low quantity. It is more common among women and can cause depression, memory problems, changes in menstruation and excessive fatigue, for example. Hyperthyroidism is the excess production of these hormones, causing trembling, anxiety, eye sensitivity, insomnialoss of weight and appetite.
What is the normal size of a thyroid nodule? Can it be cause for concern?
According to the doctor. Daniele, more important than the size of a thyroid nodule are the characteristics shown in the results of the ultrasound exam: “Everything can vary depending on its aspect associated with the size. In addition, the endocrinologist can indicate from a simple observation to performing a puncture to determine whether the nature of the nodule is benign (which occurs in 95% of cases) or malignant”.
The patient’s clinical characteristics should also be taken into account, such as age at diagnosis, growth rate and associated symptoms: “Voice changes and difficulty swallowing or breathing may indicate the presence of a more invasive lesion”, warned the specialist. Other risk factors for a malignant lesion are being male, being younger than 18 or older than 70, and having a family history of thyroid cancer.
So, if you suspect something, be sure to see a doctor to assess the condition!