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Enlarged Thyroid Treatment

Enlarged Thyroid Treatment

Enlarged thyroid can either cause less or excess production of the thyroid hormone. So, treatment is aimed at restoring normal thyroid levels. The following HealthHearty article discusses ways to treat this thyroid condition.
Nicks J
Enlarged thyroid, also referred to as goiter is a condition in which the thyroid gland is swollen. The thyroid gland sits in the lower part of the neck and produces two hormones that maintain the normal metabolic rate and body temperature. A goiter can cause insufficient production of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism) or the gland may produce hormones in large amounts (hyperthyroidism). So, treatment will be given after diagnosing the thyroid condition.
Treatment
After examining the size of the goiter, the doctor will decide whether it is necessary to start the treatment. If the degree of enlargement is small then the production of thyroid hormone may deviate slightly from the normal levels. This is not a cause for worry and the condition does not demand treatment. When the enlargement is significant, it causes malfunctioning of the thyroid gland and the person is likely to suffer from bothersome symptoms of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
For Hypothyroidism
Oral medications are often recommended to deal with less production of thyroid hormones. As the thyroid gland is no longer in a position to supply sufficient amount of hormones, one has to provide it externally to restore normal thyroid levels. In order to overcome underactive thyroid gland, tablets containing synthetically prepared thyroid hormones are prescribed. So, to supply thyroid hormones through external sources the following oral medications are recommended:
  • Levothroid
  • Synthroid
For Hyperthyroidism
Medications that block excess production of the hormones are commonly prescribed to treat hyperthyroidism. These are anti-thyroid medications that are formulated to restrain an overactive thyroid gland. Following are the anti-thyroid medications:
  • Propylthiouracil
  • Methimazole
Radioactive Iodine
This is yet another prescription oral medication that is commonly administered to hyperthyroidism patients. Radioactive iodine decreases the size of the thyroid gland, thereby, alleviating the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
Surgery
When the degree of enlargement of the thyroid gland is abnormally high, it can interfere with normal breathing process. Trouble breathing and swallowing is an indication that inflammation of the thyroid gland is bothersome. To improve breathing the doctor is left with no option but to remove a portion of the thyroid gland. This surgical procedure is referred to as thyroidectomy and is used to eliminate a major part of the thyroid gland. However, with the removal of the thyroid gland, hormone levels may reduce drastically and in such cases the person has to take hypothyroidism medicines for the rest of his life.
Anti-inflammatory Medications
Whatever be the type of thyroid problem, the person usually suffers from inflammation of the thyroid gland. So, in order to reduce the swelling of the thyroid gland, the following anti-inflammatory medications are recommended:
  • Aspirin
  • Cortisone
  • Prednisone
A point to note here is that an enlarged thyroid does not necessarily mean that it is bound to cause trouble. It is usually recommended only when the symptoms are bothersome and causes difficulty swallowing and breathing.
Symptoms
The initial symptoms manifest in the form of fatigue, muscle aches, and weakness. Symptoms of goiter might not even occur if the inflammation is insignificant. When the swelling of the thyroid gland is substantial, the throat can get partially blocked. In such cases, it might not be easy to breathe or swallow food. In some cases, the inflammation of the thyroid is clearly noticeable upon examining the neck area. This condition gives an unusual feeling of lump in the neck area and the voice may also turn hoarse.
Formation of fluid-filled lumps (nodules) in the thyroid is primarily responsible for the occurrence of this thyroid problem. A closer examination of the thyroid nodule is done using biopsy or ultrasound to rule out the presence of cancerous lump.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.