Treating Thyroid Problems
Your doctor has diagnosed you with a thyroid problem. The doctor or thyroid specialist will work with you to create a treatment plan. Even if you don’t have symptoms, getting proper care is important. The most common types of treatment are covered here.
There is no cure for hypothyroidism. But treatment can relieve most or all of your symptoms. Treatment for hypothyroidism involves taking thyroid hormone pills daily.
Thyroid hormone pills replace the hormone your thyroid doesn’t make. Chances are, you will need to take a daily hormone pill for the rest of your life. Over time, your dosage may be adjusted. The medication has minimal side effects if the dosage is correct. However, if the dosage is too high, you may have hyperthyroid symptoms. If it is too low, you may have hypothyroid symptoms. Be sure to tell your doctor if you notice any symptoms of thyroid problems.
The three main treatments for hyperthyroidism may be used alone or in combination with beta-blockers (drugs that can reduce symptoms caused by too much thyroid hormone).
Antithyroid medication can reduce the amount of thyroid hormone made by the thyroid gland. Reactions from this medication are rare. Talk with your doctor for more information.
Radioiodine ablation is the most common treatment for hyperthyroidism. It involves taking a pill or liquid dose of radioactive iodine. This treatment destroys the thyroid cells that are making too much hormone. Radioiodine ablation may result in the need for daily thyroid hormone pills.
Surgery can be an effective treatment for hyperthyroidism. It involves removing part or all of the thyroid gland. After surgery, you may need to take daily thyroid hormone pills.
If you have benign nodules, you may not need treatment right away. Instead, your doctor may suggest regular exams and ultrasound tests to see if the nodules grow. If treatment is needed, it may include:
Surgery may be used to treat malignant nodules or those that grow or cause symptoms. Surgery involves removing part or all of your thyroid gland. It may be followed by radioiodine ablation. Afterward, you may need to take daily thyroid hormone pills.
Thyroid hormone pills may be used to help treat and prevent benign nodules. This treatment is less common than surgery. Side effects of these pills may include hyperthyroid symptoms, such as bone loss or heart problems.
Radioiodine Ablation: Things to Know
This is a very safe treatment. Your doctor will talk with you about any risks and possible complications. You will likely receive the iodine at the hospital and go home the same day. The risk from the radiation to yourself and others is very small. However, you may need to stay away from other people for several days. It is most important to avoid children and pregnant women during this time.