Symptomatic thyroid nodules cause aesthetic complaints and compression symptoms which, if not treated adequately, have a strong negative impact on quality of life.

 

Symptomatic thyroid nodules cause aesthetic complaints and compression symptoms which, if not treated adequately, have a strong negative impact on quality of life.

 

What is thyroid nodule disease?

thyroidThyroid nodules are one of the most common conditions of the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland which regulates many physiological functions, including metabolism, through the two hormones it produces – Thyroxine (T-4) and Triiodothyronine (T-3). Thyroid problems, quite common especially in women, are more frequent in areas low in iodine: that is why doctors recommend holidays by the sea from an early age, if possible, as it is rich in this substance that should not be lacking in our diet.
Specifically, the thyroid nodule is a rounded tumefaction that can be either single or multiple (in which case we are talking about multi-nodular goitre) and is one of the most common diseases of the thyroid. Thyroid nodules are a very common condition, especially in women and in older people; in fact, around 50% of the population will develop a thyroid nodule in their life, which, very often, goes undetected and does not cause any issues. The majority of thyroid nodules are not cancerous and do not significantly alter the function of the thyroid. Benign neoformations may be solid, cystic (full of liquid) or mixed. In general, they are small, to the point where, in many cases, thyroid nodules are completely asymptomatic and are discovered by chance; they can also measure several centimetres and cause compression problems with alterations to the appearance of the neck.

Symptoms

The majority of thyroid nodules are asymptomatic and are discovered by chance during routine examinations or tests for other symptoms. The majority of thyroid nodules are not cancerous and do not significantly alter the function of the thyroid.

In some cases, however, the nodules may grow in size to the point where they:

  • are visible externally, changing the appearance of the neck;
  • are detectable by palpation;
  • compress the airways or the oesophagus, causing trouble in swallowing, pain when moving the neck and deviation of the trachea.

In such cases, it is recommended to seek medical attention, to assess the possible therapeutic solutions for reducing the symptoms associated to the size and position of thyroid nodules.

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