What Is A Goiter
A goiter is an unusually enlarged thyroid gland. It may happen only for a short time and may go away on its own without treatment. Or it could be a symptom of another thyroid disease that requires treatment. goiter is more common in women than in men and especially in women before menopause.6
Some common causes of goiter include:
Usually, the only symptom of a goiter is a swelling in your neck. It may be large enough that you can see it or feel the lump with your hand. A very large goiter can also cause a tight feeling in your throat, coughing, or problems swallowing or breathing.
Your doctor will do tests to see if it is caused by another thyroid disease.
Adjusting Your Diet And Your Lifestyle
Can Thyroid Disease Cause Problems Getting Pregnant
Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can make it harder for you to get pregnant. This is because problems with the thyroid hormone can upset the balance of the hormones that cause ovulation. Hypothyroidism can also cause your body to make more prolactin, the hormone that tells your body to make breastmilk. Too much prolactin can prevent ovulation.
Thyroid problems can also affect the menstrual cycle. Your periods may be heavier or irregular, or you may not have any periods at all for several months or longer .
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Symptoms Of Thyroid Problems & Remedies That Help
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in your throat, just behind your Adams apple. Because it serves as the bodys thermostat continuously regulating things like temperature, hunger levels and energy expenditure thyroid problems can cause widespread symptoms.
According to the National Womens Health Information Center, there are roughly 20 million Americans suffering from some type of thyroid disorder . Surprisingly, its estimated that more than half of those in the world suffering with thyroid issues are completely unaware this is the root of their problems, including weight gain or fatigue.
The American Thyroid Association reports that a whopping one in eight women in the United States is impacted by a thyroid disorder at some point during her lifetime. Are you currently one of them, and if so, what can you do to protect your condition from worsening? Below youll learn about natural remedies for thyroid disease or other thyroid problems, including the types of foods that keep symptoms under control, ways to manage stress and supplements that might help reverse the condition.
Find Other Ways To Be Intimate
You may not think having an underactive thyroid will affect your sexual relationship with your partner, but it might. Fatigue and tiredness can lead to a lower sex drive and a lower libido.
But dont automatically assume that your quest for intimacy is out of the picture. This is simply a chance for you and your partner to find other ways to be intimate. Cuddle together while watching your favorite movie, hold hands while youre shopping, or give each other a relaxing massage with fragrant oils and creams. With time, and with the proper treatment, youll likely see your drive and libido level return to normal.
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Surgical Removal Of Part Or All Of The Thyroid
When surgeons remove part of the thyroid, the remaining part may produce normal amounts of thyroid hormone. But some people who have this surgery may develop hypothyroidism. Removing the entire thyroid always results in hypothyroidism.
Surgeons may remove part or all of the thyroid as a treatment for
- thyroid nodules, which are noncancerous tumors or lumps in the thyroid that can produce too much thyroid hormone
- small thyroid cancers
Thyroidectomy Recovery Stories From 3 Different Patients
The thyroid cancer patient in your life will also require a lifetime of medical treatment for the resulting hypothyroidism, along with periodic and sometimes physically challenging follow-ups and scans to monitor for a recurrence of the thyroid cancer.
These are just a few of the conditions that can affect thyroid patients. There are autoimmune diseases such as Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis that can be at the root of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Sometimes people develop a goiter, an enlarged thyroid, or benign nodules that cause symptoms. Sometimes a temporary infection causes thyroiditis. And again, these problems can be difficult to pinpoint, misdiagnosed as everything under the sun except a thyroid condition, and even when diagnosed, poorly treated.
So what many thyroid patients have in common is living in a world that overlooks, downplays, poorly treats, and sometimes even makes fun of, their condition.
Magazine articles, books by doctors, patients brochures in doctors offices, and many doctors themselves insist simplistically that thyroid disease is “easy to diagnose, and easy to treat” even though patients know that this is far from the truth. As for “easy to diagnose,” your loved one may have struggled to get diagnosed, or be taken seriously in the first place. Doctors regularly misdiagnose hyperthyroid patients as having an eating or anxiety disorder, and hypothyroid patients as having stress, depression, PMS, or menopause.
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What Other Problems Can Hypothyroidism Cause
Hypothyroidism can contribute to high cholesterol. In rare cases, untreated hypothyroidism can cause myxedema coma. This is a condition in which your body’s functions slow down to the point that it becomes life-threatening.
What Causes Thyroid Problems When You Have Cancer
Thyroid problems have many causes. Thyroid problems can happen on their own, whether you have cancer or not. They are more common as you get older. However, thyroid problems are also a common side effect of certain types of cancer and cancer treatment.
The types of cancer and cancer treatment that raise your risk of thyroid problems include:
Thyroid cancer. Removing part or all of the thyroid gland is the main treatment for this type of cancer. This causes thyroid hormone levels to drop. The hormones are replaced with medication.
Radiation therapy to the head, neck, or upper spine. This is one of the most common causes of thyroid problems after cancer treatment. Whole-body radiation can also cause thyroid problems.
Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy, especially in high doses before a bone marrow transplant , can cause thyroid problems.
Targeted therapy. Targeted therapy is a treatment that affects specific biomarkers in the cancer. Treatments called tyrosine kinase inhibitors, or TKIs, are an example of targeted therapies that can affect your thyroid gland. This includes the drugs sunitinib , sorafenib , imatinib , nilotinib and others.
Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a treatment that boosts your body’s natural defenses to fight cancer. Some immunotherapy treatments can affect your thyroid. Interferon-alpha is an example of an immunotherapy drug that may lower thyroid functioning.
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How Is Thyroid Disease Treated
Your healthcare providers goal is to return your thyroid hormone levels to normal. This can be done in a variety of ways and each specific treatment will depend on the cause of your thyroid condition.
If you have high levels of thyroid hormones , treatment options can include:
- Anti-thyroid drugs : These are medications that stop your thyroid from making hormones.
- Radioactive iodine: This treatment damages the cells of your thyroid, preventing it from making high levels of thyroid hormones.
- Beta blockers: These medications dont change the amount of hormones in your body, but they help control your symptoms.
- Surgery: A more permanent form of treatment, your healthcare provider may surgically remove your thyroid . This will stop it from creating hormones. However, you will need to take thyroid replacement hormones for the rest of your life.
If you have low levels of thyroid hormones , the main treatment option is:
- Thyroid replacement medication: This drug is a synthetic way to add thyroid hormones back into your body. One drug thats commonly used is called levothyroxine. By using a medication, you can control thyroid disease and live a normal life.
What Does The Thyroid Do
Your thyroid has an important job to do within your body releasing and controlling thyroid hormones that control metabolism. Metabolism is a process where the food you take into your body is transformed into energy. This energy is used throughout your entire body to keep many of your bodys systems working correctly. Think of your metabolism as a generator. It takes in raw energy and uses it to power something bigger.
The thyroid controls your metabolism with a few specific hormones T4 and T3 . These two hormones are created by the thyroid and they tell the bodys cells how much energy to use. When your thyroid works properly, it will maintain the right amount of hormones to keep your metabolism working at the right rate. As the hormones are used, the thyroid creates replacements.
This is all supervised by something called the pituitary gland. Located in the center of the skull, below your brain, the pituitary gland monitors and controls the amount of thyroid hormones in your bloodstream. When the pituitary gland senses a lack of thyroid hormones or a high level of hormones in your body, it will adjust the amounts with its own hormone. This hormone is called thyroid stimulating hormone . The TSH will be sent to the thyroid and it will tell the thyroid what needs to be done to get the body back to normal.
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Supplements And Thyroid Health: What To Know
Depending on the type of disease, thyroid conditions are typically treated with medications like thyroid hormone replacement, surgery, and other procedures, such as radiation therapy for thyroid cancer.
In addition to conventional treatments for thyroid conditions, research shows that dietary interventions, including supplements, may help treat certain thyroid diseases.
However, certain supplements may do more harm than good when it comes to thyroid health.
This article explains how supplements may help certain people with thyroid-related health conditions.
Supplements For Graves Disease
Graves disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism in the United States. Like Hashimotos disease, its considered an autoimmune condition.
In Graves disease, the immune system attacks your thyroid, causing it to overproduce thyroid hormones. Graves disease can also lead to thyromegaly or an enlarged thyroid .
Symptoms associated with Graves disease include weight loss, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, diarrhea, eye pain and irritation, fatigue, weakness, menstrual irregularities, insomnia, nervousness, and more (
Like Hashimotos disease, some research shows that dietary modifications may help improve symptoms and quality of life in people with Graves disease .
The following supplements may help people with Graves disease:
- Selenium. Selenium deficiency can raise your risk of Graves disease. A review found selenium supplements in daily dosages of 100300 mcg led to improved thyroid function at 6 months in people with Graves disease, but this effect was lost at 9 months .
- Vitamin D. Research shows that people with Graves disease are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D than the general population. Correcting deficiency by taking a supplement may improve thyroid function (
The best way to determine the best supplement regimen for your specific needs is to consult your healthcare provider.
As mentioned above, its best to avoid thyroid-specific supplement blends unless theyre specifically recommended by your healthcare provider.
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Questions To Ask The Health Care Team
Consider asking the following questions:
Do I have an increased risk of thyroid problems, due to the cancer or its treatment? For other reasons?
How will my thyroid function be checked? How often?
What can be done to prevent thyroid problems before cancer treatment begins?
What signs or symptoms should I watch for?
Who should I call if I have any signs of a thyroid problem?
Why is it important to treat thyroid problems?
What is the treatment for my thyroid problem?
Should I Exercise If I Have A Thyroid Disease
Regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. You do not need to change your exercise routine if you have a thyroid disease. Exercise does not drain your bodys thyroid hormones and it shouldnt hurt you to exercise. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider before you start a new exercise routine to make sure that its a good fit for you.
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Get Celiac Disease Diagnosed And Treated
Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that causes your intestines to react abnormally to gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, oats, and other related grains.
Celiac disease is three times more common in people with an autoimmune thyroid disease like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease.
It’s unclear why this association exists. It may be due in part to the genetic component of autoimmune diseases. Both conditions are also fairly common. Celiac disease also interferes with absorption of essential minerals like iodine and selenium, which can trigger thyroid dysfunction.
Some studies show that a low-gluten diet may help people with Hashimoto’s disease prevent potential complications, and possibly even the progression of the condition.
If you think you might have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, talk to your doctor.
Limiting or avoiding gluten is a big dietary change. It’s important to only make these kinds of changes under the guidance of a healthcare provider.
What To Think About
People who have hypothyroidism need treatment with thyroid hormone medicine. Depending on the cause of their hypothyroidism, they may need treatment for the rest of their lives.
Taking certain supplements, such as calcium or iron , at the same time as thyroid hormone medicine may reduce the amount of thyroid hormone medicine absorbed by the body. Take calcium supplements at least 4 hours before or after taking thyroid hormone medicine. Also avoid taking iron supplements at the same time as thyroid medicine.
Talk to your doctor about whether you need to change your dose of thyroid medicine if you also take birth control pills or other hormones. You may need to take more thyroid hormone medicine than you would if you were not taking these hormones.
Follow-up visits with your doctor are important to make sure that you are taking the correct dose of medicine. Most people have blood tests 6 to 8 weeks after starting treatment. After thyroid hormone levels return to normal, thyroid function tests are typically rechecked once a year.
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What Type Of Thyroid Problems Are There
The main types of thyroid problems are:
- Hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid is overactive and makes too much thyroid hormone. The most common symptoms of hyperthyroidism are feeling anxious or nervous, being unable to tolerate heat, having heart palpitations, feeling tired and losing weight, even if youre eating the same amount of food. Hyperthyroidism is sometimes called thyrotoxicosis.
- Hypothyroidism this is when the thyroid is underactive and does not make enough thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism can go on for years without showing any signs. When symptoms do appear, they can be quite varied and can include fatigue, being unable to tolerate the cold, constipation, dry skin, weight gain, poor memory and depression.
- Thyroid cancer this is when some of the thyroid cells become cancerous. Thyroid cancer is more common in women than in men and is usually diagnosed in peoples fifties. It can usually be treated successfully.
Other thyroid problems include nodules that grow in the thyroid, an inflamed thyroid, and an enlarged thyroid . These conditions may lead to either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
Because the thyroid gland plays an important role in controlling many of the bodys functions, serious health problems can result when it is not functioning as it should. If you think you may have a thyroid problem, its important to see your doctor.
Can Hypothyroidism Be Prevented
Hypothyroidism cannot be prevented. The best way to prevent developing a serious form of the condition or having the symptoms impact your life in a serious way is to watch for signs of hypothyroidism. If you experience any of the symptoms of hypothyroidism, the best thing to do is talk to your healthcare provider. Hypothyroidism is very manageable if you catch it early and begin treatment.
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