Thyroid Disease Treatment- An Overview of the Available Options

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck and plays a crucial role in regulating the body’s growth, heart rate, metabolism, and development. Thyroid disease impacts the thyroid gland by causing it to produce too little or too many hormones. The most common thyroid conditions include Hyperthyroidism, Goiter, Hashimoto’s Disease, and Thyroid Nodules. The treatment of these conditions involves restoring the hormonal balance with drugs, surgery, or other thyroid treatments.

Hyperthyroidism/Graves’ Disease Treatments

Hyperthyroidism is a condition that occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much hormone due to an autoimmune condition called Graves’ disease. The treatment options to treat this condition include:

 

  • Radioactive Iodine Treatment – You will be given a tablet or liquid dosage of radioactive iodine, which destroys the cells of the thyroid gland, preventing them from manufacturing hormones.
  • Anti-thyroid medication – Your doctor may prescribe you medicines like Methimazole (Tapazole), which stop the thyroid from producing hormones. 
  • Surgery – Surgical removal of the thyroid gland may be recommended if there is a large goiter, a cancerous nodule, or if you are pregnant.

Thyroid Nodule Treatments

Treatment for a benign thyroid nodule may not be needed. Instead, the doctor will monitor it regularly with blood tests and ultrasounds. 

However, if the nodules are large or cancerous, they may need to be surgically removed. 
In some instances, when the nodules are manufacturing too much thyroid hormone, radioactive iodine is used to shrink the nodules and the thyroid gland.    

Thyroiditis Treatment

The most common forms of thyroiditis include Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, postpartum thyroiditis, subacute thyroiditis, and viral or medication-related thyroiditis. 

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is treated with the help of thyroid hormone replacement drugs.  Subacute thyroiditis, also known as De Quervain’s Thyroiditis, is treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, pain relievers, and adequate rest. Acute thyroiditis is also treated with anti-inflammatory medicines accompanied by thyroid hormone replacement drugs. 

Thyroid Cancer Treatment

Thyroidectomy, the surgical removal of either the entire thyroid gland or the cancerous tissue, is the most preferred way to address thyroid cancer. 

Radioactive Iodine treatment may be administered after a thyroidectomy to kill any remaining cancer cells. 

After the surgery, the doctor may prescribe you a lifelong dosage of thyroid hormone replacement medicine to keep your thyroid hormones in control and prevent thyroid cancer from recurring.

Hypothyroidism/Hashimoto’s Disease Treatment

Hypothyroidism usually occurs when the thyroid is underactive and doesn’t manufacture enough thyroid hormones to meet the body’s needs. To treat hypothyroidism, you will receive a lifelong prescription of thyroid hormone pills that give the body the required amount of thyroid hormone to function normally. 

These are some of the available treatments for thyroid disease. For more information on thyroid disease and its treatment, contact us at Far North Surgery.

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Dr. Madhu Prasad, M.D., FACS

Dr. Madhu Prasad has over 30+ years of experience working as a general surgeon and surgical oncologist and providing the highest level of care in Anchorage, Alaska. He believes in providing quality care to patients and their families. Inspired by compassion and humanism, Dr. Prasad and his team work for the well-being of their patients.

Alaska Cancer Treatment Center


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