The thyroid hormones provide the narrative for the various organs of the body to work at a scheduled pace and keep the metabolism in a tremendous shape. But, there are certain changes that can evoke a cause for concern. As such, this uncomplaining organ can have some small nodules in its belly and push a sense of alert once a person has come to know of it.
The bigger thyroid nodules can become apparent to oneself or the family members making a check-up mandatory. But, the nodules are generally small and are found only as a coincidence. They are usually found on a routine neck examination or doing a scan for any of the neck complaints like the parathyroid or diseases of the carotid blood vessels of the neck.
On palpation for a routine complaint like throat pain or cough too, your physician may get to touch them! But, more often than not, the nodules are less than 1mm and can escape being recognised. Once you are aware, there are nodules in the thyroid and there are some things that need to be ruled out.
i) There is always a fear of cancer whenever there is an unusual growth found in the body.
ii) Is it pressing on the surrounding structures of the neck?
iii) Is it affecting the function of the thyroid gland by producing too much hormone?
The first and foremost test would be a thyroid function test which will reveal the release of the two hormones, thyroxine and triiodothyronine commonly called T3 and T4. If the production of these is increased, it is likely to mark a suspicion on the nodule. Such a scenario would also show a decreased thyroid stimulating hormone or TSH.
The other test would be to perform an ultrasound scan and look for the consistency of the nodule and also if there are any swollen lymph nodes around the gland which could suggest infection in the gland and around, and also, sometimes, a cancerous tumour. If the swelling of the nodule is more than one inch, a fine needle is used to extricate cells from the nodule and a pathologist would check them under a microscope to see if there are any suspicious cells of cancer.
Now for the good news. Around 95% of the nodules are benign or harmless and mean no malice. Almost 30% of women are likely to have these nodules. Sometimes, the nodules are in the form of cysts or small islands of fluid in the gland which are are also harmless.
If the biopsy has ruled out cancer and the function of the gland has been found to be normal, there is no cause for concern. Sometimes, there could be a pressure on the surrounding structures. If the nodule is large, it could cause pressure on the oesophagus behind it and produce difficulty in swallowing. Another symptom is the constant feeling of lump or growth in the neck and one is constantly conscious of it.
It is imperative to keep observing the gland with an ultrasound scan at least once in a couple of years to see the change in the growth, if any. Otherwise, if the function of the gland is deficient, homoeopathic medicine has good remedies like Bromium, Spongia, Natrum iod, Kali iod, and thyroidinum., which can help spur the growth. If the gland seems to be running amok because of the overactive cells of the gland, remedies like Iodum, and Lycopodium calm down the issue. To continue to keep the nodules of the thyroid gland in peace, homoeopathic remedies are the best.