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Symptoms and Signs of Thyroid Nodules

Doctor's Notes on Thyroid Nodules
(Thyroid Nodule)

The thyroid gland in the neck produces thyroid hormone, which is needed for normal growth and metabolism. Lumps called nodules may appear on the thyroid and may be either solid or fluid-filled. Thyroid nodules are more common as people age, and most are benign and not cancerous. A physician may detect a nodule during a physical exam, or they may be found during imaging such as on computed tomography (CT scan), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or ultrasound of the front of the neck.

Most of the time, thyroid nodules do not cause symptoms. When they do occur, symptoms of thyroid nodules may include a visible lump on the front of the neck, a rapidly growing lump on the front of the neck, a lump felt in the throat, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, other enlarged glands or lymph nodes in the neck, and in rare cases, pain.

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Thyroid Nodules
(Thyroid Nodule) Symptoms

Most people with thyroid nodules have no symptoms.

Individuals may notice the following:

  • A lump seen in the front of the neck
  • Rapidly growing lump in the front of the neck
  • A lump felt in the throat
  • Difficulty swallowing if the nodule is positioned such that food has difficulty traveling through the upper portion of the esophagus to the stomach
  • Hoarseness of the voice
  • Other enlarged glands or lymph nodes in the neck
  • Pain is only rarely associated with thyroid nodules

Nodules may be found:

Thyroid Nodules
(Thyroid Nodule) Causes

Causes of thyroid nodules can be classified as benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

Thyroid Problems Explained Slideshow

Thyroid Problems Explained Slideshow

It's hard to tell if you have thyroid abnormalities. You might feel run down and tired, or have what is known as "brain fog." You may be gaining weight, pregnant, or experiencing hair loss. Others may feel "hyper," anxious, or sweat a lot more than usual. All of these are common symptoms of thyroid disorders. The thyroid gland regulates many processes within the body, and women are particularly likely to have disorders that affect the function of this essential gland. Recognizing and treating these conditions is critical for optimum health and preventing long-term health problems.

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

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