The thyroid gland plays an important role in regulating metabolism, or how the body processes food into energy. When the thyroid is underactive or overactive, problems can develop that affect your overall health and wellness. Sometimes, an early sign of a problem is a goiter or an abnormally large thyroid gland. Your doctor may feel it during a routine check-up and order blood work to determine the cause.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a goiter, or if you think you have one, it’s important to figure out the cause. This is because your treatment plan is based on the reason you have a goiter in the first place. If you live in Manhattan, you can get world-class goiter care from Dr. Vandana Kumra of ENT New York. She’s an ear, nose, and throat specialist who diagnoses and treats thyroid issues in our Central Park West office.
Treatment options for goiters
Your goiter treatment plan really depends on the cause, how big it is, and your symptoms.
Watch and wait
In the medical field, this is also called observation or surveillance. If the goiter is small and not bothering you, and if your thyroid is still working, it’s best to keep a watchful eye on it. Depending on your situation, you may be asked to come back in six or 12 months for a check-up.
If your thyroid is underactive, you may be put on levothyroxine to manage your symptoms.
If inflammation is causing the goiter, you may be prescribed a steroid.
If you have an overactive thyroid, other medication will be prescribed.
If a lack of iodine in your diet has led to the goiter, you may be put on supplements and asked to add some iodized salt to your food. The thyroid gland uses iodine to create thyroid hormones, so when you don’t have enough iodine, it could lead to a problem.
Radioactive iodine therapy
If you have an overactive thyroid, you may need to take radioactive iodine pills to kill the offending thyroid cells.
Biopsy and surgery
Sometimes, Dr. Kumra may need a sample of thyroid tissue to see if there are any cancer cells present. If cancer is causing your goiter and thyroid malfunction, she may remove part or all of your thyroid gland. If thyroid cells are killed, or if the thyroid is removed, you’ll have to take thyroid medication to replace it. The medication will help keep your body running smoothly for the rest of your life.
If you haven’t been feeling well and you can see or feel your thyroid gland in your throat, make an appointment to see Dr. Kumra. Request an appointment online or call 646-859-6136 today.