- Hyperthyroidism Slideshow Pictures
- Take the Thyroid Disorder Quiz
- Thyroid Symptoms and Solutions Slideshow Pictures
- Thyroid FAQs
- Patient Comments: Thyroid Disorders - Experience
- Patient Comments: Thyroid Disorders - Treatment
- Patient Comments: Thyroid Disorders - Diagnosis
- Patient Comments: Thyroid Disorders - Hypothyroidism
- Patient Comments: Thyroid Disorders - Hyperthyroidism
- Patient Comments: Thyroid Disorders - Goiter
- Patient Comments: Thyroid Disorders - Nodules
- Patient Comments: Thyroid Disorders - Symptoms and Signs
- Find a local Endocrinologist in your town
- What are thyroid disorders?
- What are the specific kinds of thyroid disorders?
- Thyroid nodules
- Thyroid cancer
- How are thyroid disorders diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for thyroid disorders?
- Thyroid medications
- Thyroid surgery
- What is the outlook for thyroid disorders?
Quick GuideThyroid Problems Explained
What is the treatment for thyroid disorders?
Thyroid disorders can be treated by medications or, in some cases, surgery. Treatment will depend on the particular disease of the thyroid.
Medications can be given to replace the missing thyroid hormone in hypothyroidism. Synthetic thyroid hormone is given in pill form by mouth. When hyperthyroidism is present, medications can be used to decrease production of thyroid hormone or prevent its release from the gland. Other medications can be given to help manage the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, such as increased heart rate. If hyperthyroidism is not controlled with medications, radioactive ablation can be performed. Ablation involves giving doses of iodine labeled with radioactivity that selectively destroys the thyroid tissue.
Surgery can be used to remove a large goiter or a hyperfunctioning nodule within the gland. Surgery is necessary when there is a possibility of thyroid cancer. If the thyroid gland is removed entirely, the individual will need to take synthetic thyroid hormone for life. Thyroid surgery can also be used in Graves' Disease (subtotal thyroidectomy) and was the treatment of choice prior to RAI therapy and anti-thyroid medications. It is not used much now.
What is the outlook for thyroid disorders?
In most cases, thyroid disorders can be well managed with medical treatment and are not life threatening. Some conditions may require surgery. The outlook for most people with thyroid cancer is also good, although patients with thyroid cancer that has spread throughout the body have a poorer prognosis.
Medically reviewed by John A. Seibel, MD; Board Certified Internal Medicine with a subspecialty in Endocrinology & Metabolism
REFERENCE: American Cancer Society. Thyroid cancer.