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Old 03-14-2012, 11:19 AM
 
1,679 posts, read 2,252,783 times
Reputation: 1562

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Questions:

-- Anyone know of any natural ways to get thyroid nodules to reduce in size?
-- Anyone had their thyroid removed?

I have a large nodule on one side (6 cm) and small one on the other.
The doc,who is an endocrinologist (but who does not do surgery), is recommending surgery, but has agreed to 'watch and wait' with me another year.

I've already done a fair amount of research but want to ask here as well. I know people here have a lot of info and experiences.

I tend to be anti-surgery, anti-medication, and want natural remedies but all I've seen has said nothing really will reduce a nodule in size. I've heard mostly positive surgery stories. Most of the 'iffy' experiences have been about trying to 'tweak' people's thyroid medication AFTER the surgery, because they have not thyroid gland.

All my hormone functions tests are normal and I have no symptoms of the goiter It's not bothering swallowing or hasn't attached to anything, etc We've been testing it about every 18 months. Doc now wants to check it more often.

Doc says:
-- those symptoms COULD eventually happen
-- at my age ,51, and rate of nodule growth, why wait until I'm even older -- because it WILL eventually likely have to come out (unless I want a baseball on the side on my neck) right now the big one is barely visible
-- the larger the nodule the bigger the incision, if the nodule attaches to something that makes surgery more complicated
-- although it is NOT cancerous, and likely never will be, the larger the nodule gets, the margin of error for the testing will increase

My concerns:
-- removing the gland means thyroid medication for the rest of my life
-- don't want any weight issues (have been overweight, don't need this added to the food fight)

Friends have said get the surgery, and move on.
Your thoughts on natural treatments ...or your experience with this situation?
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Old 03-14-2012, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
16,490 posts, read 31,389,235 times
Reputation: 12568
I had radioactive iodine treatment for "toxic multi nodular goiter." It kills the goiter but does not remove the nodules. I do have to take thyroid replacement med for the rest of my life. They try to measure how much iodine to give you but it is not an exact science and I was warned this might happen.

All I had to do was drink a small amount of viscous liquid and then observe certain precautions for 5 days: use disposable utensils and plates, do not get within 5-6 ft of another person, keep the toilet lid closed for 3 months, and do not let my pets lick me. You do become slightly radioactive for that time period. I am VERY happy I had it done, all my problems are gone.
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Old 03-14-2012, 12:16 PM
 
1,679 posts, read 2,252,783 times
Reputation: 1562
There are two kinds of nodules hot and cold. I forget which is which. Doc already told me radioactive iodine isn't for my kind of nodule. Obviously if surgery is the alternative, I'll second opinion his advice on the RI treatment. But as of now don't think that's an option.

How was the process of getting the right medication levels for you AFTER treatment? Did/do you have any weight issues as a result?
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Old 03-14-2012, 12:33 PM
 
15,178 posts, read 8,550,693 times
Reputation: 11969
I have a goiter (enlarged thyroid) that we are watching and waiting. My endo believes it's due to my Hashimoto's.

Mine was discovered 18 months ago when I had more extensive thyroid testing done after being symptomatic and having a higher than normal TSH.

I had an ultrasound back then and the gland looked normal, just enlarged so he believes the enlargement was due to inflamation from Hashimoto's. I have another ultrasound coming up as soon as he can get my TSH levels stable.

I'm on Synthyroid and my endo keeps my TSH levels around 1 or so, which has helped to keep the goiter from getting any larger.

They do make a natural TSH replacement called Armour. It may be something you want to talk to your doctor about to see if there is any chance taking it could either shrink your goiter or prevent it from getting bigger. I've been on it for 18 months now and I have no side effects at all from the medicine, though I do get complete relief from the symptoms I had with Hashi's and Hypo. It may not have the same effect on someone without thyroid issues though, I don't know about that.

I know you said your thyroid function is fine, but here's a link for you on Hashimoto's and goiter. It might be something to look into as an option to avoid surgery:

Hashimoto's vs. Hypothyroidism: What's the Difference? Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Underactive Thyroid, Low Thyroid, Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

Hashimoto's Disease Page - National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service
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Old 03-14-2012, 02:10 PM
 
Location: Wallis and Futuna
11,294 posts, read 17,214,285 times
Reputation: 16633
I had a lump on my throat many years ago. After some testing - including a needle biopsy which has got to be the worst possible medical torture I can think of short of a spinal tap, they determined it was -probably- just a benign cyst or fatty tumor. The problem, is that it was sitting right on the thyroid, next to the parathyroid, and wasn't showing any signs of getting smaller. It -could- have gotten bigger, and interfered with speech, if it started pushing on my larynx.

So they recommended a partial thyroidectomy. My levels were fine, they said, so the thyroid itself wasn't a problem. But the tumor had attached itself to the thyroid and the only way to get it out, was to extract that section of the thyroid.

I agreed. For me, when it comes to lumps that don't belong in my body, I'd rather just get rid of it entirely than spend months worrying about what *might* happen if it grows. When in doubt, cut it out. I'd rather endure a week of recuperation from a lumpectomy, than the years of suffering from chemo and radiation - or years worrying about the possibility, just because I choose to leave a lump where it is.

So - they took it out. Half my thyroid is intact, the other half no longer exists. I take a maintenence dose of synthetic thyroid replacement, though I really don't need it at all. It's a tiny little pill that has a sweet aftertaste if it gets stuck in your mouth before you swallow it. The half that is intact, is capable of producing -all- of the thyroid hormone that my body needs. However, it would have to work twice as hard, because its other half is missing. So that's why I take the levothyroxin. Just to keep that half working efficiently and not having to do overtime.

I've taken the same 100 mics for the past 18 years without incident. I didn't even realize I was supposed to get T4's and T3's done, I was just getting my usual CBCs and thyroid panel yearly until last year. Then I got the T4's and T3's and they turned out to be perfectly normal. So I -still- didn't have to change my meds, which is fine by me. It's part of the routine.

Synthroid (and similar) are just synthesized replacement for a hormone your body is supposed to produce by itself, and for whatever reason, isn't, or can't, or can't do efficiently. It's not putting something into your body that your body isn't supposed to do by itself anyway.

Honestly, the hardest part of the whole ordeal was that needle biopsy. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. The surgery was really not a big deal at all, I was sore for several days, but it was 1-day surgery - no overnight in the hospital or anything like that. I got snipped in the morning, and was out shortly after lunch time. Eating was not fun for the first day, because swallowing was painful. A few days later and I was back to work. And six months later and the scar was just a thin red line. 18 years later and you can barely even see that I have a scar, though it does get reddish when I have a tan in the summer time.

Taking a tiny little pill every day is nothing compared to the trauma of worrying whether or not I'll end up with thyroid cancer. I'm glad it was benign, but we would've had to wait until it went away on its own, to find that out without surgery. And that might not have happened for years.
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Old 03-14-2012, 02:15 PM
 
1,679 posts, read 2,252,783 times
Reputation: 1562
Thanks for the answers so far. As I said, I'm willing to watch and wait. IT's me friends who say have the surgery that make me second guess myself. They say if the doc recommends surgery he must know what he's talking about.....
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Old 03-14-2012, 04:20 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
16,490 posts, read 31,389,235 times
Reputation: 12568
I take levothyroxine (generic Synthroid) and have had no issues with it. My endo put me on a dose that was fine until I had gastric bypass surgery and began losing weight. Byt the time I had lost 115 lbs, I had gone from 150 mcg dose to 100 mcgs.
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Old 03-14-2012, 06:06 PM
 
Location: Alexandria, VA
5,623 posts, read 9,585,798 times
Reputation: 3878
I know you sometimes give very informative opinions but I hate to see this one. You must have had a bad technician perform the FNA, I've had several and they aren't that bad! Your case isn't the norm. Hate to see you possibly scaring folks unnecessarily. As to the OP, wait and see, my nodules have decreased (they were getting larger initially so Endo. wanted to check on them, but they have gotten smaller, I do have what is considered an enlarged thyroid, but it's not really visible)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnonChick View Post
I had a lump on my throat many years ago. After some testing - including a needle biopsy which has got to be the worst possible medical torture I can think of short of a spinal tap, they determined it was -probably- just a benign cyst or fatty tumor. The problem, is that it was sitting right on the thyroid, next to the parathyroid, and wasn't showing any signs of getting smaller. It -could- have gotten bigger, and interfered with speech, if it started pushing on my larynx.

So they recommended a partial thyroidectomy. My levels were fine, they said, so the thyroid itself wasn't a problem. But the tumor had attached itself to the thyroid and the only way to get it out, was to extract that section of the thyroid.

I agreed. For me, when it comes to lumps that don't belong in my body, I'd rather just get rid of it entirely than spend months worrying about what *might* happen if it grows. When in doubt, cut it out. I'd rather endure a week of recuperation from a lumpectomy, than the years of suffering from chemo and radiation - or years worrying about the possibility, just because I choose to leave a lump where it is.

So - they took it out. Half my thyroid is intact, the other half no longer exists. I take a maintenence dose of synthetic thyroid replacement, though I really don't need it at all. It's a tiny little pill that has a sweet aftertaste if it gets stuck in your mouth before you swallow it. The half that is intact, is capable of producing -all- of the thyroid hormone that my body needs. However, it would have to work twice as hard, because its other half is missing. So that's why I take the levothyroxin. Just to keep that half working efficiently and not having to do overtime.

I've taken the same 100 mics for the past 18 years without incident. I didn't even realize I was supposed to get T4's and T3's done, I was just getting my usual CBCs and thyroid panel yearly until last year. Then I got the T4's and T3's and they turned out to be perfectly normal. So I -still- didn't have to change my meds, which is fine by me. It's part of the routine.

Synthroid (and similar) are just synthesized replacement for a hormone your body is supposed to produce by itself, and for whatever reason, isn't, or can't, or can't do efficiently. It's not putting something into your body that your body isn't supposed to do by itself anyway.

Honestly, the hardest part of the whole ordeal was that needle biopsy. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. The surgery was really not a big deal at all, I was sore for several days, but it was 1-day surgery - no overnight in the hospital or anything like that. I got snipped in the morning, and was out shortly after lunch time. Eating was not fun for the first day, because swallowing was painful. A few days later and I was back to work. And six months later and the scar was just a thin red line. 18 years later and you can barely even see that I have a scar, though it does get reddish when I have a tan in the summer time.

Taking a tiny little pill every day is nothing compared to the trauma of worrying whether or not I'll end up with thyroid cancer. I'm glad it was benign, but we would've had to wait until it went away on its own, to find that out without surgery. And that might not have happened for years.
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Old 03-14-2012, 07:06 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
16,490 posts, read 31,389,235 times
Reputation: 12568
Sorry but I had a very painful biopsy also. Not as bad as having a baby, not as bad as having a lumbar fusion, but worse than a mammogram.
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Last edited by SouthernBelleInUtah; 03-15-2012 at 07:59 AM..
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Old 03-14-2012, 08:06 PM
 
Location: Wallis and Futuna
11,294 posts, read 17,214,285 times
Reputation: 16633
Fine-Needle Aspiration isn't performed by a technician. It's performed by a physician. Perhaps what you had wasn't really an FNA, but they are known to be very painful and in fact the physician warns you of it in advance so as not to surprise you, cause you to jerk your head, and thus put you at risk for potential, permanent damage to your throat, larynx, or esophagus.
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