In my clinic I see nodules and goiters in patients quite frequently. The frustrating piece I see surrounding these medical conditions, is the lack of information made available to patients. Goiters and nodules require specific care in order to manage properly, and that care stems from an integrative approach. Many doctors jump to surgically removing the thyroid gland in response to a goiter or nodule. As a chronic health specialist, patients should know they have alternative options to seek a better quality life.
What are they?
Understanding what goiters and nodules are is imperative to treating them appropriately. A goiter appears in the throat, close to the thyroid gland. Goiters look something like a tennis ball that is lodged in a patient’s throat. Nodules appear in the same place, however, are much smaller and are not visible like goiters. They can be felt by a hands-on-exam, and some may only be seen with ultrasound machines. The existence of either a nodule or a goiter can be painful and can lead to increased chronic thyroid symptoms.
How do you get them?
Goiters and nodules are typically caused by inflammation in the thyroid gland. Eight or nine times out of ten, this is brought on by the presence of an autoimmune condition. When the body attacks the thyroid gland, as a defense mechanism nodules form around the thyroid gland to provide a hardened, thickened wall of defense. Much like a shield that is there to protect, the nodule is providing protection from its attacker. Goiters tend to be much larger in size, and some of the time will need to be drained of fluid. The size of a goiter can decrease, as I have seen this time and time again in my clinic. The big question is, what caused the goiter in the first place?
Within the traditional medical offices, the automatic assumption is to remove the thyroid gland. I hear this question constantly in my clinic “Dr. King, I had a goiter and my doctor performed surgery and removed my thyroid, but I still have symptoms. Can you help me?” The answer is YES! Although the correct solution for managing a goiter or nodule is not surgery, there are still options for patients who have had their thyroid removed.
My father, who is a cancer survivor (who has been kicking butt for six years, might I add) lost his thyroid from radiation treatments. I worked with him to keep him healthy although he no longer has a thyroid. The management and care for those who’ve had their thyroid removed is similar to my father’s. It’s important to know that you can still find relief for your symptoms even though your thyroid is gone. All that is needed is a specialized plan to help manage the body as a whole.
With any autoimmune or chronic health condition it’s important to find the cause of the problem. By locating the cause, I can help the body heal. This integrative process helps me create a better quality of life for my patients.
If you’ve had a goiter or nodule and think your doctor is not looking into all your management options, please contact me at the Tustin Chronic Condition Center (714) 731-7680.
Remember, nothing will change until you do.