What are thyroid nodules?

Thyroid nodules are lumps that form in the thyroid gland. Nodules can either be solid or fluid filled that form in the thyroid.

How do I know if I have a thyroid nodule?

Thyroid nodules usually present with:

  • Swelling over the front part of the neck
  • Pressure over the neck that can cause shortness of breath or difficulty in swallowing 

In some cases, these nodules can produce excessive amounts of thyroid hormones. This can cause:

  • Increased sweating
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Irregular heartbeat

What are the common causes of thyroid nodules?

  • Thyroid cyst: Fluid filled cysts are usually non cancerous
  • Chronic inflammation of the thyroid: A thyroid disorder can cause enlarged nodules. 
  • Multinodular goiter: This can occur when there are multiple nodules in the thyroid gland. 
  • Thyroid cancer: This maybe associated with a family history of thyroid cancer or childhood exposure to radiation. 

What are the risk factors for thyroid nodules?

  • Family history of thyroid swelling or cancer
  • Gender: Women are more likely to have thyroid nodules

What should I see a doctor?

If there is any neck swelling, you should see a doctor. They may arrange for imaging such as ultrasound to determine if there are any thyroid nodules. A thyroid hormone test should also be performed to ensure there are no thyroid hormone abnormalities. Depending on how the thyroid nodules appear, further investigations (ie, fine needle aspiration) maybe performed.