Thyroid disorder treatments

Our endocrinologists can diagnose and treat a wide range of thyroid disorders.

The thyroid gland, which is at the front of the neck below the Adam’s apple, is essential for producing hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism (including heart rate and body temperature) and growth.

Thyroid problems happen when the gland produces too much or too little of the hormones. In some cases, thyroid disorders are caused by problems with the pituitary gland and hypothalamus which control the thyroid gland.

In some cases, thyroid conditions can cause the thyroid gland to become enlarged (goitre) which can cause symptoms relating to swallowing or discomfort in the neck.

Causes of thyroid problems include:

  • Graves’ disease – an autoimmune condition that causes over-active thyroid
  • Toxic adenomas (nodules that develop in the thyroid and produce hormones) which can be contained in goitres
  • Subacute thyroiditis – where the thyroid becomes inflamed and ‘leaks’ additional hormones; this causes temporarily high levels of hormones and can last up to a few months
  • Pituitary gland problems or cancerous tumours in the thyroid gland

Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)

Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, means that not enough thyroid hormones are being produced; this causes the metabolism to slow down, which can lead to symptoms including lower energy levels, weight gain and depression. Both men and women can be affected, although it’s more common in women and around 1 in 3,500-4,000 babies are born with the condition (congenital hypothyroidism).

Causes include:

  • Hashimoto’s disease – an autoimmune disorder
  • Damage to or removal of the thyroid gland (for example, during cancer treatment)
  • Over-exposure to iodine from medications

Lithium – a medication that has been linked to hypothyroidism

Your doctor will be able to advise you about the best treatment, which usually involves taking hormone replacement medication.

Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)

Hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid, means that too many thyroid hormones are being produced, and it can lead to symptoms including feeling anxious, nervous or irritable; mood swings; palpitations; swelling in the neck; and losing weight unexpectedly. It’s around 10 times more common in women than men and, in many cases, starts between the ages of 20-30.

Causes include:

  • Graves’ disease (an autoimmune disease)
  • Lumps (nodules) on the thyroid, leading to over-production of hormones
  • Certain Medications, some of which are used for irregular heartbeat

Your doctor will be able to advise you about the best treatment, which usually involves taking hormone replacement medication.

Thyroid cancer

Thyroid cancer is rare, affecting mainly people in their 30s and over the age of 60. It’s more common in women than men and symptoms can include a lump or swelling in the front of the neck, swollen neck glands, difficulty with swallowing, and a long term sore throat.

There are four types of thyroid cancer including:

  • The most common type, papillary carcinoma, which mainly affects people aged under 40
  • Follicular carcinoma (affects around 10% of patients, mainly in middle-age)
  • Medullary thyroid carcinoma (rare, affecting less than 1 in 10 patients)
  • The most rare, anaplastic thyroid carcinoma, is the most serious type and usually affects patients aged over 60

Our endocrinologists use a range of tests to diagnose your cancer and discuss your best treatment options.

Thyroid nodules and swellings (goitres)

Thyroid nodules are lumps in the thyroid gland. Usually harmless, they are more common in women and often develop during pregnancy and around the menopause.

An enlarged thyroid gland that causes a lump on the front of the neck is called a ‘goitre’; the lump moves up and down when you swallow. Most goitres are small and don’t cause symptoms. However, in some cases it may cause coughing, a tight feeling in the throat, difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), changes in the voice and even difficulty breathing. Treatment depends on the size of the goitre and your symptoms.

If you would like to know more about the thyroid treatments we offer to help with thyroid conditions please get in touch with one of our clinics. Our doctors, based in our medical centres in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, have extensive experience treating thyroid conditions, including hypothyroidism, an underactive or overactive thyroid, and thyroid cancers. You’ll be able to discuss your treatment options with one of our team of endocrinologists.

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