The thyroid gland is an organ located at the front of the neck, just below the larynx or the voice box. It is wrapped around the windpipe, almost like a butterfly with wings spread. Thyroid makes hormones that are responsible for controlling the metabolism of our body. Hypothyroidism (less hormones) and Hyperthyroidism (excess of hormones) are the two main indications of a thyroid disease.

The entire hormonal production and activity is controlled by the pituitary gland, located in the center of the skull below the brain. Either condition of thyroid produces different symptoms that are managed differently. Blood tests, imaging tests are some of the ways of diagnosing thyroid diseases.

Thyroid conditions like thyroiditis, thyroid nodules, thyroid cancer, compressive thyroid mass, that may or may not require surgery, are best treated by an ENT specialist.  Surgery may cause the voice to change and the ENT doctor is trained to manage it because ENT doctors are voice surgeons as well. Thyroid function tests, thyroid scans and ultrasonography are some of the tools that an ENT doctor uses to diagnose the condition and severity of nodules.

Frequently Asked Questions

The enlargement of the thyroid gland irrespective of its pathology is called goiter. It can also be defined as the uneven growth of the thyroid gland. It has several possible causes and may or may not be associated with abnormal thyroid hormone levels. It’s treatable. On the other hand thyroid disease is dependent on either too much or too little production of the hormone produced by the thyroid gland.

The most common cause of hypothyroidism (less thyroid hormone) around the world is still iodine deficiency. However, in iodine-sufficient populations, thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. This is due to progressive destruction of thyroid follicular cells by antibodies directed towards specific parts of the cells that produce thyroid hormones. This condition often develops very deceptively over years and may not produce any signs or symptoms until the person becomes overtly hypothyroid.

In the most likely situation, where thyroid problem is created by a nodule, surgeons can sometimes, be able to remove part of the thyroid and leave the other part so that it can continue to create and release thyroid hormones. About 75% of people who have only one side of the thyroid removed are able to make enough thyroid hormone after surgery without hormone therapy. But this varies from person to person and some do have to take medication for proper thyroid functioning.