Complications associated with thyroid nodules include:

  • Problems swallowing or breathing. Large nodules or a multinodular goiter — an enlargement of the thyroid gland containing several distinct nodules — can interfere with swallowing or breathing.
  • Hyperthyroidism. Problems can occur when a nodule or goiter produces thyroid hormone, leading to hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism can result in weight loss, muscle weakness, heat intolerance, and anxiousness or irritability. Potential complications of hyperthyroidism include irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation); weak bones (osteoporosis); and thyrotoxic crisis, a sudden and potentially life-threatening intensification of signs and symptoms that requires immediate medical care.
  • Problems associated with thyroid cancer. If a thyroid nodule is cancerous, surgery is usually required. Generally, most or all of your thyroid gland is removed, after which you'll need to take thyroid hormone replacement therapy for the rest of your life. Most thyroid cancers are found early, though, and have a good prognosis.
Apr. 04, 2014