That depends on the type of thyroid condition present and the reason for the dysfunction. The most common thyroid disorders include hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and thyroid nodules (either benign or malignant).
Each of these conditions (excluding malignant cancer) can be classified as transient, secondary, or primary. Transient conditions are only temporary and disappear when the cause is gone. Secondary thyroid disorders involve some other organ dysfunction and resolve when that is treated. A primary condition originates in the thyroid gland itself and may or may not be permanently treatable.
Hypothyroidism is an inability of the thyroid gland to produce enough thyroid hormone and can be caused by an iodine deficiency in the diet. This is fairly uncommon in the U.S., however. If thyroid cells have been destroyed by an infection or disease, replacement thyroid stimulating hormone in the form of oral medication is usually prescribed.
Hyperthyroidism exists when the thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone. Treatment can include anti-thyroid medications, beta-blockers, surgery, or radioactive thyroid therapy. Both surgery and radioactive therapy would be permanent.
The presence of a thyroid nodule alone may not warrant treatment, as long as the cells are benign and don’t affect thyroid hormone levels. If several nodules exist, contain malignant cells, or have spread to the lymph nodes, surgery and radiation may be necessary, as well as supplemental medication indefinitely.
Thyroid support through nutritional supplementation may be all that is needed in some cases where conditions are mild.
Take the thyroid assessment quiz now if you think you may have a thyroid condition.