Hyperthyroidism is a medical condition in which the thyroid gland overproduces hormones. In our last article, we shared our guide to hyperthyroidism symptoms. and in this article we’re going to review some of the common hyperthyroidism treatment options available to patients. Like the treatment of most diseases, understanding your treatment options starts with receiving a proper diagnosis from a licensed doctor or endocrine specialist.
Once properly diagnosed, your doctor or endocrinologist will recommend the best hyperthyroidism treatment option for you. In order to choose the best treatment of hyperthyroidism for your particular situation, your doctor will take into consideration your age, your overall health, including your medical history, and the severity of your hyperthyroidism.
Common Hyperthyroidism Treatment Options
There are multiple hyperthyroidism treatment options available to help you suppress an overactive thyroid. We’ve highlighted a few of the most common treatment options below.
Radioactive Iodine (Radioiodine)
Despite how intimidating the name can be, radioactive iodine has become the choice treatment option for many doctors and patients with hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease.
Radioactive iodine treatment is taken orally. The iodine then enters into and shrinks the thyroid gland, reducing the amount of thyroid hormone that the gland can produce. This treatment of hyperthyroidism has become very popular since it’s a fast treatment option that’s also very effective, very cost effective, and is safe for most people. Radioactive iodine is not a treatment option for women that are pregnant, could be pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
Antithyroid medications prevent the thyroid gland from producing excess amounts of hormone, reducing and reversing the symptoms of an overactive thyroid.
Generally, two kinds of antithyroid drugs are used; propylthiouracil and methimazole. These medications enter into the thyroid gland and reduce the amount of T3 and T4 hormones being produced. Results aren’t immediate but you should be able to notice an improvement within a couple months. Treatment usually continues for up to one year and can last even longer in some cases.
In most cases, these medications will help you to get rid of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism for an extended period of time, maybe even permanently, but some people will experience one or more relapses.
Beta blockers are a type of medication that your doctor or specialist may prescribe to specifically treat the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
Beta blockers are a very common medicine used for many medical conditions. Unlike the other medical treatment options discussed, beta blockers don’t directly reduce your thyroid levels but they can reduce the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, such as a rapid heart rate, heart palpitations, nervousness and agitation, excessive sweating, and even heat intolerance.
Beta blockers are often prescribed during treatment in order to help you feel more your comfortable until your thyroid hormones reach normal levels.
Surgery for treating hyperthyroidism is only occasionally used. One example is if you are pregnant, limiting your ability to use other treatment options, such as radioactive iodine, or if antithyroid drugs fail are unable to cure the problem and your continue to experience relapses.
A thyroidectomy involves removing some or all of the thyroid gland. In order to permanently cure you of an overactive thyroid, and avoid relapse, the entire thyroid should be removed. This thyroid surgery is a very safe procedure with no major risks. However, as with any surgery, some minor risks will always be present.
If the entire thyroid is removed then other medications will be prescribed in order to compensate for the missing thyroid gland.
Which Common Hyperthyroidism Treatment Option is Best for You?
All of the treatment options mentioned are commonly used to treat an overactive thyroid. Before choosing any treatment, be sure to discuss with your doctor or endocrinologist the benefits and side effects of their recommended hyperthyroidism medical treatment options.