Can my symptoms be thyroid trouble?

Briefly I have felt unwell for 3 months now and really at the end of my tether. My symptoms are tight feeling around neck, increased mucus, pain on swallowing on the right side and absolute exhaustion and lack of energy. My doctor suspected thyroid and I had scan revealing small nodule on lower right lobe of thyroid. It is benign. My blood levels 3 months again were normal. Chest xray normal. My thyroid consultant wants to see me in January to check the nodule but he thinks my symptoms are unrelated. I have been seen by ENT consultant who is puzzled but scoped my nose and wants me to take acid tablets incase it's reflux. It isn't. he also wants me to have barium swallow but I am reluctant because of the large dose of radiation on thyroid nodule area. Also I just know it 's my thyroid. I am not the same person that I was 3 months ago and all my discomfort is round the thyroid nodule area. Am I going mad? I don't want the barium swallow when I just know it's my thyroid. Is there something a doctor could give me to try to see if It helps and then I would know. I can't bear feeling like this much longer. Please help!

14 Replies

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  • No, you are not going mad, but it is inevitable that you wiil have strong anxiety in addition to whatever is going on in your thyroid which could influence your feelings.

    You wiil find some valuable information on thyroid nodules and their treatment in "Understanding Thyroid Disorders" by Dr Anthony Toft. This little book is a Family Doctor Book published by the British Medical Association available in chemists or from Amazon, costs only around £5.

    Your thyroid consultant wiil want you to have the barium swallow in order to investigate the problem. Quote from Dr Toft's book:

    P 69

    "If you have a single thyroid nodule your blood test will show normal levels of T3 T4 and TSH which means you're classified medically as "euthyroid".

    and P 70

    "Those people who need further investigation may have an X-ray, ultrasound or radioisotopescan of their thyroid, but the single most important test is fine needle aspiration."

    He then goes on the explain more in a very easy to understand manner.

    It would be very useful for those here who would like to help you if you gave all the results of your blood tests plus the reference ranges.

    Further regarding the exhaustion, are you anaemic? B12 levels OK? Worth checking these also.

  • Thank you for answering my question. I have serum TSH level of 2.81 microU/L. Is that the one you need? I'm afraid I'm new to all this so I'm not quite sure.

    It's just that the tightness in my throat is right where my lower thyroid is and sometimes it's really distressing. Also there is a sensation of a lump in the throat and stuffy nose along with the pain in the neck when swallowing. What a mess. I have never felt like this before. I have really concentrated on the pain over the three months and I am convinced it is radiating from my thyroid. Are there any other tests I could have instead of the barium swallow? What is radioisotopescan? Can a barium swallow show thyroid problems?

    Sorry about all the questions.

  • Hi rogette

    I had a nodule removed (partial thyroidectormy) it was a benign follicular adenoma.

    They found mine on an MRI for something else, then I had an ultrasound but they were not concerned. Although I was having horrid 'anxious' symptoms, felt strangled, pain & fatigue.

    Eventually a fine needle aspiration , indeterminate, so they 'whipped it out', just in case.

    I didn't have any camera or other procedures. They may offer surgery if there are problems swallowing, Also I wasn't offered any medication which may have reduced the nodule?? but I do feel better since it's gone, although I have hypo symptoms now.

    Jane :D

  • Sorry Jane , I didn't click reply but I have replied!

  • Hi jane,

    Thank you for taking the trouble to answer my question,

    This is very helpful and reassuring. They have done a fine needle aspiration on my nodule and it is benign and although I am to be checked in January the consulatant is not interested in my symptoms sending me to ENT. This is what I don't understand - especially after what you have said. It seems my symptoms could be from my thyroid.

    I would really love a doctor to let me try some levothyroxine or whatever they give you just to see if my symptoms are reduced and that would confirm it. I really don't want to go through with the barium swallow when instinctively I know it's my thyroid. i, too, have anxious feelings and just a feeling of illness all concentrated around the thyroid.

    Can I ask you if your blood levels were normal when you had the symptoms? i think because mine are normal they have dismissed thyroid connection. I'd be interested to know.

    Many thanks and glad you are feeling better.

  • Just a pointer. If you want to reply to someone directly, you have to click on 'reply to this', otherwise they will not get an email telling them that you have responded.

    Louise

    x

  • Oh whoops. How can I correct it now?

  • Rogette It's OK - I try to check up on my replies as I want to know (if I can remember to, with recent brain fog permitting!) sorry if it's a bit delayed.

    As far as I can remember my TSH was 1.6 'normal' before the op (haven't got the actual pre-op numbers sorry) however I reckon my pesky nodule was creating hyper (anxious) symptoms - but hindsight is a wonderful thing after the event!

    It was an ENT surgeon I saw (well now I know surgeons tend to operate!) if I had known what I know now I would have asked lots of questions about alternatives! & not worry about his stupid suggestions about scars & if I was a singer!

    Brilliant that they said it was benign - you have time to consider - they didn't know with me so suspected the worst (who was I to argue with that?)

    Personally I would have gone through ANY test which did not involve radioactive nasties, and ask if there were meds to try first (Levo?) as you say - instinct - (why not trust it?)

    If it comes to it - don't be afraid of surgery, I consider it the better option (def not RAI) these are just my thoughts and hope you feel better soon Jane :D x (PM me if you'd like)

  • Thanks Jane - you and everyone have been such a help. I am feeling calmer about everything thanks to your advice. What a great site.

    My next appointment with my consultant is near the end of January. He will assess the nodule and I will then see if he changes his mind about the symptoms. Funnily enough,though, my symptoms haven't been so bad yesterday and today so maybe just being able to share my worries with you all has helped. Can't thank you enough.

  • Hi Rogette I have hashimotos's but have trouble with acid reflux so try to avoid pastry and things with fat cakes bisc etc. which seem to make it worse esp after 6pm. But I also have lots of mucus and lots of coughing for years with no relief. Each time seen Dr he says no, chest clear, x ray clear no chest infection. And the cough has almost driven me mad esp working in school as I did. But have recently moved house and Dr. I complained about cough again, expecting same old answer. But this Dr says "Nasal Drip" here is script for nasal spray "Beconase nasal spray" it's like a miracle, cough almost gone.it's only taken about 5 years to sort this. Hope you get all the other things sorted. A lot of these GP's are like first aid posts. You almost have to do the investigation yourself. God Bless

  • HI Moonlily,

    I hope I have replied correctly this time!

    Thank you for your reply. I have an appointment at the doctor's today. I am having another good day I think. For 2 months it was full on mucus , tight feeling in neck , difficulty swallowing and feeling wiped out. In the 3rd month I seem to have settled into a pattern of good days (with vague manageable symptoms) and bad days - in other words flare - ups. It's this I need to talk to the doctor about because so far nobody has told me what to do especially as my consultant won't link my symptoms to my thyroid. I am even more convinced it is thyroid. At the weekend when I was bad my thyroid actually looked red and angry and there was a slight rash over it.

    I have through experimentation discovered that anti histamine helps with the mucus and lump in throat feeling. Strange because I'm not normally an allergic person. Your advice on the nasal spray is very welcome because sometimes when in a flare-up the antihistamines aren't enough.

    It's interesting you have Hashimotos as all my symptoms seem to point to this but I have had the antibody test and all is fine. Maybe it is Hashis in the early stages and the antibodies are yet to show up. I am sure it's not acid though but again interesting that you have it along with Hashis. maybe acid and thyroid troubles go hand in hand. At the moment I am so grateful to get a "normal" day now and then. At least it's heading in the right direction.

    Thank you for your interesting reply. I am so glad you are feeling better.

    Take care.

  • I have replied to your post above in case you didn't see! Jane x

  • Hi

    I am not sure if you will receive this now as your post was 3 years ago however I wondered if you ever had any outcome from your nodule and the tight feeling across your thyroid and all the symptoms you mention above?

    I am currently experiencing the same, but no trouble with swallowing. Have had a few scans nothing has shown on them except a tiny 6mm nodule that isn't even big enough to biopsy and I also have painful flare ups of pain and tightness across my thyroid.

    Interested to know if you managed to find a diagnosis for this?

    Thanks

    Kerry

  • Hi,

    I have the same symptoms with all normal labs - TSH, T3, T4, Reverse T3 and Total T3. Needle biopsy was benign but I have pain in throat, lower jaw and ear that I know is from the large nodule on the right side. I also have phlegm and tightness in throat. It hurts to swallow. Follow your gut and don't do the barium swallow. I am seeing a doctor in Pittsburgh PA who is giving me supplements of vitamin D, magnesium, b12, iodine after seeing results of those tests. He has more tests ordered. I don't know if I will have to have surgery or not yet. It seems that most doctors like to remove the whole thing or kill it with radioactive implants and then remove it. I know a lot of people who are on synthroid for the rest of their lives. I hate that option.

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