Treatment of thyroid disorders

Depending on the condition of the thyroid, the treatment may require medication, surgery or radioiodine treatment. These treatments can be used partially alone or in combination. There are no safe effective alternatives in the treatment of thyroid diseases in homeopathy or herbal medicine.

Iodide tablets

The trace element iodine is a vital substance to which the thyroid gland is absolutely dependent. However, since iodine is found only in small amounts in the diet, iodide tablets are used for both prevention and treatment of iodine deficiency and iodine deficiency-related thyroid diseases. The intake of iodide tablets is safe and usually causes no side effects. Jodid tablets are available over the counter at the pharmacy.

Thyroid hormone tablets

If the thyroid gland can not produce enough of its own thyroid hormone due to iodine deficiency or illness, the metabolism gets out of balance. In thyroid hypofunction, therefore, the body's own hormone thyroxine is replaced by tablets (substitution therapy). The hormone contained in the tablets corresponds to the body's own thyroid hormone. As a result, the metabolic situation normalizes again.

In the treatment with thyroid hormone, it is important that the doctor finds the right dose for each individual patient, this regularly monitored in the long term and the patient reliably takes the tablets. With a few exceptions, the ingestion must be life-long without interruption, which, if used correctly, has no side effects.

Thyroid blocker (antithyroid drugs)

In thyroid hyperfunction, the thyroid gland produces too many hormones, so it needs to be "slowed down" with medications. Thyroid blockers include a group of drugs that slow or block the formation of thyroid hormones. As a result, the hormone concentration in the blood and thus also the symptoms of hyperfunction normalize. As a rule, this metabolic regulation takes several weeks.

With Basedow's disease, taking these drugs takes about one to two years. Then it is determined by a so-called outlet test, whether in the meantime a spontaneous healing has occurred. However, it may also be that the uncontrolled hormone-forming thyroid tissue ultimately needs to be removed, eg in hot knots. Here, thyroid blockers are used for temporary treatment and preparation for surgery or radioiodine treatment.

Important to know: Many people eat a lot more during hyperfunction without gaining weight because the metabolism is in full swing. However, after successful treatment, eg with antithyroid drugs, the metabolism returns to normal. If the larger amounts of food are retained by habit then weight gain is inevitable.


With radioiodine treatment, thyroid tissue is restricted in function or reduced in volume. This may be necessary because the thyroid cells are too active or are attacked by the body's immune system such as a goiter, hot knot or Basedow's disease.

Radioiodine is a special form of iodine that is absorbed by the body in exactly the same way as naturally occurring iodine accumulates, especially in overactive thyroid cells. When decaying, unlike natural iodine, it emits radioactive radiation, which can destroy the surrounding tissue. Due to the low radiation range of about two millimeters, this effect is limited to the thyroid cells. However, for safety reasons, treatment with radioiodine should not be performed on pregnant women and breastfeeding women.

The radioiodine treatment takes place in Germany during a usually three to five-day stay in special nuclear medicine departments of larger hospitals. Usually, the patient receives the radioiodine in the form of a capsule on the day of admission. It is neither taste nor taste. Occasionally, swelling of the diseased thyroid gland may occur. Frequently, the administration of thyroid hormone tablets is necessary after radioiodine treatment. This prevents renewed thyroid growth or replaces the limited thyroid function due to treatment.


If, for example, surgery is required due to a goiter or overfunction, the surgeon generally removes the diseased parts of the thyroid gland, except for small residual lobes on both sides. Under certain conditions, only isolated, isolated nodules from the thyroid are surgically removed. The target is a thyroid gland without knots. It may also be necessary to remove the entire thyroid, such as thyroid cancer.

Due to their incidence, thyroid surgery today is a standard procedure, similar to appendectomy. As with all surgeries, pain or mild discomfort may appear in the area of ​​the fresh scar, but it usually fades quickly.

In very rare cases, the vocal cord nerves, which pass very close to the thyroid gland, may be affected. Again, it may be a temporary dysfunction that regresses. Finally, the parathyroid glands may be impaired or even removed. Then the calcium metabolism is disturbed and must be treated with medication.

The operation leaves behind a small scar in the lower neck area, which usually can only be recognized by a close look. Depending on the remaining thyroid tissue, further treatment with iodide and / or thyroid hormone tablets is almost always necessary after surgery. The drug adjustment is done to prevent renewed growth of the residual thyroid and a shortage of the body with thyroid hormone.

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