A thyroid cyst is a benign neoplasm localized in the tissues of the largest and most important gland of the endocrine system. The tumor has a rather small size, and inside it is colloidal content.
Many endocrinologists identify such concepts as cyst, adenoma, and nodules, because today there are no clear boundaries by which they can be distinguished. And this despite the fact that these tumors have a different structure. So, cysts are called formations that reach 15 or more millimeters in diameter. If their sizes are smaller, then they speak about the expansion of the follicle of the thyroid gland.
Adenoma is a benign tumor of the thyroid gland, which is formed from the epithelial tissues of the gland. A node is a neoplasm, inside of which is a dense fibrous capsule. The cyst of the thyroid gland most often develops in women, and this occurs, as a rule, against the background of other endocrine pathologies. In this case, the tumor is malignantly extremely rare, so the prognosis for recovery is quite favorable.
Many patients confuse concepts such as cyst and node in the area of the thyroid gland. These are completely different things, which differ in their structure and possible consequences. So, in the presence of nodes in the thyroid gland, the risk that they will turn into a malignant form is 20%. The cyst is malignant only in 7% of cases, and only if there is a prolonged absence of treatment.
In endocrinological practice, thyroid cysts are divided into:
- Colloid According to its structure, such a neoplasm can be a small colloidal nodule. At first, the pathological process is asymptomatic, but upon reaching 10 mm in diameter, the tumor-like formation gradually manifests itself. The person begins to complain of difficulty in swallowing, expressed by pain and discomfort. As it grows, the cyst begins to press on adjacent organs. The main sign of a colloid cyst is the development of thyrotoxicosis. This is a condition in which the level of thyroid hormones (T3, T4) rises, and which is accompanied by abrupt mood swings, hot flushes, dizziness, weight instability, etc.
- Follicular A neoplasm, characterized by a rather dense structure, can appear on the right, left, or both sides of the thyroid gland, as well as in the region of its isthmus. A tumor is easily detected by palpation, even if it has reached a size not larger than 3 mm in diameter. As the cyst grows, it begins to press on the neck, delivering discomfort and pain to the patient.
- Multiple. A large number of cysts is not a separate diagnosis - this is only a possible conclusion of the doctor, based on the data obtained during the instrumental studies. In particular, during the ultrasound. Multiple cysts are one of the main signs of the onset of pathological processes in the tissues of the thyroid gland. One of the reasons for this anomaly is considered to be iodine deficiency in the human body.
- Malignant, or cancerous. Compared with adenocarcinomas, such cysts are rare. Such neoplasms are rather difficult to diagnose, therefore it is additionally necessary to perform a tissue biopsy with their further laboratory examination.
The difficulty in diagnosing a thyroid cyst lies in the fact that the disease at the initial stage of development practically does not manifest itself. If there are any unpleasant symptoms in the form of suspicious elasticity or slight pain in the tumor area, the patient simply ignores them.
In addition, a cyst may disappear from time to time, and then reappear. This also leads to difficulties in making an accurate diagnosis.
It is very important to know the reasons why a cyst is formed. This will help take timely measures to prevent its development.
The human thyroid gland has a rather specific structure. It consists of 30 million follicles filled with colloidal contents (acini and vesicles). Colloid is a special gel-like protein substance (liquid), which consists of protohormones. In violation of the hormonal balance and outflow of colloidal cells, an increase in follicles in size occurs. As a result, cysts are formed, and often in the plural. The development of the pathological process can be caused by a banal physical overstrain, during which there is an overrun of the main thyroid hormone units, tri- and tetraiodothyronine (thyroxin).
The main reasons for the formation of cysts in the thyroid gland include:
- stress, psycho-emotional disorders;
- recovery period after serious illness;
- hypothermia or overheating;
- thyroid hyperactivity;
- uncontrolled pituitary thyroid hormone production.
With an increase in the concentration of hormonal compounds, the gland tissue becomes less elastic. Cavities begin to form in it, which are subsequently filled with fluid and destroyed cells. This is how multiple cysts are formed.
In addition to the above causes of pathology, there are certain factors that can accelerate its development. These include:
- iodine deficiency;
- development of thyroiditis;
- intoxication of the body;
- exposure to harmful substances (poisons, toxins, chemicals);
- hormonal disbalance;
- poor environmental conditions;
- mechanical damage to thyroid tissue;
- congenital malformations of the gland;
- hereditary predisposition.
The most common cause of cyst formation is hyperplasia of the tissues of the thyroid gland, accompanied by dystrophy of the follicles. This pathological process often occurs due to shock and injury.
Symptoms of thyroid cyst
If the cyst is small and its size does not exceed 3 mm in diameter, then the person may not notice any disturbing manifestations indicating its presence. Therefore, it is not surprising that many patients will learn about the diagnosis already at the appointment with the endocrinologist. As the cyst grows, the symptoms characteristic of it become more pronounced. One of the first manifestations of thyroid cyst is a feeling of a lump in the throat.
Identify the tumor is also possible with palpation. The cyst is easily felt under the skin, so it is quite possible to detect it yourself.
Other symptoms of the pathological process include:
- difficulty breathing due to pressure from the cyst on the trachea;
- pain in the area of the location of the tumor, which may give to the lower jaw or ear;
- discomfort or pain when swallowing food;
- voice change (is less common, and only in the case when an enlarged cyst squeezes specific nerve fibers).
The disease develops in 3 stages:
- At the first stage, a benign neoplasm is formed, which proceeds latently. In this case, it is possible to detect a cyst during a routine check-up with an endocrinologist or a therapist.
- The second stage - the growth stage - is characterized by the gradual accumulation of fluid in the cyst cavity. Increasing in size, the tumor begins to cause discomfort and cause the appearance of other characteristic symptoms. At this time, the doctor can already visually determine the presence of a cyst, but to confirm the diagnosis it is necessary to conduct a series of clinical studies.
- The third stage is accompanied by independent resorption of the neoplasm. But this can happen only under the condition of normal functioning of the immune system. After the cyst disappears, a scar is formed in its place, which does not pose a danger to the patient's health.
If the cyst is malignant, there is a high risk of its degeneration into a cancerous tumor. Such neoplasms are dense to the touch and prone to rapid, uncontrolled growth. Due to the rapid growth of the cyst, changes in the tone of the voice occur;
When a cyst is formed, the function of the thyroid gland is disturbed, resulting in a failure in its hormone-producing function. Patients complain of fatigue, fatigue, reduced performance. Weight loss also accompanies this pathological process. With similar symptoms, you should immediately consult a doctor to rule out or in time determine the malignant nature of the cyst. If the pathological process is accompanied by complications, the pathogenic microflora begins to multiply in the tissues of the neoplasm. As a result, the formation of ulcers and the development of the inflammatory process.
Recognize the accession of a bacterial infection by the presence of the following symptoms:
- intense pain in the part of the neck where the thyroid cyst is located;
- swelling of the cervical tissues;
- increase body temperature.
Another characteristic feature is lymphadenopathy - an enlarged lymph nodes in the neck.
What a cyst looks like, more details on the photo:
Despite the benign nature, the cyst is fraught with quite serious consequences. Most often, an untreated pathological process leads to suppuration or the development of inflammation in the neoplasm cells.
Such anomalies are accompanied by:
- increase in body temperature to 39-40 ° C;
- pronounced intoxication of the body;
- increase in regional lymph nodes;
- severe pain at the site of cyst localization.
The large size of the cyst leads to the fact that it begins to exert pressure on the tissues of adjacent organs and neighboring blood vessels. It is extremely rare for a neoplasm to be malignant, that is, to degenerate into a cancerous tumor.
A competent specialist can detect a cyst even during initial examination by palpation. However, to clarify the diagnosis and determine the nature of the neoplasm, it is necessary to conduct additional diagnostic procedures:
- Ultrasound. This study helps to determine the structure of the cyst, to assess its blood supply and the amount of fluid that is concentrated in the neoplasm cells.
- MRI, which is one of the most informative diagnostic methods, and helps to determine the exact location of the cyst, the degree of thyroid lesion and the nature of the neoplasm.
- Biopsies important for determining the type of cells that form the cyst.
- Scintigraphy Manipulation is needed to assess the functional activity of the tissues of a pathological neoplasm.
- Analysis of venous blood for thyrotropin. TSH, or thyroid-stimulating hormone, is one of the most important hormonal units of the thyroid gland. The concentration of the substance in the blood can be judged on the work of the thyroid gland.
- Pneumography required to determine the presence of metastases in the area of other organs.
In order to assess the condition of the respiratory system organs, laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy can additionally be performed. Once every three months, clinical blood tests can be conducted for the content of pituitary hormones responsible for the functioning of the thyroid gland.
How to treat a cyst?
If the cyst has a benign character, it will not be difficult to cure it. To do this, often carry out its drainage by puncture. After emptying the neoplasm, special sclerosing substances are introduced into its cavity, which cause its environment to dry out and also prevent the pathology from recurring.
In addition, an integrated therapeutic approach is important. It consists in:
- prescribing drugs that control and regulate the level of hormones produced by the thyroid gland;
- the use of funds that relieve inflammation and normalize the metabolic process;
- use of anti-edematous drugs and drugs that improve blood circulation;
- antibiotic therapy in the case of the addition of a bacterial infection.
Additionally, iodine-containing drugs are prescribed to the patient. As a rule, in the form of vitamin complexes. At the same time, prophylactic ultrasound is performed once every 3 months, and once every 2 months a blood test is used to determine the level of TSH. If the study showed deviations from thyroid-stimulating hormone from the norm, the doctor will adjust the dose of prescribed medications.
With a large cyst, its pressure on adjacent organs and blood vessels, or with frequent relapses of the pathological process, surgical intervention is indicated. This does not mean that you have to completely remove the entire gland - only the part where the tumor is located is excised.
If the tumor-like formation was found in both lobes of the thyroid, a strumectomy is performed, which according to its technique is rather complex, but more gentle. Complete removal of the gland is indicated only if there is a risk or establishment of a cyst's malignancy.
In parallel with the conservative treatment of thyroid cyst, alternative medicine recipes can also be used. As independent remedies, they are not suitable, but for complex treatment they will fit perfectly. Below are the most effective and useful recipes.
- Beet-honey mixture. Fresh beets grate on a fine grater and mix in equal proportions with natural honey. Mix well and put on a cabbage leaf. Attach it to the place where the cyst is located and fix. Compress should be left for several hours, or for the whole night. The duration of therapy depends on the effectiveness of the applied means.
- Potentilla root goose (100 g) chop and pour 1 liter of vodka (or medical alcohol) in a thermos. Insist for a month, then strain. Ready tincture taken at a dosage of 50 drops 30 minutes before meals. The course of therapy is 1 month.
- Infusion of green walnut shell. For its preparation you need 3 tbsp. l raw materials pour 750 ml of boiling water and insist for an hour. Apply to lotions and compresses, putting on the neck where the cyst affected area of the thyroid gland is located.
- Tincture celandine. Chop fresh leaves or dried celandine leaves and pour 1 spoonful of half a liter of vodka. Insist in a dark place for 10 days, then strain. Ready means to take orally 50 ml before meals once a day. The duration of therapy is 3 weeks.
Of great importance is the proper nutrition of the patient with the thyroid cyst. All products must be of vegetable origin - this will help strengthen the patient's immune system. Be sure to include in the daily menu homemade fruit and vegetable fresh juices!
Delete or not?
Despite the benign nature of the neoplasm, in some cases it can behave unpredictably. So, it is possible:
- the tumor will not grow and will not cause discomfort, so you can not remove it;
- the rapid increase in size of the cyst, with all the ensuing consequences;
- self-resorption of tumor formation.
A good reason for referring to an endocrinologist is the case if the cyst protrudes, leads to a deformity of the cervical vertebrae or causes other complications.At first, the doctor observes the behavior of the neoplasm, after which a tissue sample is taken for further cytological examination. If necessary, carry out the emptying of the cyst cavity from the fluid filling it.
Self-treatment in this case is prohibited - improper means can lead to an inflammatory process. Prescribe therapy should only a doctor, based on the results of the research.
Benign cysts are easy to treat and have a favorable prognosis for recovery. In addition, they are able to dissolve on their own, therefore, it is not necessary to take any measures - the patient only needs to periodically take an examination at the endocrinologist and pass the necessary tests.
More serious is the situation when the tumor is of poor quality. Such cysts are capable of malignancy, leading to the development of cancer tumors, the prognosis of which is quite heavy.
Successful is the treatment of a malignant cyst, started at an early stage of the pathological process. If there is metastasis to other organs, the prognosis for recovery is minimal.
To reduce the risk of thyroid cyst formation, you must:
- regularly undergo preventive examinations at the endocrinologist;
- completely cure any thyroid abnormalities;
- consume enough vitamins and minerals, especially iodine;
- limit the effects of ultraviolet radiation and other radiation on the body.
Even if a person has never had any problems with the work of the thyroid, preventive observation at an endocrinologist will never be superfluous. It's no wonder doctors say that any disease is much easier to prevent than to cure!