Treatments for thyroid disease are just as varied as the different manifestations of the disease. Here's an overview of treatment options.Thyroid disease isn't a black and white diagnosis. The condition comes in many shapes and forms, and variations will dictate a person's course of treatment. Less severe cases may require little intervention, while people with extreme symptoms may require invasive therapies. Below, a rundown of the most common techniques for dealing with thyroid disease:

Synthetic Thyroid Medication

Used to treat hypothyroidism, in which the thyroid fails to produce adequate levels of thyroid hormone, synthetic thyroid medications mimics the body's own natural thyroid hormones. Most people who take them will need to do so for the duration of their lives, as the condition generally is not reversible.

Antithyroid Medication

This medication is usually prescribed to people with hyperthyroidism to stop the thyroid from producing the excess hormones that can speed up every bodily process. These drugs can help counteract the weight loss, nervousness, fast heart rate, frequent bowel movements, and disrupted sleep that are hallmarks of the condition.


Radioiodine may be used in cases of hyperthyroidism, thyroid nodules, thyroid cancer, or goiter. This treatment damages or destroys thyroid cells that produce too much thyroid hormone-without affecting any other areas of the body. Synthetic thyroid hormone then must be taken permanently in order for the patient to have the correct level of hormone in the body.

Beta Blockers

While these medications have no effect on the amount of thyroid hormones produced (they're usually prescribed to treat high blood pressure), they can mitigate the symptoms of excess thyroid hormones.

Alcohol Ablation

In this procedure, alcohol is injected directly into a thyroid nodule, which shrinks it so it produces less thyroid hormone. Ablation is rarely used in this country, however. It's a more popular option in Europe.


Sometimes, surgery is the best option for treating thyroid disease. Removal of part of all of the thyroid gland may be warranted for hyperthyroidism that doesn't respond to medication. In the case of thyroid cancer, surgery may cure the disease completely. Goiters and noncancerous nodules also might need to be removed if they cause problems with swallowing or breathing.

It's worth noting that pregnancy is a known trigger for thyroid disorders. Sometimes these conditions reverse themselves after delivery, but they may turn into permanent disorders. While it's always advisable to treat thyroid problems, a woman's doctor may feel that certain medications and therapies, such as radioiodine treatment, should be postponed until after a woman delivers or finishes nursing her child.

Vadim Gushchin, MD, reviewed this article.


Cleveland Clinic. "Thyroid Disease." Web, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health. "Thyroid Disease Fact Sheet."