There are two forms of benign tumors – adenomas and goiters.
Thyroid adenomas are benign tumors that grow within the cell layer that lines the inner surface of the thyroid gland. The adenoma can secrete its own thyroid hormones, which increase overall hormone production and can cause disorder called hyperthyroidism. Overproduction of the hormones increases the body’s metabolism rate and can, in women, affect menstruation, healthy reproduction, and menopause.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism would suggest a heightened metabolism, or the rate at which the body performs its essential functions. Symptoms may include a fast or irregular heartbeat, shaky hands, increased perspiration, more frequent bowl movements, weight loss, high blood pressure, and an irregular menstrual cycle.
A surgical removal of the adenoma is often recommended to return the production of thyroid hormone to normal levels.
Patients with goiters may have multiple nodules or cysts. A goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland that is harmless unless it becomes so large that it constricts breathing and swallowing by compressing other structures in the neck, notably the trachea and esophagus. Surgery is often recommended to ease the constriction. Of course, many patients choose to have a goiter surgically removed for cosmetic reasons.