Thyroid Nodules | Symptoms & Causes

What causes thyroid nodules?

The causes of thyroid nodules in children are mostly unknown. Some factors that may increase the risk of developing thyroid nodules include exposure to radiation (such as from medical treatments) and certain familial conditions that cause thyroid nodules or thyroid cancer.

What are the symptoms of thyroid nodules?

Most children with thyroid nodules feel fine and have no symptoms.

While symptoms may vary from child to child, the most common include:

  • a lump in the neck
  • unexplained hoarseness
  • difficulty with swallowing (rarely)

A rare type of thyroid nodule called an autonomous nodule (also known as a “toxic nodule” or “hot nodule”) can produce too much thyroid hormone. This can cause symptoms like:

  • weight loss
  • feeling too hot or sweaty
  • heart palpitations
  • tremor of the hands
  • frequent bowel movements
  • difficulty concentrating

Autonomous nodules are usually benign, but special evaluation is needed to determine if a thyroid nodule is of this type.

Keep in mind that similar symptoms can be associated with more common medical problems and conditions. Therefore, it is important to consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.