“A goiter is enlarged of the thyroid gland that causes the neck to swell.”
It is a disease caused by the over-activity of the thyroid gland. Its hyperactivity. Hyperactivity leads to the overproduction of T4 and T3 hormones. When these hormones are produced excessively, the body uses more energy. It is called Hyperthyroidism.
An enlarged thyroid gland can be felt under the skin in front of the neck when it gets enlarged; it’s called a goiter.
Thyroid lump or nodules can become swollen tissues, overgrowth of thyroid tissues, and collection of fluid called a cyst.
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What is a goiter?
The thyroid is butterfly-shaped, situated in front of the windpipe. It is responsible for producing hormones that grow and metabolism.
Few people feel a small amount of swelling. However, others can have considerable swelling and cause breathing problems.
An enlarged thyroid does not mean that the thyroid is working incorrectly.
For example, a person with a goiter has a thyroid gland that is:
- Creating so many hormones, known as Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism.
- Creating the the ideal amount of hormone, known as euthyroidism.
To learn more, you can read: What is Hyperparathyroidism And Abdominal Bloating?
Goiters are common in females than males, especially after menopause. Goiters and thyroid gland disease are more common after the age of 40.
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Symptoms of goiter
The most common symptom of a goiter is swelling in the neck. The swelling may be significant to feel with the hand.
The degree of swelling and symptoms produced by the goiter depends on the individual.
Following most common symptoms of goiter are including:
- Cough, throat tightness
- Trouble swallowing
- Difficulty in breathing
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Other symptoms also present because of the underlying cause of the goiter. Hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid can cause symptoms:
Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid can cause symptoms:
- Weight gain
- Change personality
There are several types of goiters:
In this condition, multiple nodules develop in the thyroid.
Diffuse smooth goiter:
Diffuse smooth occurs when the whole thyroid swells. These goiters are associated with an overactive and underactive thyroid.
It can grow behind the breastbone. It can constrict the windpipe, neck veins, esophagus and sometimes requires surgery.
Causes of goiter
The common cause of goiters outside the U.S. is a lack of iodine in the diet. However, a lack of iodine is uncommon in the U.S., as manufacturers add iodine to salt and other foods.
Dietary iodine is found in:
- Cow’s milk
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A professional diagnose a goiter with a physical examination of the neck, palpating for swelling. They ask the person to swallow while feeling for a goiter.
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Thyroid function tests are blood tests that levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone and thyroxine.
A controlled feedback mechanism means that TSH stimulates the thyroid to produce thyroxine, while T4 tells the thyroid to stop producing
In an overactive thyroid, TSH levels are low, and T4 levels are high. An underactive thyroid, the reverse is true. TSH levels are high or T4 levels are low.
The doctor also recommends special tests, such as:
- Radioactive iodine scan
- Ultrasound scan
- Fine-needle aspiration
Goiters are preventable through adequate intake of iodine, which is added to table salt in many countries. A range of iodine supplements is available in health stores. If the goiter is small and function is normal, people do not need treatment.
In goiter caused by underactive thyroid and treatment is a synthetic replacement of thyroid hormone.
A doctor will gradually increase synthetic thyroxin (T4) dosage until their measurements indicate that the person’s normal thyroid function has been restored.
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The doctor will perform surgery to reduce the size of the swelling where the goiter is causing symptoms of discomfort, Such as shortness of breath or difficulty swallowing.
Surgeons will perform thyroidectomies, removing part of the thyroid gland when the person is under general anesthetic.
A goiter is enlarged of the thyroid gland that causes the neck to swell. It can signal an underlying thyroid condition.
Goiter depending on its cause, a goiter also goes away without treatment.
However, your doctors recommend treatments if there is underlying thyroid disease or if the goiter gets in the way of a person’s life.
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