Goiter refers to an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland, which is a butterfly-shaped gland found at the base of the neck, explains Mayo Clinic. It is often painless although a large goiter causes coughing and makes it hard for a person to breathe or swallow.Know More
Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of goiter around the world, according to Mayo Clinic. In the United States, iodine deficiency isn't the cause of most goiters because Americans have a sufficient intake of iodine through the consumption of iodized salt. Most Americans with goiter suffer from too much or insufficient production of the thyroid hormones that develop in the gland.
The gland needs enough iodine to produce adequate thyroid hormones, says the American Thyroid Association. When the body lacks iodine and the thyroid hormone level is too low, the brain sends a signal to the thyroid, which stimulates the thyroid to produce thyroid hormones and increase in size. This abnormal growth in size becomes a goiter. Other causes of goiter include Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves’ disease and multinodular goiters.
The American Thyroid Association notes that when a person has a goiter, it does not necessarily mean that his thyroid gland is malfunctioning. It indicates the presence of a condition that causes the thyroid to grow abnormally. Hyperthyroidism means the gland produces too much hormone, while hypothyroidism means the gland produces too little hormone. Euthyroidism is a condition wherein there is a correct amount of hormone.Learn more about Conditions & Diseases
Symptoms of goiters include a visible swelling near the base of the neck, tightness in the throat, coughing and hoarseness, and treatments include waiting it out, taking medications, surgery and taking radioactive iodine, according to Mayo Clinic. Some people with goiters may have difficulty swallowing or breathing.Full Answer >
Side effects of thyroid lesions, or nodules, may include lumps or swelling at the base of the neck, difficulty swallowing or shortness of breath, according to Mayo Clinic. However, thyroid nodules do not usually cause symptoms. Sometimes those with thyroid nodules experience hyperthyroidism symptoms.Full Answer >
A nontoxic goiter is a thyroid that has grown large enough to see as a mass in the neck. However, it is not malignant, and it does not overproduce the thyroid hormone, according to Dr. James Norman for EndocrineWeb. Thyroid enlargement occurs when the pituitary gland increases thyroid-stimulating hormone production.Full Answer >
An underactive thyroid means the thyroid gland, which is situated low on the front of the neck, is not producing enough thyroxine for the body, according to NHS Choices. This is also known as hypothyroidism. Thyroxine controls the body's metabolic rate.Full Answer >