Goiter means "big thyroid". Thyroid Goiter means the same thing--the thyroid has grown to a large size. The vast majority of thyroid goiters are benign (non-cancerous) and thus the biggest problem that goiters cause is from their size. A large thyroid goiter can push on the other structures in the neck causing symptoms discussed on this page. Thyroid goiters are usually made up of multiple thyroid nodules. Occasionally one of the thyroid nodules contained in the thyroid goiter is cancerous.
Thyroid Essentials: How the Thyroid Gland Works
The thyroid regulates your metabolism.
The two main thyroid hormones are T3 and T4.
Thyroid disorders are common, and they include goiters, hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism.
The thyroid’s main role in the endocrine system is to regulate your metabolism, which is your body’s ability to break down food and convert it to energy. Food essentially fuels the body, and each of our bodies uses that fuel at different rates. This is why you often hear about some people having a “fast” metabolism and others having a “slow” metabolism.
Some of the Most Common Thyroid Disorders.
To learn more, read our article about common thyroid problems.
Goiters: A goiter is a bulge in the neck. A toxic goiter is associated with hyperthyroidism, and a non-toxic goiter, also known as a simple or endemic goiter, is caused by iodine deficiency.
Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism is caused by too much thyroid hormone. People with hyperthyroidism are often sensitive to heat, hyperactive, and eat excessively. Goiter is sometimes a side effect of hyperthyroidism. This is due to an over-stimulated thyroid and inflamed tissues, respectively.
Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is a common condition characterized by too little thyroid hormone. In infants, the condition is known as cretinism. Cretinism has very serious side effects, including abnormal bone formation and mental retardation. If you have hypothyroidism as an adult, you may experience sensitivity to cold, little appetite, and overall sluggishness. Hypothyroidism often goes unnoticed, sometimes for years, before being diagnosed.
Symptoms of Thyroid Goiters
Most thyroid goiters don't cause symptoms, but they will if the goiter continues to grow. In fact, small thyroid goiters may more commonly be detected by routine examination of the patient's neck by a doctor or by some type of screening x-ray or scan for some other reason. The symptoms occur as the goiter becomes big enough that it presses on other structures in the neck.
Thyroid Goiter causing deviation of the trachea
Larger thyroid goiters most commonly produce symptoms of
What Are The Treatments For Thyroid Goiter?
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A mass or lump in the neck.
Uncomfortable pressure sensation on the breathing tube (trachea)
A sense of feeling like you need to swallow something or difficulty swallowing
Excess production of the thyroid hormone, thyroxine which include:
Unexplained weight loss
Rapid or irregular heart rate
Solitary thyroid nodules: Solitary nodules, or lumps, in the thyroid are actually quite common—in fact, it’s estimated that more than half the population will have a nodule in their thyroid. The great majority of nodules are benign. Usually, a fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNA) will determine if the nodule is cancerous.
Thyroid cancer: Thyroid cancer is fairly common, though long-term survival rates are excellent. Occasionally, symptoms such as hoarseness, neck pain, and enlarged lymph nodes occur in people with thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancer can affect anyone at any age, though women and people over thirty are most likely to develop the condition.
Thyroiditis: Thyroiditis is an inflammation of the thyroid that may be associated with abnormal thyroid function (particularly hyperthyroidism). Inflammation can cause the thyroid’s cells to die, making the thyroid unable to produce enough hormones to maintain the body's normal metabolism. There are five types of thyroiditis, and the treatment is specific to each.
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