Thyroid Goiter – Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

What is a thyroid goiter?

A thyroid goiter or goiter is a condition where the thyroid gland is enlarged in size because of certain reasons which mainly include other thyroid conditions. The thyroid organ is arranged before the windpipe and is in charge of delivering hormones that control numerous body functions like metabolism, growth, heart rate, mood, etc.

Most cases are arranged as ‘simple’ goiters that don’t include aggravation, inflammation or any hindrance to thyroid capacity. Also, it has no indications and frequently has no solid cause. However, in developed countries, immune disease such as autoimmune condition is held accountable for goiter. A few people encounter little swelling. Others can have extensive swelling that chokes the trachea and causes breathing issues.

What are the symptoms?

The general symptoms of thyroid goiter are swelling and inflammation in and around the throat. However, other symptoms depend on other thyroid complications. Generally, mild goiter gives no symptoms at all. However, in certain cases, these are the common symptoms:

  • Throat issues: a cough, voice change (hoarseness), swelling, tightness, etc

Thyroid Goiter

  • Eating issues: trouble in swallowing food and liquids.
  • Breathing issues: it generally occurs in extreme cases.

Other symptoms can also indicate the presence of a thyroid goiter. However, it is possible that the symptoms are not their own.

For example, the symptoms can be of hyperthyroidism which includes:

  • Mental issues: nervousness, loss of self-esteem and self-confidence, anxiety, etc.
  • Hyperactivity
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss, hair loss
  • Increased metabolism
  • Heat intolerance.

Also, in cases where thyroid goiter is associated with hypothyroidism, it can show following indications:

  • Loss of focus
  • Mood swings
  • Hair loss
  • Decreased metabolism and increased weight.

What are the causes?

If the thyroid goiter is in mild state, the actual causes are not known. However, it can be caused by various distinctive conditions like iodine deficiency, immune system issues (autoimmune disease), hyperthyroidism, etc.

These are well discussed below:

  • Lack of iodine:

    Lack of iodine in the body is the real reason for thyroid goiter around the world. However, it is uncommon in developed economies as they put sufficient iodine in salt. As iodine is not found in plants (sufficient amounts), vegetarian diets may need additional iodine. This additional supply of iodine is done by salts which are iodine treated (iodine added). Other than that, iodine-rich foods include seafood (mainly fish), cow’s milk, and plant foods that are grown in iodine-rich soil.  In a few sections of the world, the predominance of thyroid goiters can be as high as 80 percent. In some parts of the world, regular iodine intake can be less than 25 micrograms (mcg) per day, and kids are regularly conceived with hypothyroidism. The thyroid gland requires sufficient iodine to fabricate thyroid hormones, which control the metabolism.

  • Immune system disease: 

    The fundamental driver of thyroid goiter in developed nations is an autoimmune disease. Women beyond 40 are at more severe risk of goiter, as are individuals with a family history of the condition. Hypothyroidism is the condition of an underactive thyroid gland, and it causes thyroid goiter. Since the organ creates too minimal thyroid hormone, it is empowered to deliver more, prompting the swelling. This, for the most part, comes from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a condition in which the body’s immune system assaults its own particular tissues and causes irritation to the gland.


  • Hyperthyroidism:

    Hyperthyroidism also called as an overactive thyroid gland, is another reason for thyroid goiter. An excess of thyroid hormone is created. This typically occurs because of Graves’ disease; an immune system issue where the body’s resistance turns on itself and assaults the thyroid gland, making it swell.


  • Other possible causes:

    Less regular reasons for goiter may include smoking, hormonal changes amid pregnancy and menstrual cycles, thyroiditis, lithium (which may come from different medications), excess consumption of iodine, and radiation treatment for other problems.

Thyroid Goiter

What are the treatments?

Most basic goiters are preventable through sufficient admission of iodine, which is added to table salt in most countries. Dynamic treatment of goiter is held for cases that reason indications. In cases where the goiter is little and thyroid capacity is normal, it usually gets cured on its own. However, it is important to diagnose the thyroid goiter for adequate treatment.

The diagnosis of a goiter is conceivable with the proper examination of the neck, palpating for the swelling. The specialist may request that the patient swallow while feeling for the goiter. Once a thyroid goiter is analyzed, the doctor will identify other conditions such as hyperthyroidism linked with the goiter. Other than physical examination, the doctor can also suggest you a blood test related to thyroid function.

Thyroid function tests are blood tests that measure levels of TSH and T4. A properly controlled feedback mechanism implies that TSH fortifies the thyroid to create more thyroxine, while T4 advises the thyroid to quit delivering as much thyroxine. All these processes occur in the endocrine system of the body.


With hyperthyroidism, TSH levels are low, and T4 levels are high. In individuals with an underactive thyroid, the turnaround is valid. TSH levels are high and T4 levels are low. Another hormone, triiodothyronine (T3), is estimated sometimes of an overactive gland, for example, suspected Graves’ disease.

However, in different cases of thyroid goiter, the doctor may arrange certain tests like:

  • Radioactive iodine scan: This gives a detailed photo of the gland following an infusion of radioactive iodine.
  • Ultrasound scan: This evaluates the thyroid gland and the span of the goiter.
  • Fine-needle: A biopsy to expel some of the cells from inside the gland might be performed if, for instance, cancer is noticed.


In cases caused by underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism, treatment is a manufactured substitution of thyroid hormone. The dose of artificial thyroxine (T4) is step by step expanded to the point that estimations demonstrate typical thyroid capacity has been reestablished. Manufactured arrangements of T4 are favored; however arrangements of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and mixes of both might be attempted.


In thyroid goiters caused by an overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism, treatment means to counter the abundance hormone generation. For example, antithyroid medications like thionamide drugs steadily lessen unreasonable hormone levels. Radioactive iodine to reduce thyroid function and stop excess hormone generation is additionally employed for the treatment of goiter in case of hyperthyroidism

Goiter surgery:

Surgery to decrease the span of swelling is employed in situations where the goiter is causing troublesome indications, for example, inflammation trouble breathing, swallowing, and other problems. Thyroidectomy is performed under general analgesic to expel some portion of the thyroid gland.


Thyroid goiter or goiter refers to the situation when the gland is increased in size for certain reasons. These reasons may incorporate thyroid conditions such as hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, etc. the goiter doesn’t have any symptoms in minor cases but it can show indications of other thyroid conditions in parallel. However, in major cases, thyroid goiter causes swelling around the neck and trouble in swallowing foods and liquid. Mild cases of thyroid goiter do not require complete medical attention as the symptoms are not visible. However, it is advisable to maintain sufficient iodine levels in your body for a healthy thyroid gland.

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