What is Goiter

Goiter is an oversized thyroid gland or we can say that it is the enlargement of the thyroid gland which is located near the Adam’s apple. Goiter can cause swelling in the neck which can be seen and is noticeable. The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped gland which is located at the base of the neck. Though it is the enlargement of the thyroid gland, it is not cancer. It may or may not be painful. It can happen due to the enlargement of the tissues or nodules of the thyroid. A person with goiter can have normal level of thyroid hormone that is called as euthyroidism, can have excessive levels which is called as hyperthyroidism and can also have low levels and that condition is called hypothyroidism. When the thyroid gland grows larger than the normal than that condition is called as goiter.

Usually goiter does not cause any serious problems and is painless but if the thyroid gland grows very large then the patient can feel difficulty in swallowing the food. He might also feel tightness in throat and it will become difficult to breath for him. The patient might also get cough. Earlier, goiter was usually caused due to the lack of iodine in diet. But now it is no longer observed. As far as the diagnosis of goiter is concerned, it can be done by physical examination of the patient. If the doctor finds the enlargement of the thyroid gland, it is said to be goiter. But it is very important to diagnose the underlying reason behind goiter as the treatment will depend upon that cause only.

We need to eliminate that cause. Thyroid function test is very important in order to perform any subsequent test for the diagnosis of goiter as thyroid function test can is the test which will tell you about the level of the production of thyroid hormone, which will help in diagnosing the cause in turn. If it is due to the deficiency of iodine, then your doctor will prescribe you iodine supplements. If you are hypothyroid, then you will be prescribed with thyroid hormone pill which you will have to take daily. It will help in maintaining the thyroid hormone levels. If it is due to hyperthyroidism, then the treatment will depend upon the cause responsible for that condition. In some cases, goiter goes completely but in some cases, goiter reduces in size and become smaller but does not go completely.

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