A goiter is defined as ‘a swelling of the neck resulting from the enlargement of the thyroid gland’. A non-toxic goiter is not associated with overproduction of the thyroid gland, nor is it cancerous.
The most common cause of a goiter is an increase of the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) as a response to a defect of the hormone synthesis in the thyroid gland. A less common cause can be an iodine deficient diet.
Although a goiter is difficult to deal with, it is treatable. Small to moderate sized goiters can be treated with a thyroid hormone that comes in the form of a pill. This will lessen the production of TSH and stabilize and decrease the size of the gland. If a patient does not respond to the hormone treatment, they may need to opt for surgery.
In the rare case that a goiter is the cause of an iodine deficiency in the diet, patients can simply make sure they are getting more iodine in what they eat.
Sometimes a goiter grows to a point where it is quite large in size. When it gets to this point, it can compress the trachea and esophagus. This will cause the person suffering to have difficulty breathing. They may wake up in the middle of the night because they are unable to breath. They may also have the sensation that food is caught in the back of their throat. A goiter can also cause the constriction of blood vessels. When a goiter gets to this size, it becomes a health concern and surgery may be the best option for getting rid of it quickly.
Another reason a person may want a goiter surgically removed is because of the possibility the goiter can be cancerous. However, the likelihood of this being the case is less than 5%.
A goiter can take many years to manifest, but once it does, it will continue to grow. Treatment is necessary or it will become a health concern.
In the rare case that a goiter is the cause of an iodine deficiency in the diet, patients can simply make sure they are getting more iodine in what they eat. However, for most, the cause of the goiter is unknown and there is no way to prevent it.
Early signs that you may have a goiter include a swollen thyroid gland in the neck that may range in size from small to large. You may also experience symptoms of an underactive thyroid including constipation, fatigue, joint pain, depression, weakness, weight gain and more.
A goiter is difficult to deal with, but it is treatable. If you suspect you may have a goiter, it is best to go see a doctor. He will be able to diagnose you and let you know the best forms of treatment. Find out what you can do for your condition before it becomes a health concern.
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