Goiter is characterized as enlargement of the thyroid gland. The condition typically develops if the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone, thus it compensates by growing.
There are 2 forms of simple goiter – simple goiter which is due to iodine deficiency in the diet and sporadic goiter which develops for no clear reason. In both cases, the main symptom is growth of the thyroid gland.
What are the indications?
The main symptom of goiter is a lump or swelling on the front part of the neck, usually due to an enlarged thyroid. In mild cases, the condition will not trigger any symptoms and the function of the gland might still be normal.
In severe cases, the pressure from the enlarged gland can disrupt with swallowing, speaking or chewing. Other symptoms of goiter are linked to dysfunction of the gland and hormonal imbalance.
The symptoms of goiter might be experienced daily or occasionally. There are also times when the symptoms can become severe.
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Hoarse voice
- Sore throat
- Small-sized nodules or lumps in the front part of the neck
- Swollen veins in the neck
What are the causes?
It is important to note that goiter is brought about by an increase in the amount of thyroid gland tissue in the neck. It is how the body compensates for the diminished production of thyroid hormones. Take note that the 2 forms of simple goiter form due to different causes.
This form of simple goiter is brought about by iodine deficiency. Take note that iodine is utilized in the production of thyroid hormones. If there is not enough iodine, the thyroid gland grows bigger.
This form might also develop due to the poor production of hormones that could not comply with the requirements of the body. In some cases, the exact cause is not known but might be linked to side effects of medications, genetics and other conditions affecting the thyroid.
In most instances, cases of simple goiters settle spontaneously. Unless the symptoms are bothersome, the condition does not necessitate treatment. If caused by iodine deficiency, iodine supplements might be recommended. In case the symptoms are serious, medical care is needed.