The word goitre indicates an enlarged thyroid. It could lead to a thyroid gland that is generating too less hormone (hypothyroidism) or too much hormone (hyperthyroidism). It refers to the uneven growth of thyroid gland.
Symptoms of Thyroid Goitres
The most common sign of a goitre is a lump in the neck which is usually benign. When it is large enough, one could see and spot the lump clearly. One could also feel tender to touch and feel difficulty while swallowing. Certain goitres are not large and do not show any symptoms.
Causes of Thyroid Goiters
Iodine Deficiency and Autoimmune Disorders
Globally, the most recognized cause of thyroid goitre has been due to iodine deficiency, however, it is rare in the US since there is plenty of iodine in drinking water and certain foods we eat like table salt. Goitres could also be caused by thyroid nodules.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the next most common cause in countries that use iodized salt. Goitre could also result in cyanide poisoning which is particularly common in tropical countries where people like eating cyanide-rich cassava root in staple food.
Diagnosing Thyroid Goiters
The doctor could spot a thyroid goitre in a physical test by examining your neck, whether it is large enough or not. But when the diagnosis has to be confirmed, the doctor might suggest few tests including blood tests for thyroid hormones, an ultrasound and a radioactive scan.
Treatment of Thyroid Goiters
Does it Need Surgery?
The causes behind goitre determine the kind of treatment it should undergo. For instance, if it is caused by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, patients are required to take a daily pill meant for thyroid hormone replacement. This prevents the goitre from growing larger but would not shrink it completely. One should consume radioactive iodine or medication viz. a treatment that decreases the goitre’s size, in the case of Graves disease.
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