A goiter is an enlarged thyroid gland, which is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck. A goiter often causes a noticeable swelling in the neck.
A goiter can be caused by a lack of iodine in the diet, a tumor or nodule on the gland, a thyroid disease, or, in rare cases, cancer. In many parts of the world, goiters are most common in people who have hypothyroidism, in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone, related to a low-iodine diet. In the United States, most people with goiters have chronic autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto's thyroiditis).
An enlarged thyroid may produce normal amounts of thyroid hormone, or it may produce less- or greater-than-normal amounts. Treatment for a goiter depends on what is causing it.
Goiter: Care Instructions
You may take thyroid hormone to reduce the size of your goiter. Or you may need surgery or radioactive iodine treatment. Some people don’t need any treatment. They only need to watch for changes in the goiter.
How can you care for yourself at home?
Be safe with medicines. Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.
© 2016-2019 Healthwise, Incorporated.