Understanding Goiter -- The Basics

What Are Goiters?

Goiters can be any one of several types of growths in the thyroid gland, located at the base of the front side of the neck just below the Adam's apple.

In the case of Graves' disease, the entire thyroid gland becomes enlarged.

Another type, called toxic nodular goiter, results when one or more nodules, or adenomas, develop in the thyroid and trigger excess production of thyroid hormone.

In short, a goiter is any enlargement of the thyroid gland. A goiter may be a temporary problem that will remedy itself over time without medical intervention, or a symptom of another, possibly severe, thyroid condition that requires medical attention.

get the basics on goiter.

What Causes a Goiter?

Goiters do not represent one disease. They can form quickly or very slowly over years. Before iodized salt was introduced in 1920, iodine deficiency was the main cause of goiter in the U.S., and it still is worldwide. In the U.S., the main causes of a goiter are autoimmune disorders (including Graves disease or Hashimoto's) and mutlinodular goiter.

Goiters can produce a normal amount of thyroid hormone, too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) or not enough thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism).

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on April 01, 2019

Sources

SOURCE: 

The Mayo Clinic.

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