A goiter is a swelling of the neck resulting from enlargement of the thyroid gland (thyromegaly), associated with a thyroid gland that is not functioning properly.
Worldwide, over 90.54% cases of goiter are caused by iodine deficiency.
The Thyroid job is to make thyroid hormones, which are secreted in to the blood and then carried to the every tissue, cells in the body. Thyroid hormone help the body stay warm and keep the brain, heart, muscle and other organ working as they should.
What is the cause of Goiter?
A number of factors can cause your thyroid gland to enlarge. Among the most common are:
- Iodine deficiency: Iodine, which is essential for the production of thyroid hormones, is found primarily in seawater and in the soil in coastal areas. The initial iodine deficiency may be made even worse by a diet high in hormone-inhibiting foods, such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.
Although a lack of dietary iodine is the main cause of goiter in many parts of the world, this is not often the case in countries where iodine is routinely added to table salt and other foods
- Graves' disease:Goiter can sometimes occur when your thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism)
- Hashimoto's disease:Goiter can also result from an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). Like Graves' disease, Hashimoto's disease is an autoimmune disorder. But instead of causing your thyroid to produce too much hormone, Hashimoto's damages your thyroid so that it produces too little.
- Sensing a low hormone level, your pituitary gland produces more TSH to stimulate the thyroid, which then causes the gland to enlarge.
- Thyroid cancer:Thyroid cancer is far less common than benign thyroid nodules. Cancer of the thyroid often appears as an enlargement on one side of the thyroid.
- Multinodular goiterIn this condition, several solid or fluid-filled lumps called nodules develop in both sides of your thyroid, resulting in overall enlargement of the gland.
- Solitary thyroid nodules:In this case, a single nodule develops in one part of your thyroid gland. Most nodules are noncancerous (benign) and don't lead to cancer
- Pregnancy:A hormone produced during pregnancy, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), may cause your thyroid gland to enlarge slightly
- Inflammation: Thyroiditis is an inflammatory condition that can cause pain and swelling in the thyroid. It may also cause an over- or underproduction of thyroxin.
Less common causes of goiter include the following:
- Nodules - benign lumps, single or multiple
- Smoking - thiocyanate in tobacco smoke interferes with iodine consumption
- Hormonal changes - pregnancy, puberty and the menopause can affect the thyroid
Thyroiditis - inflammation caused by infection, for example
- Lithium - the psychiatric drug can interfere with thyroid function
- Overconsumption of iodine - too much iodine can cause goiter, just as too little does
- Radiation therapy - particularly if to the neck.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Goiter?
A goiter can develop as a result of numerous different conditions. It can be associated with over-function of the thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism, or excessive thyroid hormones) or with under-function of the gland (hypothyroidism)
Not all goiters cause signs and symptoms. When signs and symptoms do occur they may include:
- A visible swelling at the base of your neck that may be particularly obvious when you shave or put on makeup
- A tight feeling in your throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Below are major symptoms associated with hypothyroidism.
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight (despite reduced food intake)
- Coarse, dry hair and dry skin
- Hair loss
- Sensitivity to cold
- Muscle cramps and aches
- Memory loss
- Abnormal menstrual cycles
- Decreased libido
- Slowed speech (severe cases)
- Jaundice (severe cases)
- Increase in tongue size (severe cases).
Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland makes too much thyroid hormone. The condition is often called overactive thyroid.
Common symptoms include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Fatigue Frequent bowel movements
- Goiter (visibly enlarged thyroid gland) or thyroid nodules
- Hand tremor
- Heat intolerance
- Increased appetite
- Increased sweating
- Irregular menstrual periods in women
- Sleep problems
- Weight loss
- Breast development in men
- Clammy skin
- Hair loss
- High blood pressure
- Itchy or irritated eyes
- Itchy skin
- Lack of, or irregular menstrual periods in women
- Nausea and vomiting
- Protruding eyes (exophthalmos)
- Skin blushing or flushing
- Rapid, forceful, or irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
- Weakness of the hips and shoulders
What are the Risk factors of Goiter?
- A lack of dietary iodine: People living in areas where iodine is in short supply and who don't have access to iodine supplements are at high risk of goiter.
- Being female: Because women are more prone to thyroid disorders, they're also more likely to develop goiters.
- Your age: Your chances of developing a goiter increase with age.
- Medical history: A personal or family history of autoimmune disease increases your risk.
- Pregnancy and menopause: For reasons that aren't entirely clear, thyroid problems are more likely to occur during pregnancy and menopause.
- Certain medications: Some medical treatments, including immune suppressants, antiretroviral, the heart drug amiodarone and the psychiatric drug lithium, increase your risk.
- Radiation exposure: Your risk increases if you've had radiation treatments to your neck or chest area
Exams and Tests for Goiter
The doctor will do a physical exam. This involves feeling your neck as you swallow. Swelling in the area of the thyroid may be felt.
If you have a very large goiter, you may have swelling in your neck vein. As a result, when the doctor asks you to raise your arms above your head, you may feel dizzy.
Blood tests may be ordered to measure thyroid function:
- Free thyroxin (T4)
- Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)
- An antibody test: Some causes of goiter involve production of abnormal antibodies. A blood test may confirm the presence of these antibodies.
Tests to look for abnormal and possibly cancerous areas in the thyroid gland include:
- Thyroid scan and uptake
- Ultrasound of the thyroid
- A biopsy: During a fine-needle aspiration biopsy, ultrasound is used to guide a needle into your thyroid to obtain a tissue or fluid sample for testing.
If nodules are found on an ultrasound, a biopsy may be needed to check for thyroid cancer.
Homeopathic Management for Goiter
Homeopathic treatment aims at stimulating the Thyroid gland to produce its own thyroid hormones. External supply of the hormone is not the treatment but an arrangement. We are trying to correct the internal imbalance. This is possible in many cases. If achieved successfully, lifelong need for thyroid supplement may not require. With the help of our medicines goiter size can be reduce with out surgery.