Everything You Need to Know About Thyroid Goiter
Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that helps regulate certain hormones and chemicals in your body. Goiter is an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland that is caused by an imbalance in your body. While goiters are mostly common in women, it can affect anyone who has an overactive or underactive thyroid. Read on to learn more about thyroid goiter and the best ways to treat it.
What Is Thyroid Goiter?
Thyroid goiter is a swelling of the thyroid gland caused by an imbalance of hormones and chemicals in the body. It is a condition that can range from a small fingertip-sized swelling to a large mass filling your throat. Goiter usually occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much or too little hormone. Goiter can also occur when the thyroid gland is unable to absorb the correct amount of hormones.
What Are the Symptoms of Thyroid Goiter?
The most common symptom of thyroid goiter is swelling in the throat or neck. Other common symptoms include:
- Trouble swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
- Weight loss or gain
Can a Goiter Be Prevented?
The best way to prevent a goiter is to get regular blood tests and have your thyroid levels monitored. If you have a family history of goiter or thyroid problems, be sure to mention it to your doctor and keep them updated on any changes in your health.
How Is a Goiter Diagnosed?
Goiter can be diagnosed through a physical examination and a variety of tests. Your doctor will look for swelling around your thyroid gland, as well as any signs of an enlarged gland. Blood tests can measure levels of hormones that are produced by the thyroid gland. Other tests, such as an ultrasound or a biopsy, may be used to confirm a diagnosis.
How is a Goiter Treated?
The treatment plan for thyroid goiter will depend on the cause of the goiter and the severity of the symptoms. Treatment options include:
- Medication: Your doctor may prescribe thyroid hormone replacement therapy to help regulate hormone levels in your body.
- Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove part or all of the thyroid gland.
- Radioactive iodine: This procedure destroys the cells in the thyroid gland that produce hormones.
Thyroid goiter can be a scary diagnosis, but there are ways to manage and treat it with the right diagnosis and treatment plan. Remember to speak with your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms described here and make sure to get regular blood tests to monitor your thyroid health.
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