A goiter is an abnormal swelling of the neck which results from the swelling of the thyroid gland. This happens when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, a condition called hyperthyroidism.
It can also arise as a result of not enough production of the thyroid hormone, a condition called hypothyroidism.
The thyroid gland is responsible for regulating the metabolic processes of the body. The blood pressure, heart rate, growth and breathing are some of the processes that depend on the thyroid hormone.
Historically, Iodine deficiency is the primary cause of goiter in the diet and to combat it, salt manufacturers all over the world started adding little amount of iodine to salt.
Iodine is found in sea foods, cereals, grains and cow milk.
When a goiter is large, it brings out symptoms because it presses on the esophagus and trachea. These symptoms include:
Difficulty in swallowing
Shortness of breath
The treatment for goiter depends on a number of factors such as
Size of the goiter
Symptoms of the goiter
Whether it is an overactive thyroid gland or an underactive one.
There are a series of treatment for goiter and they include medication, hormone therapy and surgery.
If the goiter is small and the thyroid gland is working well, treatment might not be necessary, all that will be needed is monitoring.
However, if there is a problem with the thyroid gland, it will be treated. If your condition does not improve with medication, you will need surgery to remove some part or all of the thyroid gland.