What is a goiter Essay

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What is a goiter?
A goiter is an enlarged thyroid gland. It can
range from an enlargement that is slight and
unnoticeable to a lump that is visible and
pronounced. In some cases a goiter is not
associated with thyroid disease, and in other
cases the presence of a goiter can be a sign
of hypothyroidism. If you have a goiter, your
healthcare provider can use tests to determine
what may be causing it.
Thyroid nodules and
thyroid cancer
Thyroid nodules are lumps that may develop on
the thyroid. They can range in size, and they can
appear as a single nodule or as many nodules. If
you have many, it causes a goiter—this is called a
multinodular goiter.
Most thyroid nodules are benign, which means
they are harmless. But in about 5% of cases,
these nodules can be cancerous.1
This risk might
be higher for you if you have a family history of
thyroid cancer, or if you have a history of radiation
exposure, particularly to the head or neck.2

Because thyroid cancer is a possibility,
it is important to share with your healthcare
provider if you think you see or feel nodules
on your thyroid.
Signs and symptoms of a
goiter or thyroid nodule
In addition to seeing or feeling lumps on your
throat, other signs and symptoms of a goiter or
thyroid nodule can include 3
:
• Hoarse voice
• Difficulty swallowing
• Feeling of fullness in the throat
• Pain in the neck or ear
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms,
see your doctor right away for a proper diagnosis.goiter, thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer
3
Diagnosing
thyroid conditions
Your doctor will evaluate your symptoms,
perform a physical examination, and use tests to
determine if you have a goiter, thyroid nodules or
thyroid cancer. And since these conditions can be
associated with hypothyroidism, your doctor may
use a thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test to
determine if you have hypothyroidism, too.
TSH is produced by the pituitary, a small
gland in your brain. TSH is a hormone your
body naturally produces if it senses that your
thyroid is not releasing enough of its main
hormone, thyroxine. A healthy thyroid receives
the message and responds by producing more
thyroxine. This helps to keep your hormone
levels within a normal range.
If you have hypothyroidism, your TSH levels
will often be elevated because your thyroid is
not able to produce enough thyroxine. This
overproduction of TSH can enlarge the thyroid,
causing a goiter.3
A TSH test can help determine if your thyroid
is underperforming, and if you may have
hypothyroidism. It is recognized as the most
reliable test of its kind.3
Your healthcare provider may also use other
tests to determine the nature of a goiter or thyroid
nodule. These may include other thyroid function
tests or scans, an ultrasound or a biopsy. A
specific biopsy called fine needle aspiration is
often used to determine the nature of a goiter
or thyroid nodule.3
This procedure can be done
in a doctor’s office under local anesthetic and
can determine if a thyroid nodule is cancerous
or benign.
Treatment for
thyroid conditions
If hypothyroidism is causing your goiter or thyroid
nodules, your healthcare provider will probably
prescribe a medication that replaces the thyroid
hormone your body needs but is not producing.
If you are prescribed a thyroid replacement
treatment, it is important to keep taking your
medication, even if your goiter or thyroid nodules
disappear. Your healthcare provider will carefully
monitor your TSH levels regularly. Over time, your
treatment strength may need to be adjusted.3

Generally, thyroid replacement therapy is to be
taken for life.
It is also possible that a goiter or small thyroid
nodule will not require any immediate treatment.
Your healthcare provider may just monitor your
thyroid levels over time to make sure no further
action is needed.
Sometimes thyroid nodules can be shrunk with
thyroid hormone treatment. However, if a nodule
is cancerous or if…