A goiter is a problem that affects the thyroid gland. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped organ that’s found near the bottom of the neck, and a goiter occurs when the thyroid gland becomes enlarged. Goiters aren’t usually painful, but if they become big enough, they can lead to problems swallowing. In some serious cases, they can lead to breathing issues. There are a number of smaller symptoms that can occur with a goiter, as well as some more serious complications that we’ll discuss below.
The thyroid gland is incredibly important for the functioning of our body. It helps to produce hormones that are involved in our metabolism and many other bodily functions. When the thyroid produces too many hormones (a condition known as hyperthyroidism) or too few hormones (known as hypothyroidism) a goiter can occur as a result. Having a goiter doesn’t necessarily mean that your thyroid gland can’t produce enough hormones, however. There are other problems that can contribute to the development of a goiter, such as a family history of autoimmune disease, smoking, being pregnant, or receiving radiation therapy. Unfortunately, women are more likely to develop a goiter than men, as are people over the age of 40.
If you’re worried about whether or not you have a goiter, then reading this list of symptoms might help you determine your next course of action. If you think that you do have a goiter, you can go to the doctor and get some tests done. Hormone tests, antibody tests, ultrasounds, and thyroid scans can all help determine whether or not you have a goiter.
Symptom #1: Swelling
Swelling is the most common and obvious symptom of a goiter. However, just because you are experiencing swelling at the base of the neck does not necessarily mean that you are suffering from a goiter. There are a number of conditions and problems that can contribute to swelling in the neck.
That said, if you are experiencing swelling in conjunction with several of the other symptoms on this list, you may want to let your doctor know that you suspect the presence of a goiter. They can help you from there.