What is it?
A goiter is a swelling of the thyroid gland that forms a lump in the front of the neck. The lump moves up and down when you swallow and it affects the way the thyroid functions.
The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland in the neck, just in front of the windpipe (trachea). It secrete thyroid hormones, which help regulate the body’s metabolism(the processes that turns food into energy), respiration, heart rate, digestion and mood. Abnormal enlargement of the this gland just below the Adam’s apple (thyroid) causes goiter.
The size of a goitre can vary from person to person. In most cases, the swelling is small and doesn’t cause any symptoms. It may develop in anyone, but is more common in women.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms might not always be present. But if they do, then the main symptom of a goiter is a swelling in your neck. There might be nodules on thyroid, ranging from small to large in size. In more severe cases, the symptoms may include:
- A tight feeling in your throat.
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia).
- Difficulty breathing – there may be a high-pitched sound when you breathe (stridor).
- Hoarseness in your voice.
What to expect?
If you are diagnosed with loiter, you can consider discussing the following subjects with your doctor:
- Is there a need for investigations for your condition? If so, what are the preparations needed prior to these tests?
- Treatment of goiter is dependent on the size of the goiter, your signs and symptoms, and the underlying cause. You can ask your doctor about the treatment options and what is suited best for you?
- A healthy diet, quitting smoking and an active lifestyle can help improve the overall health and well-being. Which changes can you make in your lifestyle?