A goiter is an enlarged thyroid gland, which is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck. A goiter often causes a noticeable swelling in the neck.
A goiter can be caused by a lack of iodine in the diet, a tumor or nodule on the gland, a thyroid disease, or, rarely, cancer. In many parts of the world, goiters are most common in people who have hypothyroidism, in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone, related to a low-iodine diet. In the United States, most people with goiters have chronic autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto's thyroiditis).
An enlarged thyroid may produce normal amounts of thyroid hormone, or it may produce less- or greater-than-normal amounts. Treatment for a goiter depends on the underlying cause.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Find out what women really need.
Most Popular Topics
Pill Identifier on RxList
- quick, easy,
Find a Local Pharmacy
- including 24 hour, pharmacies