What are the symptoms of goiter?

The primary symptom of goiter is a swelling or lump on the front of the neck, which is due to an enlarged thyroid. In mild cases, goiter causes no other symptoms and thyroid function may be normal. In more serious cases, pressure from the goiter can interfere with swallowing, chewing or speaking. Other symptoms of goiter are related to dysfunction of the thyroid and hormone imbalance.

Common symptoms of goiter

You may experience goiter symptoms daily or just once in a while. At times any of these symptoms can be severe:

  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dizziness
  • Hoarse voice
  • Small nodule or lump on the front of the neck
  • Sore throat
  • Vein swelling in the neck

Symptoms that might indicate a serious condition

In some cases, goiter can be a serious condition that should be evaluated immediately in an emergency setting. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these serious symptoms including:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Palpable nodules
  • Pain or tenderness
  • Symptoms of hyperthyroidism, such as protruding eyes, unexplained weight loss, heat intolerance, and perspiration
  • Symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as depression, weakness, and unexplained weight gain

What is goiter?

Goiter refers to an enlargement of the thyroid gland. This condition usually occurs when the thyroid gland is not making enough thyroid hormone, so it tries to compensate by growing in size. There are two varieties of simple goiter: endemic goiter, which occurs because of iodine deficiency in the diet, and sporadic goiter, which often develops for no known reason. In both cases, the primary sym... Read more about goiterintroduction


What causes goiter?

A goiter is an increase in the amount of thyroid gland tissue in the neck. It is part of the body’s compensation mechanism for inadequate production of thyroid hormones, which include thyroxine and triiodothyronine. The two types of simple goiter arise from different causes.

Causes of endemic goiter

Endemic goiter, also called colloidal goiter, occurs due to iodine defi... Read more about goitercauses


How is goiter treated?

In many cases, simple goiters will resolve spontaneously. Unless goiter symptoms are problematic, goiter generally does not require treatment. In cases of goiter caused by iodine deficiency, iodine supplements may provide adequate treatment. If goiter symptoms are more serious, however, medical treatment may be required.

Treatment for problematic simple goiter

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Ear, Nose and Throat

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