Have you noticed a large bump on your neck lately? Is it causing you discomfort and seems to be worsening? You may have a goiter, a type of thyroid disease. Though treatable, not all forms of goiter treatment are suitable during pregnancy.

What is Goiter?
A goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located in your neck and produces hormones that regulate metabolism in the human body. A goiter can cause difficulty in swallowing and breathing. There are two types of goiter: diffuse and nodular. A diffuse goiter refers to consistent enlargement of the thyroid gland while a nodular goiter is enlargement of the thyroid from one or two nodules. Although rare in the U.S., pregnant women living in iodine-deficient areas of the world are more vulnerable to developing goiters during pregnancy. A baby is dependent on the mother for thyroid hormone for the first 10 to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Signs and Symptoms of Goiter
If you have a goiter, some of the typical goiter symptoms you may notice include:


  • tightness in the throat
  • thyroid gland enlargement
  • trouble swallowing
  • trouble breathing
  • hoarseness


Causes of Goiter
The thyroid gland produces a number of hormones that regulate metabolism, body temperature, heart rate and protein production. A goiter may not necessarily affect the levels of hormones or the production of hormones. But if the hormone production is abnormal it could be due to a number of reasons including:


  • A lack of iodine causing the thyroid to enlarge because it cannot produce enough of the hormones thyroxine and T-3 which contain iodine.
  • Graves� Disease causes the uniform enlargement of the thyroid gland due to over-stimulation.
  • Hashimoto�s Disease causes the pituitary gland to over-stimulate and enlarge the thyroid.
  • A multinodular goiter is when nodules grow on both sides of the thyroid gland making the thyroid gland bigger.
  • Solitary thyroid nodules are single nodules grown anywhere on the thyroid gland.
  • Thyroid cancer causes an abnormal growth on one side of the thyroid gland.
  • Pregnancy can cause the thyroid gland to enlarge slightly due to the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).
  • Inflammation causes the enlargement of the thyroid gland and painful swallowing.


    Diagnosing Goiter

    Your doctor can use physical examination, blood tests, antibody tests, ultrasound and a thyroid scan to determine what is causing the goiter.

    Table of Contents
    1. Goiter
    2. Goiter treatment
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