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What Does It Mean When Your Thyroid Is Enlarged

Symptoms Of Enlarged Thyroids

Swollen Thyroid Gland

Located at the base of the neck, the thyroid produces hormones that regulate a variety of crucial bodily functions, ranging from helping us keep warm and use energy to fueling proper function of organs and muscles. The development of a goiter doesnt mean the gland isnt working. But this enlargement, which can happen slowly or quickly, may also signal the thyroid is making too much or too little hormone.

What signs of a goiter should you watch for? Dr. Shifrin says size matters. Watch for an enlargement of the thyroid, he says, including swelling at the base of your neck. Every enlarged gland should be checked for cancer.

According to the American Thyroid Association, you should also watch for these signs:

  • Trouble swallowing, breathing or speaking normally
  • Coughing
  • Tightness in the throat

Most goiters arent cancerous, Dr. Shifrin says, but you should still have it checked by your primary physician or an endocrine specialist. Blood tests alone cant usually determine if thyroid cancer is present. Ninety percent of thyroid cancers are detected by palpating the gland and a thyroid ultrasound, Dr. Shifrin says.

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.

What Are The Functions Of The Thyroid Gland What Are The Symptoms Of Thyroid Disorder

The thyroid gland is a small endocrine organ in front of your windpipe. It is responsible for controlling your bodys metabolism. This is done through the production of thyroid hormones . Production of thyroid hormones requires iodine, an essential element most people now receive from the salt they add to their food. Alongside the thyroid gland are four small organs known as the parathyroid hormones. These control your bodys calcium levels.

Disorders of the thyroid gland can result in hypo or hyperthyroid conditions.

Hypothyroid low metabolism

  • Weight loss

What Causes Thyroid Goiters And Thyroid Nodules

The most common cause of goiters and soft nodules today is the hormone estrogen.

In hypothyroidism, excess estrogen accumulates in your body for two reasons:

  • Estrogen is overproduced through aromatization of androgens into estrogen.
  • Estrogen further builds up because it cant be properly detoxified due to blocking of the glucuronidation detox pathway.
  • As estrogen accumulates within your body, it tends to affect your thyroid gland in two ways:

  • Estrogen increases Thyroid Stimulating Hormone , which increases the amount of thyroid hormone the thyroid gland produces.
  • Estrogen inhibits the proteolytic enzymes that allow the thyroid gland to release that thyroid hormone.
  • Think of your thyroid gland like a balloon.

    The effects of estrogen are such that air is being continuously added to the balloon , without any air being allowed to escape.

    The balloon will just continue to get bigger and bigger.

    The solution to the problem is to stop adding more air to the balloon while at the same time, letting air out, allowing the balloon to shrink and normalize in size.

    Well cover this in more detail in just a second.

    First, lets cover where most people go wrong

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    How Are Thyroid Nodules Treated

    Thyroid nodules dont always need treatment. Many nodules cause no symptoms and may even get smaller over time.

    Thyroid nodules may need treatment if they grow or cause symptoms, or if there is concern that it could be a cancer. Surgery is the preferred treatment for thyroid nodules in children. This might involve removing part of or all the thyroid gland.

    If needed, surgery is done in a hospital under general anesthesia, so the child is asleep and feels nothing. If only part of the thyroid is removed and the rest of the gland is healthy, a child may not need to take a thyroid hormone after surgery. If the rest of the gland isnt healthy or if the whole thyroid is removed, the child will need to take a thyroid hormone.

    Thyroid cancer is relatively uncommon. When it does happen, it is very treatable. Most thyroid cancers can be cured or controlled with treatment.

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    Shrinking The Thyroid Gland

    Queen City Ear, Nose, and Throat PLLC

    Shrinking the thyroid gland involves promoting the release of thyroid hormone from your thyroid gland slowly.

    This can be done through a few ways, including:

    The most effective way to shrink a goiter is through the use of progesterone.

    Just as estrogen blocks your thyroid gland from releasing thyroid hormone, progesterone does the opposite it activates the proteolytic enzymes that release the thyroid hormone.

    Ordinarily, this is a very good thing, because we want to promote the thyroid gland to release thyroid hormone properly.

    Yet, we have to be careful when the thyroid gland is enlarged or theres a goiter or soft nodules.

    This is because the progesterone can activate your thyroid gland to unload too much thyroid hormone at one time, which can give you hyperthyroid symptoms and make you feel very uncomfortable.

    That uncomfortable feeling is not something we want for our clients to experience.

    So, we often do a trial of progesterone while looking for signs of increased heart rate, heart palpitations, anxiety, etc.

    If these symptoms are experienced, then its best to focus on Vitamin E and metabolism first and re-introducing the progesterone later, because it still plays an essential part in fixing the underlying cause of the problem.

    Vitamin E is anti-estrogenic and can be used to reduce estrogens thyroid-blocking effects without unloading the thyroid gland too quickly.

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    How Common Is Goitre

    Worldwide, goitre is estimated by the World Health Organization to affect around 12% of people, although the rate of goitre in Europe as a whole is slightly lower. Goitre affecting a particular area occurs in areas where there is iodine deficiency and is defined when more than 1 in 10 people have goitre.

    What Does A Enlarged Thyroid Gland Mean

    Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!

    Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!

    HealthTap doctors are based in the U.S., board certified, and available by text or video.

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    Our Approach To Thyroid Nodules And Goiter

    UCSF offers comprehensive consultations and treatments for thyroid conditions, including goiter and thyroid nodules. Many goiters and thyroid nodules are harmless, so we often can take a watch-and-wait approach. However, treatment may be necessary for goiters or nodules that are causing bothersome symptoms or health concerns, such as the production of too much or too little thyroid hormone. Additionally, some cases are caused by thyroid cancer, although this is rare.

    Treatment options include thyroid hormone medication, radioactive iodine therapy and surgery. For patients considering surgery, UCSF offers less invasive approaches that leave either no scar or a small scar hidden under the chin.

    Surgery For Thyroid Disorders

    How does the thyroid manage your metabolism? – Emma Bryce

    Removing the thyroid gland can cure hyperthyroidism, but the procedure is only recommended if antithyroid drugs don’t work, or if there is a large goiter. Surgery may also be recommended for patients with thyroid nodules. Once the thyroid is removed, most patients require daily supplements of thyroid hormones to avoid developing hypothyroidism.

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    What Is The Evaluation Of A Thyroid Goiter

    The following are a list of tests that are required in the evaluation of a patient with a Thyroid Goiter.

    • Complete Medical History and Physical Examination
    • Ultrasound
    • T3 and T4
    • Thyroglobulin
    • Thyroglobulin Antibody
    • Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulin
    • Laryngoscopy
    • Ultrasound with possible Fine Needle Aspiration guided

    Medical history and physical examination is required for all patients with a thyroid goiter

    If there is a suspicion that you may have a thyroid goiter, your health care professional will want to know your complete medical history. You will be asked questions about your possible risk factors, symptoms, and any other health problems or concerns. If someone in your family has had a diagnosis of thyroid goiter, thyroid cancer or other endocrine cancers, these are important factors.

    What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Goitre

    It is common to have small nodules within the thyroid gland, which cannot be felt, but may be picked up by chance when scans or examinations are conducted for other reasons. In these cases, there have usually been no symptoms to indicate the presence of goitre. Larger goitres simply present as a lump in the neck. Occasionally, a large goitre will press on nearby structures, for instance making it difficult to swallow or to breathe.

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    Help My Thyroid Is Enlarged

    Ever noticed that your neck looks larger when looking in the mirror?Have you ever been told that your thyroid sticks out? Have you been told it has to come out?There may be more to the story! First read all the most common causes and treatments which patients have used for an enlarged thyroid, which hasnt always entailed surgery. ~Janie, hypothyroid patient and site creator


    This is an autoimmune version of thyroid disease, which means your thyroid is being attacked by your own immune system, which causes the thyroid to swell from inflammation. The enlargement is commonly called a goiter and can range from very slight to a very noticeable enlargement. And its very treatable! Read the Hashimotos page. Learn why you have to insist on BOTH antibodies tests, not just one, to diagnose Hashis.and what patients have learned in treating it successfully, which ends up decreasing the swelling. There is also more in the Hashimotos chapter in the revised STTM book.



    Here is an excellent story by a thyroid patient who was able to shrink her nodules with iodine and NDT, called The Case of the Missing Thyroid Nodules.




    Congratulations.but some see their thyroid enlarge a bit thanks to the HCG hormone rise in their bodies when pregnant.




    Impaired responsiveness to TSH,

    What About Thyroid Cancer

    What Does a Swollen Thyroid Look Like?

    Thyroid cancer is uncommon and is among the least deadly. The main symptom is a lump or swelling in the neck, and only about 5% of thyroid nodules turn out to be cancerous. When thyroid cancer is diagnosed, it is most often treated with surgery followed by radioactive iodine therapy or, in some cases, external radiation therapy.


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    What Is Thyroid Disease

    Thyroid disease occurs when the thyroid gland doesnt supply the proper amount of hormones needed by the body. If the thyroid is overactive, it releases too much thyroid hormone into the bloodstream, resulting in hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism causes the body to use up energy more quickly than it should, and chemical activity in the cells speeds up.

    An underactive thyroid produces too little thyroid hormone, resulting in hypothyroidism. When the amount of hormone released into the bloodstream is below normal, the body uses up energy more slowly, and chemical activity in the cells slows down.

    Although they are two different conditions, in both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism the thyroid can become larger than normal. An enlarged thyroid gland is a lump that can be felt under the skin at the front of the neck. When it is large enough to see easily, its called a goiter.

    People who dont get enough iodine in their diets also can get an enlarged thyroid, but this is rare in the United States because foods here usually supply enough iodine.

    What Are Clinical Trials For Hyperthyroidism

    Clinical trialsand other types of clinical studiesare part of medical research and involve people like you. When you volunteer to take part in a clinical study, you help doctors and researchers learn more about disease and improve health care for people in the future.

    Researchers are studying many aspects of hyperthyroidism, such as its natural history, clinical presentation, and genetics.

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    Thyroid Nodules: When To Worry

    Suppose you go to your doctor for a check-up, and, as shes feeling your neck, she notices a bump. Then, suppose she tells you theres a nodule on your thyroid. Is it time to panic?

    No, say experts at Johns Hopkins Department of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery. Thyroid nodules even the occasional cancerous ones are treatable.

    Heres what you need to know about thyroid nodules and how concerned you should be if you develop one.

    Causes: Pituitary Gland Problems

    What is Thyroid Disease? (HealthSketch)

    Thyroid disease may begin in the pituitary gland. The pituitary is located at the base of your brain. It controls the functions of many other glands in the body, including the thyroid. This gland produces TSH, which signals the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormones.

    If there is a problem with your pituitary and not enough TSH is produced, thyroid problems can result. Inflammation of the thyroid and taking certain medications can also cause low thyroid hormone levels.

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    Thyroid Nodule Symptom # : A Feeling Like Things Get Stuck In Your Throat Sometimes When Eating

    • What to do about it?
    • A thyroid nodule that causes any symptom of swallowing will need to be removed with surgery. The vast majority of these are simply large, benign goiters and only very few are cancerous. But like almost all thyroid nodules that cause symptoms, surgery will be necessary for this group. Many of these goiters won’t need a biopsy because it can be hard to get all the way to the back of the neck with a needle. Almost all of these will need a CAT scan to give the surgeon a better understanding of how big the goiter is and where it goes.

    What Is A Swollen Thyroid

    Anatomically speaking, the thyroid gland, located at the front portion of the neck, is part of the endocrine body system. A swollen thyroid or medically termed as goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland. Furthermore, people who suffer from a swollen thyroid are occasionally battling against hypothyroidism. However, there are actually a lot of reasons which cause the thyroid gland to swell. These reasons will be explained later in the discussion on the causes for a swollen thyroid.

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    What Are The Symptoms Of Hyperthyroidism

    The symptoms of hyperthyroidism can vary from person to person and may include

    • Nervousness or irritability
    • Imaging tests, such as a thyroid scan, ultrasound, or radioactive iodine uptake test. A radioactive iodine uptake test measures how much radioactive iodine your thyroid takes up from your blood after you swallow a small amount of it.

    What Are Thyroid Problems

    10 Signs You Have A Thyroid Problem And 10 Solutions For ...

    Through the hormones it produces, the thyroid gland influences almost all of the metabolic processes in your body. Thyroid disorders can range from a small, harmless goiter that needs no treatment to life-threatening cancer. The most common thyroid problems involve abnormal production of thyroid hormones. Too much thyroid hormone results in a condition known as hyperthyroidism. Insufficient hormone production leads to hypothyroidism.Although the effects can be unpleasant or uncomfortable, most thyroid problems can be managed well if properly diagnosed and treated.

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    What Is Mild Heterogeneity Of The Thyroid Gland

    A mildly heterogeneous thyroid gland is one with slight abnormalities in its shape, unlike a homogeneous thyroid gland with a uniform shape, explains Dr. Jonathan Fay for Just Answer. It is often a sign of inflammation or thyroiditis, notes Dr. Bradford Mitchell for HealthTap.

    There are three main types of thyroiditis that can cause a mild heterogeneity of the thyroid gland: Hashimotos thyroiditis, De Quervains thyroiditis and silent thyroiditis, according to Endocrine Web. Hashimotos thyroiditis is more common and is caused by hypothyroidism, which is an underactive thyroid gland. The structural shape of the gland becomes enlarged due to its inability to convert iodine into thyroid hormone.

    De Quervains thyroiditis is the exact opposite and is induced by the hyperactivity of the thyroid gland. A thyroid gland afflicted by this disease becomes misshapen and swells up as it leaks unneeded thyroid hormone into the bloodstream, states Endocrine Web. Silent thyroiditis is less common and shows symptoms of both De Quervains and Hashimotos. It has much subtler symptoms and is less serious than the other two types of thyroiditis it better reflects a mildly heterogeneous thyroid gland. With this disease, thyroid glands are only slightly enlarged and usually go untreated as patients tend to naturally recover from the illness after three months.

    Thyroiditis Causes And Types

    Many things can make your thyroid swell. You may have gotten an infection from a virus or bacteria. You may be taking a drug like lithium or interferon. Or you may have problems with your immune system.

    One form of thyroiditis shows up after childbirth. Pregnancy has a major impact on the thyroid in general.

    These are the most common causes:

    • Hashimotos disease. This is the most common type of thyroiditis. Your immune system attacks your thyroid and slowly weakens the gland until it canât make enough thyroid hormones.
    • Subacute thyroiditis. This type is often triggered by an infection. Thereâs usually a pattern of how the thyroid functions. First, the thyroid and neck area are painful. Then, the thyroid makes too much hormone, called hyperthyroidism. Then, your thyroid works normally, followed by a time where the thyroid produces too little thyroid hormone. This is called hypothyroidism. After about 12 to 18 months, thyroid function returns to normal.
    • Postpartum thyroiditis. This type begins within a year after childbirth, particularly in women with a history of thyroid issues. With treatment, the thyroid usually recovers within 18 months.
    • Silent thyroiditis. As the name suggests, there are no symptoms with this type. Itâs similar to postpartum thyroiditis, and recovery usually takes up to 18 months. It starts with a phase of too much hormone production, followed by a longer period of the thyroid making too little.

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