Abnormal growth of the thyroid gland is called goitre. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the throat, just below the larynx. The thyroid secretes hormones called thyroxin and triiodothyronine, which regulate the body’s metabolism.
The weight of an adult human thyroid is about 25 grams. The two halves on the left and right side of it are called the thyroid lobe, connected by the middle ismus. Goitre is an abnormal increase in the size of the entire thyroid or any of its lobes for any reason. In today’s article, we are going to learn about goitre. So, let’s start without delay.
Causes of goitre
- Iodine deficiency: Iodine deficiency was once the leading cause of goitre around the world. Iodine is an essential ingredient for the production of thyroid hormones. An adult should consume at least 150 micrograms of iodine daily. However, since the implementation of the law to mix iodine with food salt, it is safe to say that there is no iodine deficiency in our country like in other countries. Conversely, excess iodine can also cause goitre and other thyroid problems.
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: It is an autoimmune disease. This produces antibodies against the patient’s thyroid gland and results in thyroid swelling as well as its hormonal deficiency. This results in symptoms of hypothyroidism with glandular follicles.
- Grave disease: Grave disease is the leading cause of thyroid hormone overdose or hyperthyroidism. These include glandular swelling, eye changes, palpitations, sweating, hot flashes, weight loss, diarrhoea, etc.
Thyroid nodules, thyroid cancer, puberty and pregnancy can also cause a slight increase in thyroid size.
Those at risk
Women with a family history of iodine deficiency, thyroid nodule, cancer or any other thyroid disease are at higher risk than men. This risk increases during pregnancy. In addition, people over the age of 40, who have previously received radiation therapy for head or neck ailments due to some other disease, amiodarone for heart, lithium for psychiatric drugs, and some other drugs, affect the thyroid gland.
Food and goitre
Certain ingredients in the diet interfere with thyroid hormone production and can lead to goitre. These include some vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, collard greens, and soy-rich foods like soy milk, soy sauce, tofu, temp, and miso.
However, these are nutritious foods and there is no risk of harm even if eaten in normal amounts every day. Apart from that, if they are boiled well, their harmful ingredients are reduced a lot. So if you have a goitre, it is not scientific to stop eating them. However, patients who are taking thyroxin pills and those who are at risk of iodine deficiency need to be careful in eating soy-rich foods.
Swelling in the front of the throat, which fluctuates with swallowing, if it feels like this, make sure there is no difficulty in eating or breathing. Many times there may be a sore throat. If the size of the goitre is large, there may be a sound in breathing or a change in voice. In some cases, the eyes may become red, swollen, and have symptoms such as headaches. In addition, symptoms of hypothyroidism or hypothyroidism may occur if the levels of thyroid hormones vary.
If you feel goitre, you should have a throat examined by a specialist doctor and other tests including TSH should be done according to the need and type of possible disease. In addition, ultrasonography and scans of the thyroid may be needed. FNAC or biopsy of small round lumps may be needed if cancer is suspected.
What to do?
Having a goitre does not mean that the thyroid gland is bad or that it needs to be cut. Many people are afraid of cancer or tumours. Not all goitre is bad. Even after growing in size, the thyroid can produce normal amounts of hormones. However, some people may have high or low levels of thyroid hormone. So in the case of goitre, it is important to look at the function of the thyroid and whether it is cancer or not.
Treatment of goitre
The need and type of treatment depend on the patient’s symptoms, the size of the goitre and its causes. Small, non-invasive, non-cancerous goitre usually does not require any treatment. Thyroid hormone levels may be higher or lower. According to him, the doctor can give medicine.
In addition, pain medications to reduce thyroid inflammation and even steroids may be needed in some complicated cases. If the goitre is large, it may not only work with medication but may require radioactive iodine or thyroid surgery. Remember, most goitre does not require surgery, but unnecessary thyroid surgery can cause a variety of problems later on.
Much large goitre that exerts pressure on the airways, oesophagus, throat nerves or blood vessels can cause shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing food, change of voice or other problems.
If thyroid cancer is detected or suspected on examination:
If hyperthyroidism is not cured by medication or radioactive iodine, or if there are complex side effects after medication or radioactive iodine, or if the patient is not generally fit for such treatment. Thyroid surgery is performed as an alternative even if the patient does not agree to treatment with drugs or radioactive iodine. So if you think you have a goitre, do not panic and consult a hormonal expert. In very rare cases goitre treatment is required and a small number of patients may need surgery.
Goitre is not something to be taken lightly. And there is a need for widespread public awareness in this regard. So be aware of yourself and warn others. Hope you have enjoyed reading today’s article. If this post is of any use to you, be sure to share it with your friends and relatives. Maybe with a share of yours they can benefit a lot through this post.