What Are the Symptoms of Goiters, and How Can They Be Treated?


Quick Answer

Symptoms of goiters include a visible swelling near the base of the neck, tightness in the throat, coughing and hoarseness, and treatments include waiting it out, taking medications, surgery and taking radioactive iodine, according to Mayo Clinic. Some people with goiters may have difficulty swallowing or breathing.

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Full Answer

Treatments for goiters vary depending on their size, cause, symptoms and signs, notes Mayo Clinic. If the goiter is mild and doesn't seem to be causing any thyroid or other health issues, a physician may recommend keeping an eye on it and letting it go away naturally. A doctor may prescribe thyroid hormone replacement with levothyroxine if the goiter is associated with hypothyroidism. This medication may reduce the size of the goiter while alleviating hypothyroidism symptoms. A corticosteroid medication or aspirin may be recommended for an inflamed thyroid.

If a goiter becomes excessively intrusive, or if swallowing or breathing become labored, a physician may recommend surgery, states Mayo Clinic. A surgeon may remove part of or all of the thyroid if necessary. Depending on the amount of thyroid remaining, a doctor may prescribe levothyroxine after surgery. If the goiter is associated with an overactive thyroid gland, radioactive iodine may be prescribed to be taken orally. While this decreases the goiter, it can also cause the thyroid to become underactive.

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