OverviewA goiter is a result of an enlarged thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located just beneath the Adam's apple and right above the base of the neck. The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones which is responsible for regulating many metabolic processes in the body including: growth, breathing, heart rate and blood pressure. Goiters can form for a variety of reasons which oftentimes point towards another underlying medical condition. In some cases, goiters can heal overtime however, in other cases, surgical removal is needed.
A woman with a very large goiter, courtesy of simple-health-secrets.com
Goiters can be caused by a variety of reasons and sometimes for no reason at all. In some cases goiters are formed due to a deficiency in iodine. This used to be huge issue in the United States as it was the main cause of goiters. In the 1920's the U.S. began treating salt with iodine to help incorporate iodine into people's diets.
Goiter, courtesy of medicalpicturesinfo.com
Sometimes goiters can be caused by hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, where the body produces too little or too much thyroid hormone. A goiter can also be caused by Graves' disease, thyroid cancers or Hashimoto's thyroiditis. The formation of goiters can be attributed to many different underlying medical conditions, sometimes for no particular reason or can be linked to a deficiency of iodine.