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Goiter Causes & Risks

Causes

The exact causes of nontoxic goiter are not known. In general, goiters may be caused by too much or too little thyroid hormones. There is often normal thyroid function with a nontoxic goiter. Some possible causes of nontoxic goiter include:

  • Heredity (family history of goiters)
  • Regular use of medications such as lithium , propylthiouracil , phenylbutazone, or aminoglutethimide
  • Regular intake of substances (goitrogens) that inhibit production of thyroid hormone—common goitrogens include foods such as cabbage, turnips, brussel sprouts, seaweed, and millet
  • Iodine deficiency—Iodine deficiency is very rare in the US and other developed countries, due to the use of iodized table salt; this is a primary cause of goiter in other parts of the world, particularly in mountainous areas, or areas that experience heavy rainfall or flooding

Risk Factors

The following factors increase your chance of developing nontoxic goiter:

  • Sex: female (nontoxic goiter is more common in women than men)
  • Age: over 40 years

If you have any of these risk factors, tell your doctor:

  • Family history of goiter
  • History of radiation therapy to head or neck, especially during childhood

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2020 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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