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Goiter Symptoms & Diagnosis

Symptoms

Nontoxic goiters usually do not have noticeable symptoms. If you experience any of these, do not assume it is due to this condition. These may be caused by other, less serious health conditions. If these symptoms persist, see your doctor.

  • Swelling on the neck
  • Breathing difficulties, coughing, or wheezing with large goiter
  • Difficulty swallowing with large goiter
  • Feeling of pressure on the neck
  • Hoarseness

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your doctor may recommend a specialist. An endocrinologist focuses on hormone related issues.

Tests may include the following:

  • Examination of the neck—to assess any thyroid enlargement
  • Ultrasound —a test that uses sound waves to identify nodules of the neck and thyroid
  • Blood tests—to assess levels of thyroid hormones (eg, thyroid stimulating hormone); thyroid autoantibodies tests may also be done
  • Thyroid scan (scintigraphy)—a picture of your thyroid gland taken after you have been given a shot or drink of a radioisotope to show how your thyroid is functioning and exclude thyroid cancer
  • Fine needle aspiration biopsy —a tissue sample is taken with a small needle to determine if it is benign or malignant (cancer); 50%-60% are noncancerous
  • Barium swallow —a test to determine if the enlarged goiter is compressing the esophagus, thus causing swallowing difficulty
  • X-ray of neck and chest for large goiters—to see if the trachea is compressed

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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