A goiter only needs to be treated if it is causing symptoms.
Treatments for an enlarged thyroid include:
- Radioactive iodine to shrink the gland, particularly if the thyroid is producing too much thyroid hormone
- Surgery (
thyroidectomy) to remove all or part of the gland
- Small doses of Lugol's iodine or potassium iodine solution if the goiter is due to iodine deficiency
- Treatment with thyroid hormone supplements if the goiter is due to underactive thyroid
A simple goiter may disappear on its own, or may become large. Over time, destruction to the thyroid may cause the gland to stop making enough thyroid hormone. This condition is called
Occasionally, a goiter may become toxic and produce thyroid hormone on its own. This can cause high levels of thyroid hormone, a condition called
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing
- Thyroid cancer
Toxic nodular goiter
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you experience any swelling in the front of your neck or any other symptoms of goiter.
Review Date: 05/10/2010
Reviewed By: Ari S. Eckman, MD, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.