Can toxic goiter be prevented?

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Dr. Jack Merendino, MD
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
Except in rare cases, toxic goiter cannot be prevented. Many toxic goiters are the result of a hereditary problem. In other cases we usually don’t know the cause. Sometimes a person who grew up in a area of the world with a very low iodine intake will develop what is called an “endemic goiter,” which means thyroid enlargement -- sometimes with nodules -- meant to compensate for the lack of iodine. On occasion, when such an individual moves to an area with normal or high iodine intake the nodules will begin to over-produce thyroid hormone, but this is not a common situation.  
Often, goiters are the result of things you cannot control, such as the level of your thyroid function and whether or not you have an auto-immune disorder. However, sometimes altering your diet can help. Goiters can grow due to a lack of iodine in the body, so be sure your iodine intake as at the right level. Iodine deficiency is rare in the U.S. and in places where salt is iodized.

A goiter is “toxic” if the thyroid nodule over-produces thyroid hormone. If you have a nontoxic goiter, monitor your symptoms in case the goiter becomes toxic, and follow your doctor's treatment recommendations. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.