Does a goiter always require surgery?

A goiter is an abnormal growth of the thyroid gland, and the determination for surgery is based upon the cause and whether or not the goiter produces obstructive symptoms. There are several possible reasons goiters develop, including autoimmune disease, inflammation or malignancy. Some causes can be treated with medications that may limit, or even reverse, the thyroid growth, eliminating the need for surgery.
The natural history of a benign goiter is usually slow enlargement or growth of its nodules. Therefore, observation can be safe. A goiter is treated if there is a suspicion of the nodules harboring cancer, if the goiter is growing quickly or hormonally overactive, or if the goiter's large size is causing compressive symptoms, such as hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, or difficulty breathing
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Benign non-toxic multinodular goiter

Continue Learning about Endocrine System

Endocrine System

Your endocrine system works with your nervous system to control important bodily functions. The endocrine systems responsibilities include regulating growth, sexual development and function, metabolism and mood. The endocrine syst...

em also helps give your body the energy it needs to function properly. Endocrine glands secrete hormones into the bloodstream. Hormones are considered chemical messengers, coordinating your body by transferring information from one set of cells to another. Your endocrine system health can be affected by hormone imbalances resulting from impaired glands. A hormone imbalance can cause problems with bodily growth, sexual development, metabolism and other bodily functions. Endocrine system diseases or conditions include diabetes, growth disorders and osteoporosis.

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.