How do other illnesses affect toxic goiter?

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Dr. Jack Merendino, MD
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
In most cases, it’s the other way around. Most other conditions don’t really affect a toxic goiter. On the other hand, toxic goiter, by causing hyperthyroidism, can affect other illnesses. For example, hyperthyroidism is a common cause of atrial fibrillation and other cardiac rhythm disturbances, so a toxic goiter may affect various forms of heart disease. High thyroid hormone levels often affect gastrointestinal function, and some people with chronic gastrointestinal problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea, may see a worsening of their usual medical problem.  

In my experience one of the most common “illnesses” affected by toxic goiter isn’t an illness at all, but a condition that eventually affects half of our population: menopause. Toxic goiter, especially Graves’ disease, reaches its peak incidence in the early fifties, exactly when women are undergoing menopause. Because hyperthyroidism causes heat intolerance, the hot flashes of menopause are sometimes made much worse by hyperthyroidism. It’s also quite common for a woman to come to see me thinking that she has thyroid disease because she feels hot or has a variety of other symptoms. Many times such a woman’s “thyroid” problem turns out to be the result of menopause or peri-menopause.  

Sometimes illnesses of the thyroid can cause goiters to develop. Illnesses such as Graves' disease and and Hashimoto's disease, which cause either an overactive or underactive thyroid, can lead to goiters. Thyroiditis is another illness that can cause goiters. Thyroiditis is when the thyroid becomes inflamed, and stem from a variety of causes.

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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.