What causes a goiter?

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The exact causes of thyroid nodules or multinodular goiters are unknown. In general, the development of goiter is due to a complex mix of genetic and environmental factors. Iodine deficiency as a cause of goiter is rare in North America and most of Europe. However, even in areas of iodine deficiency most patients do not develop goiters. 

Goiters can have many causes. In many parts of the world, people do not ingest enough iodine, which the thyroid needs to function. To compensate for this, the thyroid swells and develops goiter. Autoimmune disorders can cause an overactive or underactive thyroid and can also lead to goiter. Sometimes hormones present during pregnancy can cause goiters. Illnesses such as thyroiditis can cause goiters to grow as well.

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.
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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.