Thyroid Goiters

A goiter is another way to describe an enlarged thyroid gland. While some goiters grow because of too much thyroid hormone, most occur when the thyroid is functioning properly.

Goiters are much more common in women than in men, and they occur most often in women over age 40. A family history of goiter also increases your chance of having one. If you have an enlarged thyroid, the specialists at Henry Ford Health can help.

What are the symptoms of a thyroid goiter?

You may have a thyroid goiter without having any symptoms. Many patients experience symptoms because the size of the gland puts pressure on other parts of the neck.

As it grows larger, a thyroid goiter may cause symptoms such as:

  • A lump in the neck
  • Choking sensation
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Feeling like something is stuck in your throat
  • Hoarseness or other voice changes
  • Neck pressure

How do we diagnose thyroid goiters?

Your doctor may diagnose an enlarged thyroid gland during a routine physical exam. Goiters are also sometimes found on imaging tests, like an MRI or CT scan.

After a goiter is diagnosed, the next step is to determine what’s causing the thyroid to grow. Tests may include:

  • Blood tests to assess thyroid function
  • Imaging tests to look closely at the size of the gland and detect any nodules
  • Biopsy of tissue from a thyroid nodule using fine-needle aspiration

How do we treat thyroid goiters?

Your doctor may recommend thyroid surgery if the goiter causes symptoms or extends into the chest.

Lonnie patient thyroid Cancer
Patient Story: from Alaska for Care

As Lonnie Lamoreaux carried on with life in Anchorage, Alaska, it became more difficult to hold conversations without wheezing or coughing. His hometown doctor said there nothing could be done there.

Take the next step
If you need treatment for a thyroid disorder, we’re here to help.
Request a surgical consultation with a thyroid specialist.
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