What is a goitre and what causes it?
You may be wondering what this strange sounding word goitre means. Goitre is a condition that leads to abnormal enlargement of your thyroid gland. Now you will ask what thyroid is. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped organ just below Adam’s apple in the neck. Now goitre is painless but if the thyroid gland becomes large enough, then it will cause difficulty in swallowing, breathing and coughing.
Some symptoms of Goitre are:
- The base of your neck will swell which will become quite apparent when you shave or do makeup
- Your throat may start to feel tight and stretched
- Hoarseness and coughing
- Difficulty in swallowing food and breathing
Some causes of Goitre:
The thyroid gland produces two important hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine. These are responsible for maintaining the rate at which our body consumes fats and carbohydrates, helps maintain body temperature, influences heart rate, and helps regulate the production of proteins.
These hormones are in turn controlled by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus. These two glands produce thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Based on the amount of TSH the thyroid gland receives, the amount of these hormones are produced. Having got a rough idea about how the whole system works, now let us jump into the causes:
- Iodine Deficiency: Iodine is essential for producing hormones. If you consume a diet lacking in iodine, there is a chance of your thyroid gland enlarging.
- Graves Disease: This condition occurs when your thyroid gland starts producing excess hormone. In this case, the antibodies attack the thyroid gland which produces excess thyroxine leading to a swelling of the thyroid gland.
- Hashimotos Disease: When your thyroid gland becomes inactive and produces fewer hormones, the pituitary gland produces excess TSH which in turn causes the thyroid gland to swell.