Q: What is the treatment for a swollen thyroid? – J.J.
A: A swollen thyroid gland is called a goiter. The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormone which regulates heart rate, blood pressure, growth and breathing. There are several conditions that can cause a goiter such as hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism and some tht are associated with normal levels of thyroid hormones.
When the goiter becomes very large it can cause symptoms because it presses on adjacent structures such as the esophagus and trachea. Symptoms that can occur related to a large goiter include problems with swallowing, shortness of breath, hoarseness, and stridor (a wheezing sound that results from turbulent air flow in and out of the trachea).
Treatment for a goiter depends on the cause of the goiter. Goiters are treated with medications, surgery, treatment with radioactive iodine and observation.