What is a simple goitre?

Written by: Top Doctors®
Published: | Updated: 26/10/2023
Edited by: Sophie Kennedy

A simple goitre is an enlargement of the thyroid usually related to an immunological problem.  Both the swelling of the thyroid gland itself and associated hormonal imbalances can, in some cases, affect its normal functioning. In this informative guide, we discuss the symptoms related to a simple goitre, as well as treatment options and management of the condition.

What are the symptoms of a simple goitre?

Generally, a simple goitre is asymptomatic, although it may present localised symptoms when it grows in size, such as an altered voice, cough, and shortness of breath or mild dysphagia.

When associated with an excessive production of thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism), this can give rise to symptoms like nervousness, weight loss, hand tremors, excessive sweating, tachycardia, insomnia or diarrhoea, among others.

Treatment of simple goitre

A goitre with a few nodules, of a small size (less than 2 cm) and no suspicion of malignancy, can be kept under observation by an endocrinology department. When there is associated hyperthyroidism it is necessary to administer anti-thyroid drugs to reduce thyroid hormone levels.

Surgical treatment is performed in cases of multiple nodules with progressively increasing size or suspicion of malignancy. The thyroid gland is removed partially or completely. In cases of malignancy, it may be necessary to remove some nodes in the vicinity of the thyroid.

Post treatment

Patients who have undergone a complete thyroid excision need a lifetime replacement of thyroid hormone, provided through medication. If half the gland is removed, the next steps will depend on individual diagnosis and whether the functioning thyroid part that has not been removed compensates for the lack of hormonal production of the area of thyroid removed.

Sometimes calcium and vitamin D supplements are needed for a few weeks, but rarely for life. Normal life is resumed in full after discharge from hospital.


By Topdoctors
Endocrinology, diabetes & metabolism

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