What's the Best Treatment for Goiter?

Wednesday, 25 Jun 2014 12:50 PM

By Peter Hibberd, M.D.

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Question: I have a goiter the size of a small apple for several years, but it has recently started causing me problems. One that concerns me is painful spasms and I can't swallow anything that is carbonated. Also if I drink too fast, my throat seems to close off. What should I do?

Dr. Hibberd's answer:
 
Any change in your health, especially when you have pains or obstruction when swallowing, must be urgently evaluated by a physician. Sometimes neck discomfort may also be from heart disease or angina, despite the existence of a thyroid mass you describe.  
 
I cannot tell if you have another form of obstruction, a tumor or just have reflux with GERD. You deserve a focused evaluation from your M.D. without delay. All goiters should be characterized as active or inactive, and most doctors will want to further evaluate your thyroid mass before proposing whether medical or surgical remedies are needed.
 
Ask your primary doctor for a referral to an endocrinologist (a thyroid specialist). You may need to see a head and neck surgeon to care for your thyroid mass. Be sure to have your blood chemistry and thyroid function checked and consider thyroid imaging.
 
You need to avoid further delay in obtaining help.

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