What are The Causes of Goiter?

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Goiter is popularly known for its swelling around the base of the neck. The swelling is a result of the enlargement of the thyroid gland. Sometimes it can be harmless with no symptoms and may go away with no treatment. However, a goiter can also indicate an underlying thyroid problem. Goiter symptoms may vary between individuals, where you may encounter trouble swallowing, cough, throat tightness, and sometimes difficulty breathing. The goiter Newport Beach specialist Dr. Sean P. Nikravan, MD, FACE, can help analyze your condition and provide treatments. Goiter may occur due to various factors, leading to different goiters. Usually, goiters may represent more than one health disorder. Certain issues can also increase your risk of goiters. Your provider performs a thorough diagnosis to determine the cause of your goiter and provide proper treatments. Here are among some causes of goiters.

Iodine deficiency

Lack of iodine in your body is among the main causes of goiters. Iodine is essential in making thyroid hormones that control your metabolism. A lack of iodine in your diet may not cause goiter in the US, as manufacturers usually include iodine in salt and other food products.

Vegan diets may not have enough iodine as iodine is not present in plants. But, if you live where manufacturers add iodine to salt, that may not be a problem.

You may find dietary iodine in seafood, cow’s milk, and plant food grown in iodine-rich soil.

Goiter is much more common in some parts of the world at an 80% prevailing rate. It may include isolated highland areas of America, Latin, Southeast Asia, and central Africa.


It is an overactive thyroid gland condition, where the thyroid gland forms too much thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroidism also causes goiters. It usually results from Graves’ disease, a disorder where the body’s immunity attacks the thyroid gland leading to swelling.


It is a condition that results from an underactive thyroid gland. The gland produces too little thyroid hormone, which swells when activated to produce more.

Hypothyroidism usually occurs due to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition that stimulates the immune system to attack your body cells, causing thyroid gland inflammation.


Other causes of goiters include:

Hormonal changes

Hormonal changes during puberty, menopause and pregnancy may affect your thyroid function leading to goiter.


People who smoke have an increased chance of getting goiter. Tobacco smoke contains thiocyanate, which disrupts your iodine absorption, leading to the enlargement of the thyroid gland.

Family history

You may have a goiter with a family history of the disease or thyroid-related health issues.


You are at an increased risk of having a goiter if you are over 40 years old. Older age affects your thyroid health.

Radiation therapy

Radiation exposure, especially to the neck or chest area, may interfere with your thyroid function, causing goiter.


Taking medications with lithium elevates your chance of developing goiter.

Women are more likely to have goiters than males. Seek medical attention when you notice swelling around your neck. Call Dr. Sean P. Nikravan, MD, FACE, today to schedule your consultation.