a goitre is a non-specific term that is used to describe any enlargement of the thyroid.
it is seen as a midline neck swelling which moves up on swallowing.
goitres are more common in women than men.
presence of a goitre does not indicate that the thyroid gland is malfunctioning (1)
it may be associated with different thyroid functional states,namely:
hyperthyroid - a gland that is producing too much hormone
hypothyroid - producing less hormone
euthyroid - producing normal amounts of hormone
a goitre indicates that there is a lesion which is causing the abnormal growth of the thyroid. (1)
thyroid disease includes thyroid enlargement and thyroid hormone dysfunction (2):
thyroid enlargement may be benign, resulting in nodules or goitre, or malignant in people with thyroid cancer
conditions causing thyroid dysfunction can be broadly divided into those that result in thyroid gland underactivity (hypothyroidism) or overactivity (thyrotoxicosis)
thyroid enlargement is common
about 15% of the UK population have clinically detectable goitres or thyroid nodules, and the lifetime risk of developing a thyroid nodule is around 5 to 10%
in many cases, thyroid glands harbouring malignancy are clinically indistinguishable from those that are not. Most people with a non-malignant enlarged thyroid gland and normal thyroid function need no treatment.