General Practice 2022

Bócio: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

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Bócio: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment
Bócio: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

Goiter is the enlargement of the thyroid gland that can happen as a consequence of hypo- or hyperthyroidism or iodine deficiency, for example, leading to the appearance of a kind of nodule or lump in the neck region, which becomes more rounded and wider than normal.

The goiter can usually be easily observed without great difficulty, and may be symmetrical, asymmetrical, composed of a nodule or a set of them, in these cases known as nodular or multinodular goiter.

Due to an enlarged thyroid, there may be some symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, coughing, feeling short of breath and hoarseness, in addition to the appearance of a lump in the neck.Thus, in the presence of signs and symptoms indicative of goiter, it is recommended that the endocrinologist or general practitioner be consulted so that the diagnosis can be made and the most appropriate treatment initiated.

Symptoms of goiter

The main symptom of goiter is an enlarged thyroid, which is often visible. In addition, other signs and symptoms may also develop, such as:

  • Difficulty swallowing;
  • Emergence of a lump or lump in the neck;
  • Appearance of cough;
  • Discomfort in the neck region;
  • Feeling short of breath;
  • Hoarseness.

In addition, symptoms such as easy tiredness, depression, muscle or joint pain that may indicate the presence of hypothyroidism, for example.

How the diagnosis is made

The diagnosis of goiter must be made by the endocrinologist or general practitioner through a set of tests, which determine the characteristics of the goiter and whether the goiter is benign or malignant. Initially, a physical examination is performed, in which the doctor palpates the neck, in the region where the thyroid gland is located, with the objective of identifying any alteration that is palpable and, consequently, indicative of goiter.

The doctor may also indicate the performance of thyroid imaging tests, such as ultrasound or ultrasound, which allow a better visualization of the gland, in addition to blood tests that help to evaluate the functioning of the thyroid, such as T4, T3 and TSH.

In some cases, the doctor may also indicate the performance of a biopsy or thyroid puncture, in which a small piece of the gland is removed for evaluation in the laboratory.

See more about thyroid tests.

Main causes

Goiter can develop as a result of several changes, such as:

  • Thyroid functioning disorders such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism;
  • Use of some medications;
  • Autoimmune diseases such as autoimmune thyroiditis;
  • Infections;
  • Thyroid tumor.

Goiter can also arise due to iodine deficiencies, which force the thyroid gland to work harder to capture the iodine needed for the synthesis of thyroid hormones. This forced work done by this gland leads to its increase in size and thus the appearance of goiter. In addition, there are cases where the goiter appears at birth, being in these cases known as congenital goiter.

How the treatment is done

When goiter is caused by iodine deficiencies, it is treated by administering iodine in doses 10 times the recommended daily dose for a few weeks.With this treatment, the thyroid gland is able to effortlessly capture the iodide it needs for hormone synthesis, which after a few weeks can bring it back to its normal size. However, in more severe cases it may be necessary to maintain the treatment for life.

In addition, when goiter occurs due to iodine deficiency, it is recommended that foods rich in this mineral be consumed, such as iodized s alt, salmon, tuna, eggs and milk, for example. Check out a list of foods rich in iodine.

In cases of thyroid disorders such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, treatment is not linear, and can be done using drugs such as Tapazol or Puran T4 or with radioactive iodine capsules. In cases of thyroid cancer, surgical removal of this gland may be necessary.

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