Goitre is abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland. Normally thyroid gland is not visible and can not be palpated. But in case of goitre the gland is noticeably enlarged.
In certain cases the real cause of the goiter cannot be established. On the other hand in lot of the cases the real cause can be easily detected.Possible Causes of GoitreIodine DeficiencyThe leading cause of goitre is insufficient amount of iodine in the body. This problem has been solved in majority of countries by simple usage of iodine enriched salt. Still in some countries the process of adding iodine to table salt in not conducted and the condition is still present.
Iodine can be found in numerous foods such as seafood and in certain plants and grains. It is also present in cow's milk.
In case of iodine insufficiency the thyroid gland cannot function properly and cannot synthesize thyroid hormones. Insufficient amount of hormones forces the gland to produce more hormones and this finally results in goitre.Over function of the Thyroid Gland Another cause of goitre can be over function of thyroid gland. If a gland is functioning more than necessary it produces the increased level of hormones. High levels of hormones consequently lead to goitre. This is evident in conditions such as Grave's disease. Underactive Thyroid GlandEven if thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones the goiter may occur. This happens as the body is not properly supplied with thyroid hormones. One of the conditions that lead to insufficient production of thyroid hormones and consequent goiter include Hashimoto's thyroiditis.SmokingSome believe that there is a connection between goitre and smoking. This can be explained by the present of specific substance called thiocyanate in tobacco. Thyocyanate can affect the utilization of the iodine present in the body.Other Causes of GoitrePregnancy can lead to changed production of thyroid hormones and result in goiter. Similarly, the hormonal imbalance during puberty may be additional potential cause of goitre.
Certain medications can be the culprits of goitre. Lithium is only one of them.
Even in case of bacterial, viral or parasitic infections a goiter can occur.
Certain foods can act goitrogenic. Namely their usage can lead to outbreak of goitre. These foods include spinach, peanuts, soy and tofu.
Goitre can happen if one consumes plenty of food rich in iodine.
In certain cases exposure to radiation as in case of radiation therapy can result in enlargement of thyroid gland.
And finally, benign as well as malign tumors can be the cause of goitre.