Swollen Thyroid

What does it mean when you have thyroid swollen gland?What are the Causes of Swollen Thyroid glands and swollen thyroid symptoms

Where and What Is the Thyroid?

The thyroid is a gland that is in the front of your neck in the lower section. It resembles a butterfly and controls not only your metabolism but also other hormones.

The hormones are messengers that direct the other parts of the body to react in a specific manner. In addition to helping the body make energy, the thyroid also helps it maintain and regulate the body temperature, like a mini thermostat.

What Does the Thyroid Do?

The two most important hormones the thyroid produces are triiodothyronine and thyroxine. With cumbersome names like this is it any wonder that doctors and scientists refer to them as T3 and T4?

Interestingly enough, the thyroid contains the only cells in the body that can absorb iodine. Iodine is necessary for the thyroid to produce the hormones. The thyroid first produces tyrosine and then the tyrosine combines with three iodine molecules to make T3. When it combines with four molecules, it makes T4.

Swelling from Iodine Insufficiency

Occasionally, the body doesn't get enough iodine and this causes a problem. The problem of lack of iodine is more limited today thanks to the addition of iodine to salt, but in the early days, landlocked citizens often fell prey to the lack of the substance. When there wasn't enough, the pituitary gland sends a message to the thyroid to increase the production. The action from the increased production and lack of iodine causes a condition known as a thyroid goiter, or swollen thyroid gland.

Graves' Disease

Graves' disease is another condition, which causes the thyroid to swell. This condition is an autoimmune problem where the antibodies from the immune system stimulate the thyroid to produce an overabundance of hormone. The increased stimulation leads to swollen thyroid.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy is quite a normal condition but at times it can also cause the thyroid to swell. When the woman's body changes during pregnancy, the amount of hormones they produce naturally increases. HCG, human chorionic gonadotropin increases and the hormone may increase the size of the thyroid because of swelling

Hashimoto's Disease

Hashimoto's disease causes the thyroid gland to swell also. In this case, it's another immune disorder, only instead of increasing the production of hormones; the body literally destroys the thyroid via the immune system. The damage to the gland causes it to swell.

Thyroiditis

Just like tonsillitis, an inflammation of the tonsils, your thyroid can become inflamed also and this creates thyroiditis. The inflammation makes the thyroid swell and in some cases, so much that it causes pain when you swallow. Sometimes this condition occurs when the person has either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer also may create a swelling in the neck. If you barely notice the swelling but feel pain in the neck or have difficulty swallowing, it may be an indication of a tumor in your thyroid. Thyroid cancer is very rare but it takes several tests and a doctor's diagnosis to rule it out of the reasons for the swollen thyroid .

Go to Thyroid Disease Symptoms from Swollen Thyroid