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A goiter is a swelling in the neck due to an enlarged thyroid gland from various causes, such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. The size may range from a single small nodule to a large neck lump. The swollen thyroid can put pressure on the windpipe and esophagus which can cause a cough, wheezing, breathing difficulties or swallowing difficulties. Treatment of a goiter depends on the underlying cause and the presence or absence of symptoms.
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital.