What is the difference in a "goiter" and a thyroid cyst?

Expert Answers
besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Saying that someone has a goiter is the same thing as saying that they have an abnormally enlarged thyroid gland. This does not necessarily mean that the thyroid gland is not performing properly. For example, it may make too little hormone, too much hormone, or the right amount of hormone. The most common cause of a goiter is when people do not have enough iodine in their diet. In addition, thyroid nodules may cause goiter (multinodular goiter).

A thyroid cyst is different. A thyroid cyst is a thyroid nodule that is filled with fluid, such as blood. Sometimes these cysts have some solid material in them as well and these cysts are called complex cysts. Most of the time they are very small but they can become large enough that they can bee seen on the neck.

thewriter | Student

Thyroid cysts are usually small nodules that contain fluid. They are usually noticed when their size starts to grow larger and this causes pain and difficulty in swallowing. Some cysts are filled with solid cancerous substances and these need to be operated on and removed to prevent damage to the body.

Goitre is a condition that leads to the thyroid gland becoming enlarged. This happens when the gland is not functioning properly. There are many reasons for goitre to occur, the most common one being a lack of iodine in the diet. As iodine is essential for the production of hormones by the thyroid, it swells up when the right amount of iodine is not consumed. Goitre can also be caused by congenital disorders, thyroid cancer, side effects of some medications, etc.

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