Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
(603) 742-5252
Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+) font size
Site Search

Endocrine glands
Endocrine glands

Thyroid enlargement - scintiscan
Thyroid enlargement - scintiscan

Thyroid gland
Thyroid gland


Colloid nodular goiter is the enlargement of an otherwise normal thyroid gland.

See also: Goiter

Alternative Names:

Endemic goiter

Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Colloid nodular goiters are also known as endemic goiters. They are usually caused by not getting enough iodine in the diet .

Colloid nodular goiters tend to occur in certain areas with iodine-poor soil. These areas are usually away from the sea coast. An area is defined as endemic for goiter if more than 10% of children ages 6 - 12 have goiters.

Certain things in the environment may also cause thyroid enlargement.

Small- to moderate-sized goiters are relatively common in the United States. The Great Lakes, Midwest, and Intermountain regions were once known as the "goiter belt." The routine use of iodized table salt now helps prevent this deficiency.

Risk factors for colloid nodular goiters include:

  • Being over age 40
  • Being female
  • Having a family history of goiter
  • Living in an area where there is endemic iodine deficiency
  • Not getting enough iodine in your diet


Signs and tests:


Thyroid hormone replacement therapy is prescribed for iodine deficiency. If you can increase the iodine content of your diet, you may no longer need thyroid hormone replacement therapy.

You may need surgery to remove all or part of the thyroid gland if you have a large goiter that doesn't go away with treatment or that restricts swallowing and breathing.

If the goiter is producing too much thyroid hormone, treatment may be needed with:

  • Antithyroid medication
  • Radioactive iodine
  • Surgery

Support Groups:

Expectations (prognosis):

The outlook is good with treatment. A persistent goiter may become toxic. This can cause symptoms of excess thyroid hormones.

Sudden enlargement of a thyroid gland may mean there is internal bleeding or an immune disorder. It requires immediate medical attention.


Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if you have signs of thyrotoxicosis:


Use iodized salt or foods supplemented with iodine.

Review Date: 6/17/2008
Reviewed By: Elizabeth H. Holt, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Section of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Yale University. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Find What You Need

About Us
Social Media Agreement
Joint Notice
Web Privacy Policy
WDH Staff Portal

Centers & Services

Cancer Center
Cardiovascular Care
Joint Replacement
Women & Children's
Physician Offices
Other Services

Conditions & Treatments

Health Information
Ebola Information

Support Services

Support Groups
Dental Center
Social Work
Food & Nutrition
Integrative Wellness
Spiritual Care
Concerns & Grievances
Homecare and Hospice

For Patients

Pay Your Bill Online
Pricing Estimates
Financial Assistance
Interpreter Services
Surgery Preparation
Medical Record Request
Advance Directives
Clinical Research & Trials

For Healthcare Professionals

Work and Life
Financial Well-Being
Career and Growth

The Wentworth-Douglass Health System includes:



Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100