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Thyroid Diseases

Do I Have a Goiter?

04/05/2007

Question:

I had an ultrasound with the findings of: right lobe 4.8x 1.7 x 1.6cm and left lobe 4.2 x 1.5x 2.0cm heterogenous thyroid echotexture, no focal masses. What does this mean? Could this be a goiter? My throat is always sore, and the pressure on my windpipe does make it hard to eat and sleep. Lab results show that I have normal thyroid hormone levels. My symptoms have been muscle weakness, weight loss, despite I eat the same amount of food, thinning of hair & skin, fatigue and vision problems. My physician has not mentioned anything about a biopsy. I didnt realize an ultrasound could rule out masses. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you

Answer:

Your thyroid is very slightly enlarged. The heterogeneous texture suggests that you may have a very common condition called a "multinodular goiter." This will probably be of very little significance to your health, though your thyroid blood test should probably be checked periodically (once a year would be plenty) to be sure it isn't beginning to make too much or too little thyroid hormone. The size should also be checked periodically to see if it is getting bigger and bigger. If it doesn't grow much and your blood tests remain normal then it will probably have no effect on your health at all.

Your sore throat probably has nothing to do with your thyroid. If it is sore on the inside, where you swallow, then that is probably not your thyroid. Thyroid pain is on the outside of the throat just above your breastbone, and is usually accompanied by tenderness to touch in that area.

If your thyroid blood test is normal then your muscle weakness, weight loss, thinning of hair & skin, fatigue and vision problems are not due to your thyroid. You and your doctor need to look for other causes.

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Response by:

Thomas A Murphy, MD, FACP, FACE Thomas A Murphy, MD, FACP, FACE
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University