The thyroid gland can become enlarged (goitre/struma) or can produce too much or too little thyroid hormone. The main symptom is fatigue, accompanied by other specific complaints. Self-treatment without a doctor’s supervision is not recommended.
Enlargement of the thyroid gland (goitre/struma)
- Palpable enlargement of the thyroid gland, with or without nodules
- Rarely, shortness of breath, hoarseness, sore throat or earache
Insufficient hormone production (hypothyroidism)
- Fatigue and low blood pressure
- Skin and hair are dry and rough
- Weight gain in spite of reduced appetite
- Women mostly experience menstrual disorders, while men suffer from erectile dysfunction
Excess hormone production (hyperthyroidism)
Causes and treatment
- Autoimmune disorders (Basedow’s disease, Hashimoto's disease)
- Congenital dysfunctions
- Side effect of operation or medication
- Iodine deficiency/excess
Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital
- Testing of blood hormone levels
- Ultrasound (sonography) of thyroid gland
- Other specialised tests (e.g. scintigraphy)
- Examination of tissue samples under a microscope
- Operation (removal of thyroid gland)
- Radiation therapy
What can I do myself?
- Self-treatment with iodine tablets is not recommended as they won't make a goitre go away.
In Switzerland, table salt has been iodised since 1925 to prevent iodine deficiency.
When to see a doctor?
- Any enlargement of the thyroid gland (in particular fast-growing)
- Persistent symptoms of insufficient or excess hormone production
- Changes in weight (weight loss, weight gain)
- Digestive problems (diarrhoea, constipation)
- Fatigue, restlessness, trembling
thyroid disorders, thyroid disorder, goitre, struma, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, Hashimoto's disease