What is the difference between a toxic and nontoxic goiter?

Updated: Apr 02, 2020
  • Author: James R Mulinda, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Answer

Goiters are described in a variety of ways, including the following:

  • Toxic goiter: A goiter that is associated with hyperthyroidism is described as a toxic goiter. Examples of toxic goiters include diffuse toxic goiter (Graves disease), toxic multinodular goiter, and toxic adenoma (Plummer disease).

  • Nontoxic goiter: A goiter without hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism is described as a nontoxic goiter. It may be diffuse or multinodular, but a diffuse goiter often evolves into a nodular goiter. Examination of the thyroid may not reveal small or posterior nodules. Examples of nontoxic goiters include chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis (Hashimoto disease), goiter identified in early Graves disease, endemic goiter, sporadic goiter, congenital goiter, and physiologic goiter that occurs during puberty.


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