Goiter is a condition in which the thyroid gland is swollen. Because the thyroid is located in the front of the neck, once it enlarges, it causes a visible protrusion in the neck. This swelling is normally painless; however, if it becomes too large, it can lead to sore throat, coughing or even breathing difficulties. The condition can result from a number of issues and is similarly treated in a variety of methods, the most common being surgery. But, are there ways for goiter treatment without surgery?
Goiter Treatments Without Surgery
Some factors determine whether a goiter can be treated without surgery. Consideration is put on factors such as underlying cause, symptoms, the age of the patient and other reasons. Goiter can be treated with medication and home remedies, but extreme cases require surgery to fix. When the goiter is relatively mild, medication will be recommended.
- Sometimes the goiter may be quite small in size and mild in effect. In this case, the thyroid gland may normally be functioning, and there will be no need for medication. This is the period when the doctor will advise you to wait it out as the goiter may clear on its own.
- When the goiter is as a result of an autoimmune condition known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (a disease where the thyroid is attacked by the immune system), the doctor will recommend hormonal supplements to rectify the situation. In this case, the healing is a process, and the goiter may not disappear, but it will get smaller in size. When this happens, the thyroid gland will resume normal functioning.
- There are cases when the thyroid gland operates on overdrive, resulting in a condition known as hyperthyroidism. In such cases, treatment will depend on the cause. For instance, a patient may be put on radioactive iodine which is taken orally and destroys the rogue thyroid cells.
- Multinodular goiter is when there are nodules that form in the thyroid gland. If the thyroid is functioning normally, there may not be a need for medication, but if the goiter continues to grow in size, the patient may have trouble swallowing and breathing. Multinodular goiter treatment without surgery involves taking radioactive iodine which shrinks the nodules. Surgery is needed if the buds reappear after treatment.
Iodine deficiency has been found to be the primary cause of goiter. Regular intake of iodine-rich foods is recommended to prevent goiter. Seafood, eggs, dairy and iodized salt are rich in iodine. The recommended daily requirement of iodine is 150mg. In case you are planning to increase your intake of iodine, make sure that you get a go-ahead from your doctor because excessive intake of iodine can also cause goiter.
Kelp is seaweed that is rich in minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. It can help significantly in treating goiter without surgery. Kelp contains a high quantity of iodine which helps in proper functioning of the thyroid gland. You can easily find kelp in most Asian markets and natural food stores. Kelp is a versatile vegetable and can be taken in a number of ways including:
- Capsule form taken as a supplement
- Powdered kelp added to smoothies
- Substitute kelp for salt since it is salty
Watercress does a wonderful job in goiter treatment without surgery. It is high in iodine, antioxidants and other minerals such germanium and sulfur. All these nutrients and minerals are beneficial in the proper functioning of your thyroid. Below are a handful of ways to enjoy watercress:
- Mix two tablespoons of the juice of watercress in a glass of water and drink two times daily for one month.
- Grind watercress into a paste and apply topically on the goiter. Leave for half an hour; then wash off. Repeat the process for a week.
The leaves of a dandelion are ayurvedic and can be used to treat goiter without surgery. Dandelion reduces the swelling and discomfort associated with goiter.
- Gently warm dandelion leaves and place them on the goiter. Fasten it with a bandage and leave it on for a few hours. Alternatively, you can smear clarified butter on one side and stick it on the swelling.
- Mix clarified butter with a paste made from dandelion leaves. Warm the mixture gently and apply on the goiter. Leave for a few hours.
Garlic stimulates the production of glutathione which helps in the proper functioning of the thyroid. Garlic can also help to reduce the swelling of the thyroid gland.
• Cook your meals with garlic often or chew three cloves of garlic.
• If you find the taste of garlic overwhelming, you can take garlic supplements.
NOTE: talk to your doctor before embarking on any herbal remedy.
Diet for Goiter
Effective treatment of goiter requires a balance of medication and appropriate diet. It is good to stick to fruits and juices during the healing period of goiter. Stave off too many sugary foods and instead stick to light meals and vegetable juices. Some foods have been known to speed up the recovery process in goiter treatment without surgery.
- Seafood, vegetables and citrus fruits are high in iron and other minerals which are helpful for treating goiter.
- Foods that are rich in vitamin A such as liver, green vegetables, squash, red pepper, and peas are helpful in treatment of goiter without surgery,also fruits such as papayas, mangoes, and peach.
- Vitamin B rich foods such as dairy, cereals, broccoli, watermelons, okra, avocados and guavas
- Bananas help to stimulate the thyroid. Pineapples and fresh pineapple juice are also helpful.
The anti-goiter diet also comes with lifestyle changes.
- Instead of three heavy meals a day, opt for six light meals a day with a generous serving of fruits.
- Make sure to have a healthy balanced breakfast. Avoid skipping breakfast as it is the most important meal of the day.
- It is essential to have a consultation with your doctor before starting on a diet.
- Take a cold shower to stimulate the thyroid gland.
- Avoid processed foods as they contain an excessive amount of sodium
- Do neck stretches that have been recommended for you by a certified practitioner.
- Coconut oil is known to speed up recovery period.
- Try alternative treatment such as massages and reflexology for goiter treatment without surgery.