What is it?
A goiter is a swelling of the thyroid gland that forms a lump in the front of the neck. The lump moves up and down when you swallow and it affects the way the thyroid functions.
The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland in the neck, just in front of the windpipe (trachea). It secret thyroid hormones, which help regulate the body’s metabolism(the processes that turns food into energy), respiration, heart rate, digestion and mood. Abnormal enlargement of the this gland just below the Adam’s apple (thyroid) causes goiter.
The size of a goitre can vary from person to person. In most cases, the swelling is small and doesn’t cause any symptoms. It may develop in anyone, but is more common in women.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms might not always be present. But if they do, then the main symptom of a goiter is a swelling in your neck. There might be nodules on thyroid, ranging from small to large in size.In more severe cases, the symptoms may include: coughing a tight feeling in your throat difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) difficulty breathing – there may be a high-pitched sound when you breathe (stridor) hoarseness in your voice
Depending on your type of goiter, you may need to increase or decrease your iodine intake at home such as iodized salt Watercress: has high amount of iodine, sulfur, germanium and antioxidant vitamins. Crush watercress to make its paste then apply it on your neck for 15-20 minutes then wash with water to reduce swelling. Dandelion leaves: Crush the dandelion leaves with water to make a paste then apply it over the swollen area for 15-20 minutes and do this daily for at least 2 weeks. Coconut oil: contains anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties. You can use it as vegetable oil for cooking or add it to smoothies, tea and coffee. Liver tonic: bring one handful dandelion greens+3 carrots+1⁄2 cucumber and lemon+ ginger root. Green tea is high in antioxidants and fluoride so have 3 cups of green tea every day. Ice bag can be applied to the throat for 20 to 30 minutes to reduce swelling. Exposure to early sunshine for about 15 minutes daily is a good way to generate the vitamin D required by the body. Increase duration of your sleep Fresh fruits and vegetables: Specific foods such as blueberries, cherries, squash, sweet potatoes, and green peppers are rich in antioxidants, nutrients that bring the thyroid gland into balance. Avocado and potatoes are great source of tyrosine. Tomato also is high in selenium which regulates thyroid hormone production so include either fresh fruit or vegetables at each meal. Iodine and selenium rich foods like iodized salt, seafood, mushroom, cod, milk, shrimps and tuna. Seaweed: has a high concentration of iodine which is the precursor of thyroid hormone. Foods high in vitamin B: meat, dairy products, salmon, grapes, watermelon and guavas. Dairy products: There is an association between vitamin D deficiency and Hashimoto’s disease. Milk has significant amounts of calcium, vitamin D, proteins, and iodine. Bananas stimulate the thyroid gland.
Foods to avoid Goitrogens: produce thiocyanate which decreases thyroid production. Goitrogenic foods include cassava, lima beans, maize, bamboo shoots, and sweet potatoes. Cruciferous vegetables contain isothiocyanates which decrease the absorption and reuptake of iodine by the thyroid gland. Caffeine, peanuts, peaches, strawberries, radishes and spinach. Gluten can increase the autoimmune attack of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Alcohol, smoking and carbonated drugs have toxic effect on the thyroid gland.
Things to watch out for
If you think you have a goitre, see your GP. They’ll do the examination of your neck and might order some tests (thyroid function tests) that can determine if thyroid is underactive or overactive
If a goiter is small and doesn’t cause any problems, you may require no treatment at all. If necessary, you may be referred to a specialist in hospital for further tests or treatment.