Goiter refers to an abnormal swelling of the thyroid gland, a endocrine gland which is located at the base of the neck. Goiter is hyperplasia of the thyroid gland, ideally to compensate for its decreased efficiency, though the condition is rarely associated with hypothyroidism. Goiter can be effectively managed with home remedies and natural therapy.
What are the Causes of Goiter
Though in most of the cases iodine deficiency is the prominent cause of goiter, there are several other causes of goiter. These cases include,
- Congenital hypothyroidism which is an inborn error associated with defect in the synthesis of the thyroid hormone
- Hashimoto thyroiditis, an autoimmune disorder which gradually destroys the thyroid gland tissue is also associated with the goiter. The prevalence of the condition is 1.5 in 1000 population
- Pituitary disease, which may result in hyper stimulation of the thyroid gland can also be associated with goiter
- Thyroiditis, which may be acute or chronic in nature may result in goiter
- Thyroid cancer is also observed to be one of the causes for development of goiter and enlargement of the thyroid gland
Though in most cases, goiter is asymptomatic, there are certain symptoms that are associated with the condition, especially when the goiter is extremely large in size,
- Presence of an anterior neck mass may be associated with compression of local structures around the thyroid gland.
- In some most of the symptomatic patients, goiter is associated with symptoms of hypothyroidism like sluggishness, lethargy, obesity, etc may be present.
- In some other cases, especially toxic goiters however symptoms of hyperthyroidism like weight loss, anxiety, apprehension, palpitations, hyperactivity, heat intolerance, etc may be observed. Exophthalmoses, a condition associated with protrusion of the eyeballs may also be observed in patients with hyperthyroidism
Home Remedies for Goiter
Iodine supplementation is the most effective solution to goiter. Consuming salt fortified with iodine can help alleviate most of the symptoms associated with goiter. However there are some other home remedies that have been found to be effective in management of goiter,
- In goiters associated with symptoms of hyperthyroidism, almonds, which is a rich source of Vitamin E and unsaturated fats is considered to be very effective. Consuming swamp cabbage juice is also associated with profound benefits
- Consumption of dandelion leaves can help reduce the discomfort and swelling associated with goiter. Local application has also been found to be beneficial
- Flax seeds are also used to treat goiter. Flax seeds are also rich in omega 3 fatty acids and help in shrinking the size of the goiter and normalize thyroid functions
- Avoid smoking and consumption of alcohol