What Is Goiter?
Goiter, an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland, can be quite serious if not taken care of properly. It can occur for many reasons in different people. It happens when the thyroid, which is a small gland inside of the neck, is not functioning normally. Since the thyroid gland produces the hormones that control a person’s metabolism, an imbalance in the thyroid gland can cause goiter. Goiter symptoms usually come about when the gland is overactive, and produces too much of a hormone which is called Hyperthyroidism, or if it doesn’t produce enough which is called Hypothyroidism.
Goiter can make it difficult to breathe and swallow because it puts a large amount of pressure on other parts of the neck including the trachea and esophagus. Goiters occur most often in women and in the elderly and can cause problems for anyone who has one. Sometimes though, goiters are simply removed for cosmetic reasons. Most people though do have an underlying problem with the thyroid gland that is causing the goiters.
The symptoms are readily obvious. They include a swelling of the neck, a feeling of tightness in your throat, coughing, difficulty breathing, having problems swallowing, and other symptoms of Hyper or Hypothyroidism. Goiters can be caused by a lack of Iodine, Grave’s Disease and Hashimoto’s Disease which are both autoimmune disorders, as well as solitary Thyroid Nodules which causes an enlarged thyroid. Thyroid cancer, or an inflammation of the thyroid in itself can also cause goiters. Even pregnancy can cause a goiter because of an enlarged thyroid gland early on in the first trimester of being pregnant.
The treatment for the goiter usually starts with treatment for the thyroid gland. However, if the size of the goiter is large enough it could be removed by surgery, or handled with prescription medication. As a last resort there is radioactive iodine treatment. Most people are leaning towards more natural remedies now though because as conventional medication only focuses on the symptoms, natural medicines focus on the underlying problem. It is just as important to treat the thyroid as it is the goiter itself. Natural medicine consisting of homeopathy, massage, and acupuncture can work wonders with some of the herbal remedies such as Bugleweed, Lemon Balm, Horsetail, and Oat straw. These herbal medicines can help to stabilize the overactive thyroid and support thyroid function that is causing the goiter. For an underactive thyroid you can use herbs such as Fucus Vesiculosis and Coleus Forskohlii. By using these herbal remedies even in times when a goiter isn’t present, you can help your thyroid without being on heavy prescription medication that can lead to other problems in your body.
Other natural ways to help your thyroid is to eat foods high in protein, eat a low fat and well balanced diet if you are overweight, and to drink bottled water. Fluoride may worsen a thyroid condition. Also, get as much iodine as you can with foods such as salt water fish, shellfish, and seaweed. For underactive thyroids they work well with the body.