This is Shelley’s question: ‘I’ve been taking Synthroid for 2 years, and my goitre has grown larger anyways. Will I need surgery or are there other things to try to keep my goiter from getting any bigger? I feel like I’m not getting enough air when I lay down at night.’
Dear Shelley, please, understand that due to liability issues, I am unable to answer specific medical questions. So my answer will be more general.
A goiter indicates there is a condition which leads to abnormal growth of the thyroid. A goiter can occur in a gland that is producing too much hormone (hyperthyroidism), too little hormone (hypothyroidism), or the balanced amount of hormone (euthyroidism).
There are two types of autoimmune thyroiditis:
- Autoimmune goitrous Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Grave’s
- Autoimmune atrophic thyroiditis
Patients with autoimmune goitrous Hashimoto’s thyroiditis have goiter and patients with autoimmune atrophic thyroiditis do not have goiter.
Any nodule or swelling you find should be investigated by medical professional. Ultrasound scan can determine if you have an enlarged thyroid or a goiter. Ultrasound scan uses sound waves from a probe to examine the structure of the thyroid gland. It can show the number and size of nodules in the thyroid and can give important information on the likelihood that a nodule is benign or a cancer. Keep in mind that most nodules and swellings are not cancerous and that most thyroid cancers are curable.
We know that by most Hashimoto’s anti-thyroid antibodies are present: TPO and/or TgAb. People who do not have thyroid antibodies most often have smaller thyroid glands and are less likely to have goiter compared to people with thyroid antibodies.
Current study shows that the degree of hypothyroidism in agoitrous TSH‐binding inhibitor immunoglobulins‐positive patients appears to be more severe than that seen in other forms of autoimmune thyroiditis. The differences in thyroid stimulating blocking antiboby activity and response to Levothyroxine replacement therapy in agoitrous and goitrous autoimmune thyroiditis suggest that the TSH‐binding inhibitor immunoglobulins (TBII) in these patients are fundamentally different. TBII blocks the action of TSH.
Nodules and goiters are often the result of the autoimmune process in the body and the existing toxicity. Thus it is important to work to reduce the autoimmune attack on the thyroid and toxicity by:
Balancing your hormones
Thyroid hormone therapy will frequently prevent goiter from getting any larger. It can restore your thyroid hormone levels to normal. Though usually does not make the goiter go completely away. This is due to the fact that sometimes there is too much scar tissue in the gland to allow goiter to get much smaller.
Check if your body converts well T4 to T3. Your thyroid hormone therapy in the form of Synthroid is just T4. You may discuss with your physician supplementing with selenium and vitamin E. in order to support better conversion.
Early Adverse Events
Furthermore, science teaches us that early adverse events can be the cause of the low conversion of T4 to T3. Negative experiences (especially in those from our early life) can cause us to deny or repress a part of our truth, block our spontaneity, often out of fear and/or shame.
Louise Hay in her book ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ explains problems with thyroid as linked to difficulties with self-expression, our ability to speak up for ourselves, ask for what we want, and do not feel we have the right to these things. The good new us that the re-programming is possible.
The other important hormone is estrogen. Estrogen dominance can also cause hypothyroidism, by inhibiting the uptake of thyroid hormones. Check your estogen level.
Take care of the thyroid inflammation and reset your immune system by:
Be careful with foods that deplete iodine: avoid goitrogenic foods (radishes, sweet potatoes, strawberries, spinach, broccoli, peanuts, turnips, cabbage, cauliflower and soybeans) when having hypothyroidism.
The wisdom of Ayurveda teaches us that the leaves of dandelion can decrease the swelling on the neck and relieve the discomfort associated with goiter.
For two weeks once or twice per day make use of the following:
Take three dandelion leaves and smear them with clarified butter on one side. Warm the leaves gently and then put them onto the goiter. Secure with a bandage and leave it on for a few hours.
Garlic is used also in Ayurveda to treat goiter and reduce the swelling in the neck. Garlic stimulates the production of glutathione, which is essential for healthy thyroid functioning. Eat frsh garlic daily and add it also to your meals.
Physical movement is important for our health. To your exercise regime add neck stretches and yoga exercises.
I hope that my answer is useful for you, Shelley.