A goitre may be an enlargement of the thyroid gland, which is located in the neck. Sometimes the lump is so large that it looks unsightly; it can affect swallowing and talking, and may also cause coughing as it presses on the windpipe. A goitre signifies a disturbance in the very important functions of the thyroid.
The thyroid produces two hormones, T3 and T4. These act on the metabolism (the chemical processes that make your bo4r function, including producing energy). The thyroid is controlled by the pituitary gland, the master gland in the lower front part of the brain. The pituitary produces thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which causes the thyroid cells to synthesise T3 and T4, using iodine as the active ingredient. If there’s a low level of iodine in the blood, fewer hormones are produced and signals go to the pituitary to produce more TSH to stimulate the growth of thyroid cells and thus more hormones. If there is overproduction of thyroid hormones, the metabolic rate increases and can lead to hyperthyroidism, a state in which the body becomes what I call ‘over burnt’. The heart rate goes up, triggering palpitations. There can be excessive sweating, anxiety, diarrhoea, muscle stiffness and the eyes may bulge. Over time, you may lose weight.
If the opposite happens – hypothyroidism – the body slows down and you feel cold, lethargic and often depressed. You gain weight because your body can’t use food energy efficiently and menstrual disturbances are common.
Both conditions may cause the thyroid gland to swell into a goitre. A multi-nodule goitre is like having several goitres or lumps of thyroid tissue. These growths can appear anywhere in the body and are usually referred to its tumours, but, as you say, yours are non-cancerous. They can also occur without the production of extra thyroid hormones. It seems this may be happening in your case –I assume there is no change in hormone production, otherwise your specialist would have diagnosed an imbalance through blood tests and prescribed medication to stimulate or suppress thyroid activity. However, you should be monitored regularly to make sure your enlarged thyroid doesn’t suddenly become active and start to produce more hormones.
To stabilise your condition, and for anyone with hyper- or hypothyroidism, I suggest the following:
- Control stress, which increases the demand for thyroid hormones. Practise yoga and meditation, and make sure you sleep well. Before bed, do the corpse pose, which is detailed in Therapeutic Yoga, the book I co-wrote with Jiwan Brar. The Ayurvedic supplements Biorelax : one at bedtime for two months, or Brento tablets; one at bedtime for two months, help to calm you down and induce sleep. Having a siesta helps to alleviate daytime or work-related stress.
- Avoid stimulants, including alcohol, coffee and cigarettes.
- Make sure your iodine levels are balanced; take sea kelp : one every other day for a month, and then twice a week for six months. You should also eat seaweed (fresh, or sprinkle dried nori flakes on soups and stews) and other iodine-containing foods such as deep-sea fish, bass, haddock cod and shellfish. Additionally, reduce foods that block iodine absorption such as peanuts, soya mustard and the cabbage family.
- People with hypothyroidism often gain weight the best remedy is to take plenty of exercise (at least 30 minutes daily) and eat proper meals with plenty of fine protein, such as eggs, fish, chicken breast and lean meat, plus plenty of vegetables, particularly dark green ones. Eat one starchy meal a day, based on carbohydrates such as whole wheat or rice pasta, couscous and brown rice. Avoid potatoes, carrots and beetroot, which are high in sugars.
- Keep warm, and get some sun when possible, as this helps thyroid function.
- Consult an experienced homoeopath, Reiki practitioner or healer. These therapies may not directly reduce the growths but they can help to balance the body and keep the nervous system in harmony.
- Massage your neck and shoulders so that your pituitary functions are kept in balance; you will find information about how to do this in the video library on this website and/or go to a professional massage therapist.