I recently developed two huge thyroid nodules. After reading everything I could on the subject and seeing functional medicine doctors, here’s how I shrank my thyroid nodule naturally.
About two months into quarantine, after not going to the grocery store, eating out, seeing friends or family and spending all day, everyday with my kids alone – I found myself sitting down to feed them and feeling a huge lump in my neck.
It was right at the base of my thyroid and it seemed to have popped up overnight. I kept running my fingers over my neck, wondering what the hell this foreign and gigantic object was. Had my thyroid swollen to a million times its size? Was it a cyst? And worst of all, could it be the big C?
You can see how huge my thyroid was in the video below.
When this happened, we were deep into quarantine. At that point everyone was still on lockdown, no one was leaving their houses or socializing. I had to stop working because I didn’t have anyone to watch my kids. The virus was still so new and no one really knew the extent of damage it could cause, so we were bracing for the worst.
All of this to say – I was stressed the fuck out. I had no help with my toddlers. My husband is the CFO of a cosmetics company and was working long hours applying for loans to keep everyone paid while still figuring out how to pay all of the company’s vendors. He was stressed and he was working all damn day.
And worst of all – I wasn’t sleeping. Eighteen months prior (since the birth of my second son) I didn’t get more than 4-5 hours of sleep a night. For the first year, I got maybe 3. Our son had a sleep disorder that was never diagnosed, but every doctor, specialist and sleep consultant said the same thing: we can’t help you but the kid needs to sleep more.
Lack of sleep.
My sweet boy would wake every 45 minutes for the first half of the night, sleep from 11-1am-ish and wake up constantly until he was up for the day at 4:30 in the morning. And he refused to nap. No one had ever seen a baby sleep so little. Even as a newborn, he could easily go 8+ hours with no nap.
So around 18 months, right around when quarantine started, he started sleeping a bit better. Only getting up 1-2x a night and waking up at 5am. But I was still unable to sleep.
And when quarantine got going, I slept even less. It must’ve been from the stress, but I would sleep from 10pm-12am, wake up from 12am-5am, sleep from 5am-6am after crying myself to sleep. It was one of the most horrible things I’ve ever experienced, and I grew up with no dad and a crazy drug addict for a mother.
I felt completely wired. I woke up easily at 5am-6am and just got through each day. I was taking good care of myself in other ways: walking 5 miles a day, eating healthy and nourishing meals, taking epsom salt baths 5x a week. But when stress is that high – the body is going to react.
I was having issues with my iodine levels as well.
I had routinely tested low for iodine. I’d supplement here and there but never exclusively. Something told me not to. I normally correct any nutrient deficiency immediately via diet and supplementation, but I just didn’t do much about the low iodine than trying to eat more iodine rich foods.
When I got blood work done in January, my iodine still came back low. I decided it was time to supplement.
Because I had supplemented with a low dose before (1mg) and it didn’t raise my iodine levels, I decided to do a higher dose for a short time (11mg). This was right around the time my thyroid blew up.
Once I felt the enlarged thyroid, I immediately stopped supplementing with iodine. Normally thyroid conditions like hypothyroid, goiters and nodules are due to low iodine.
Thinking I was supplementing with too high a dose and that my levels were now off, my doctor immediately ordered blood work…that showed normal iodine levels.
So my levels were finally within a normal range, but my thyroid was clearly off.
At the time I was also careful to supplement with magnesium (which I do all the time) and I was also taking selenium; these are two minerals that are recommended to be taken along with iodine supplementation.
Until we figured this out, I stopped all iodine.
My doctor ordered a ton of tests, he checked every possible and available test to determine thyroid health – everything came back normal. We were at a loss.
I went and got an ultrasound and found that I had one large thyroid nodule and another smaller one. It is recommended to receive a biopsy is the thyroid is larger than 1-2cm depending on some other factors. Mine was over 4cm but didn’t look suspicious.
I was told to take a wait and see approach, but that’s not really my style. So here’s what I did.
I went back to my doctor. He ran more tests, including tests checking for cancer, elevated white blood cells and inflammation (CRP). I saw an endocrinologist, who ran even more tests. The blood work came back normal, but she recommended a biopsy.
First, I tried to sleep. I started seeing a doctor who specializes in sleep and insomnia. It helped a bit but I was still waking up regularly. More on this later.
I cut out all iodine immediately. I looked for an iodine-free multivitamin and settled on Thorne. I like the brand, they’re a high quality supplement company.
But I want to be clear here: it’s incredibly important to get your iodine levels checked if you have a nodule, goiter or cyst.
Most thyroid nodules, goiters and cysts are caused by low iodine and in rare cases – excessive iodine. I later found out that many doctors don’t recommend iodine supplementation because the balance is so critical. Not too high, not too low. The jury is still out until more research is poured into this area. But be sure to work with your doctor on your iodine levels.
I started applying OxiCell.
Intuitively, I feel like this is what shrank the nodules. As soon as I started using it, a lot of the discomfort associated with a huge lump in my neck started to go away.
It was more comfortable swallow, move my neck and take deep breaths. I felt a bit of a pulling or a strain in my neck, and almost immediately after I began applying this to my neck – the discomfort began to dissipate.
It was recommended to me by my buddy Meghan Birt, who was having some similar issues. I used it in the morning, afternoon and before bed.
Oxicell is a powerful blend of glutathione – the body’s master antioxidant, blended with several other antioxidants to promote proper cellular function and protects cells against free radicals and oxidative damage.
You can find Oxicell HERE.
I am NOT saying Oxicell with solve your thyroid nodule issues, but I am saying it was helpful for me.
We moved from just outside of Washington, DC (I’m talking blocks outside, not even a mile) to Mount Pleasant, SC. Mount Pleasant is a suburb of Charleston and where we live is two miles away from gorgeous Sullivan’s Island.
I thought the stress of the move, packing up our big house only to downsize, moving from everything and everyone we’ve ever known would cause the thyroid nodules to get worse.
But something interesting happened.
Back to sleep.
We have been here for three and a half weeks at this point. When we left DC, I wasn’t experiencing acute insomnia, but I wasn’t sleeping well either. I was getting probably six hours of interrupted sleep a night. I hadn’t soundly slept through the night in two years at this point.
Once our bed was delivered, I slept 8 hours straight through that first night. And most nights since then, I sleep 7-8 hours without interruption. It’s glorious.
Stress. Or lack thereof?
My stress levels are much lower. I don’t know what it is about living here, maybe it’s the beach, the vibe, the friendliness; but Scott and I both feel like we’re on vacation. Even now, sitting in my office working. It feels like a treat being here.
We all know that stress can cause and exacerbate disease. I’ll never know if stress was the direct cause of my thyroid nodules. But at the very least, stress made the situation worse.
Here are some of my favorite ways to reduce stress:
- go to bed and wake up at the same time
- create a morning and bedtime routine
- eat at roughly the same time each day
- walk and exercise regularly
- read good, uplifting books
- listen to good, uplifting or funny podcasts
- take epsom salt baths
- eliminate negative people and situations from your life
Everyone has varying levels and biological needs and differences. What worked for me may not work for you. What caused my thyroid nodules are likely not what caused yours.
But here is some solid advice I can offer:
- find a functional medicine doctor that is going to run an in-depth thyroid panel including TSH, thyroxine, triiodothyronine, reverse T3 and thyroid antibodies
- find a doctor that is going to help you reach ideal thyroid levels, not just within the “normal range”
- run tests for vitamin and mineral imbalances and deficiencies as well, particularly zinc, magnesium, B12, iodine, copper, zinc and vitamin D
- practice stress lowering techniques, particularly journaling, meditation and gratitude journals
- sleep as deeply and soundly as you can, invest in a sleep mask or make sure your room is completely dark, no screens an hour before bed, read a boring book, take an epsom salt bath and take some magnesium and CBD before bed
To be honest, I have no idea why my thyroid blew up and suddenly shrank. But I didn’t sit by and let it happen without trying to figure out why. I’m still working with my doctor to run additional blood tests to try to figure out the root cause.
Find a functional medicine practitioner that will run all the tests for you. Take excellent care of yourself. And even though it’s easier said than done, try not to stress!