Combating the Side Effects of a Botched Thyroidectomy the Natural Way

( - A few years ago, a friend of mine became the victim of medical malpractice. She had been suffering from Graves disease for nearly ten years, and her endocrinologist convinced her that getting rid of her thyroid gland was the only solution.

My friend opted for a complete thyroidectomy, hoping she would finally be relieved of the discomfort that she had been experiencing as a result of an overactive thyroid gland. The surgery, however, was not a success.

The surgeon nicked her parathyroid glands and injured a laryngeal nerve. As a result, she developed permanent hypoparathyroidism and also found it difficult to speak after the surgery.

Problems Due to Surgical Error

Parathyroid glands secrete hormones which regulate calcium and phosphorus levels in the body. Since they got damaged during surgery, my friend started suffering from inadequate parathyroid hormone production (PTH). Lack of PTH led to decreased levels of calcium (hypocalcemia) and increased levels of phosphorus (hyperphosphatemia) in her bloodstream.

Calcium is a vital mineral that provides the channel for electrical impulses to travel along the nerves. It plays an important role in the contraction of muscles and provides strength to the skeletal system. Phosphorus determines how the body uses carbohydrates and fat. It also plays a role in the repair and maintenance of cells and tissues and the formation of teeth and bones.

As a result of low calcium, my friend started experiencing muscle cramps that affected her face, abdomen, feet and legs. Spasming of muscles around her mouth, in her hands, arms and throat made it difficult for her to ignore the symptoms of hypocalcemia. Low calcium levels caused painful menstruation and headaches. She started losing hair, her skin became coarse and dry and her nails brittle. Her eyebrows started thinning. She felt very weak and depressed. Confusion and forgetfulness accompanied bouts of the blues. High phosphorus in her blood stream made her eyes red and itchy. She was either severely constipated or diarrhetic. Vomiting and nausea made it difficult for her to eat. She also developed muscle pain, joint pain and weakness.

Injury to the laryngeal nerve made it difficult for her to project her voice. Her vocal range decreased and she started suffering from voice fatigue. Difficulty while swallowing and talking, and hoarseness in her voice made it hard for her to communicate effectively.

Her endocrinologist prescribed calcium supplements and recommended a low phosphorus diet. He encouraged her to go for voice therapy. He told her that if voice therapy did not help, she would have to undergo phonosurgery to reposition or reshape her vocal cords.

He assured her that the surgery would help improve her voice function. She was given a few prescription pills that provided symptomatic relief for her ailments. The pills gave her respite, but the fact that she would have to take them everyday, for the rest of her life, made her somewhat apprehensive about their side effects.

She decided to go for natural remedies since she figured they are absolutely safe.

Ayurveda Offered Hope

My friend’s immediate concern was to address her inability to speak properly. She wanted to minimize the hoarseness in her voice. She went to an Ayurvedic practitioner who encouraged her to ingest the following naturally occurring medicines in powdered form by mixing them with 48 grams of honey and sugar:

  • Elettaria cardamomum – 6 grams
  • Cinnamomum tamala – 6 grams
  • Cinnamomum zeylanicum – 6 grams
  • Piper longum 24 grams
  • Glycyrrhiza glabra- 48 grams
  • Dactylifera – 48 grams
  • Vitis vinifera – 48 grams

Vocal chords are surrounded by a mucous membrane that needs to be kept hydrated. Although laryngeal nerve damage meant that my friend’s vocal chords would ultimately have to be reshaped or repositioned for her to be able to speak without any difficulty, Ayurvedic medicines helped keep the mucous membrane around her vocal chords well-hydrated and introduced a few helpful nutrients into her chords to soothe the irritation and hoarseness that she was experiencing. The relief, though symptomatic, minimized the raspiness in her voice.

In addition to the above-mentioned medicines, the practitioner asked her to ingest 9 grams each of Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Elettaria cardamomum, and Cinnamomum tamala.

Along with these spices, she was also told to consume 12 grams of each of the following medicines triturated in 960 grams of jaggery to help modulate her voice:

  • Piper nigrum
  • Zingiber officinale
  • Solena amplexicaulis
  • Piper chaba
  • Abies webbiana
  • Plumbago zeylanica
  • Cuminum cyminum
  • Rhus parviflora

She was asked to eat as many raisins as possible since they soothe the vocal chords and reduce voice fatigue. Raisins contain fat, protein, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, folate (B9), choline, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, minerals, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc and fluoride, sugar and dietary fiber. These nutrients helped nourish her vocal folds.

The practitioner suggested natural calcium supplements to boost her calcium levels, since they are better absorbed by the body and penetrate the cellular membrane more effectively. He recommended Ayurvedic calcium tablets made from oyster shell, Phyllanthus emblica, coral, conch shell, cowrie shell, Asparagus racemosus, Citrus × aurantiifolia, pearl, Indian tinospora, phyllanthus, and Hemidesmus indicus.

Several symptoms of hypocalcemia subsided as a result of natural calcium supplements. Tingling sensation in the arms and legs and cramping of muscles were no longer an issue to contend with. However, she still suffered from constipation and diarrhea on occasions.

The practitioner recommended a formula consisting of Emblica officinalis, Terminalia bellirica and Terminalia chebula to cure her constipation. For occasional diarrhea, he suggested that she mix one teaspoon of Psyllium husk with one cup of plain yogurt and consume it at bedtime. The mixture helped bind her stools and acted as a probiotic. He also told her to mix half a teaspoon of ginger powder and fennel powder and chew the mixture twice a day to tackle diarrhea.

Her Ayurvedic doctor suggested a low-phosphorus diet. Since meat, poultry and fish are high in phosphorus, he encouraged her to go for a lacto-vegetarian diet that is rich in legumes. Soon her phosphorus levels became optimal and the redness and itchiness in eyes vanished.

Natural Remedies Are the Way to Go

My friend was finally happy. Had she chosen allopathic treatment, she would have had to opt for a surgery to reposition or reshape her vocal chords. Ayurveda, on the other hand, helped her deal with laryngeal nerve damage without her having to undergo aciurgy. Moreover, natural calcium supplements made from oyster shell were better absorbed by her body as compared to calcium carbonate or calcium citrate. The low-phosphorus diet, recommended by her doctor, also helped her recover from the medical issues that ensued due to botched surgery. My friend swears by Ayurveda, since the medicines gave her the same symptomatic relief that allopathic drugs would have given her; but her not having to contend with the side effects of the pills made her a much happier person. She has now become a proponent of alternative medicine.

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