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Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid gland. Hashimoto’s usually leads to hypothyroidism – an underactive thyroid. Since constipation is a common symptom of a slow thyroid, enemas are naturally of interest to some patients with hypothyroidism. In this article, we’ll explore other potential benefits – and side effects – of enemas for people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and hypothyroidism.
An enema is a technique used to stimulate stool evacuation and is primarily a treatment to help relieve constipation. During an enema, a liquid solution is injected into the rectum to clear out stool from the colon.
Research shows that enemas can effectively relieve constipation and clean out excess or impacted waste. Enemas have some downsides and must be done correctly to avoid physical or chemical damage to the rectum or colon.
What about the other proposed benefits of enemas? There’s anecdotal evidence – and limited research – supporting the claims that enemas help with:
Interest in enemas for possible treatment of Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism and their symptoms is growing. Let’s look at the potential benefits of different enemas for thyroid patients.
Water enemas are the simplest type and involve using warm water to stimulate bowel movements and relieve constipation. Water enemas may be beneficial for people with hypothyroidism who experience constipation or bloating.
Coffee enemas have been used for centuries as a natural remedy for digestive issues. The caffeine in coffee enemas stimulates peristalsis in the colon, leading to increased bowel movements. This can help to reduce constipation and bloating in people with hypothyroidism. Coffee enemas also stimulate the liver and gallbladder, promoting detoxification and improving bowel movements. Additionally, coffee enemas have been suggested to aid in managing Hashimoto’s disease by reducing inflammation, improving liver and gallbladder function, and stimulating the vagus nerve and brain function, which is beneficial for people with autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
With saltwater enemas, the salt in the water helps draw water into the colon, softening stool and making it easier to pass. Saltwater enemas may also help to reduce inflammation in the gut, which is beneficial for people with autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Herbal enemas are enemas that contain herbal preparations. These can include chamomile, peppermint, ginger, or other herbs known to promote digestion, reduce inflammation, and soothe the gut. Herbal enemas may be beneficial for people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and hypothyroidism who experience digestive discomfort such as bloating, gas, or constipation.
Probiotic enemas contain live bacteria that are beneficial for gut health. These bacteria can help to reduce inflammation, improve bowel movements, and support the immune system. Probiotic enemas may be helpful for people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and hypothyroidism who experience digestive issues such as bloating, gas, or diarrhea.
There’s another type of enema that’s generating interest among thyroid patients. Kshara Basti is a type of Ayurvedic treatment that involves the use of medicated enemas. “Kshara” refers to an alkaline substance derived from plants, while “Basti” refers to enema. This treatment is traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat conditions, particularly those related to the digestive system.
In the context of Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism, the potential benefits of Kshara Basti are not well-researched or scientifically proven. Still, proponents of Ayurvedic medicine believe that, based on the general principles of Ayurveda, this type of therapeutic enema is intended to support the thyroid and immune system.
Balancing doshas: Ayurveda believes in three doshas or energies (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) that govern the body’s functions. Imbalances in these doshas are thought to lead to disease. Kshara Basti is believed to balance the Vata dosha, which could theoretically help manage symptoms in various conditions, including autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s.
Improving digestive health: Kshara Basti is primarily used for digestive disorders in Ayurveda. Given increasing evidence linking gut health with immune function, improving digestive health could positively impact autoimmune conditions.
Detoxification: Like other types of enemas, Kshara Basti is believed to help detoxify the body by removing waste from the colon. This could potentially reduce the load on the immune system and improve overall health.
A published case report suggested that Kshara Basti could be effective for thyroid patients. A case study reported on a woman diagnosed with both rheumatoid arthritis and subclinical hypothyroidism. The Ayurvedic therapeutic enemas she received resulted in a significant reduction in her thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level within several days. Her TSH, in fact, dropped from around 31 down to 16 in just five days. She also experienced symptom relief.
It’s important to note that while Kshara Basti shows promise, more extensive, longer studies are needed to validate the results.
Remember that before using enemas to support your health – including thyroid health – it’s important to consult a healthcare professional. Enemas can have risks and downsides if not done correctly, including electrolyte imbalances, dehydration, an increased risk of infection, and allergic reactions. When done correctly and with supervision, enemas can be valuable in promoting gut health and overall wellness.
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