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Powdered papaya leaves and shea butter won't remove a goitre

A mixture of powdered male papaya leaves and shea butter will remove a goitre, claims a message posted on Facebook in Nigeria

Apply morning and evening until the total regression of goiter,” it says.

But will this really work? We checked.


Treatment options depend on cause of the goitre

A goitre is a lump, a painless abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland, at the base of the neck. 

It’s usually caused by lack of iodine in the diet. In some cases it may be a temporary problem that goes away without treatment. But for others it may be a sign of a serious thyroid condition that needs medical attention.

The causes and risk factors for a goitre may include iodine deficiency, autoimmune disorders, sex and age – women and people over 40 are more at risk – as well as pregnancy or menopause, and exposure to radiation.

We asked Aihanuwa Eregie, a professor of medicine and endocrinology at the University of Benin in southwestern Nigeria, about the supposed remedy.

“There are different causes of goitre, so scientifically it doesn’t make sense that you just apply something topically, and the goitre goes away,” she said.

“The options are either medical treatment or surgical treatment.”

The British National Health Service advises that with a small goitre causing no problems, the wait and see approach is recommended. But treatment for a goitre depends on the underlying cause.

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