Hypothyroidism

hypothyr

The incidence of Hypothyroidism is increasing day by day, and there is increasing demand to treat the disease through the Ayurvedic system of medicine, as it is completely natural and safe. Hypothyroidism can be treated effectively if we understand the disease and select the proper drugs, according to the condition and exact aetiology of the disease.

Causes

  1. Primary Hypothyroidism, caused by the inability of the thyroid gland to make T3 and T4, is called primary hypothyroidism;

Primary hypothyroidism is a condition of decreased hormone production by the thyroid gland. It accounts for 95% of hypothyroidism cases; only five percent or less are suprathyroid in origin. The most common cause of primary hypothyroidism is:

  1. i) Iodine deficiency;
  2. ii) AITDs (Autoimmune thyroid diseases);

iii) Drugs;

  1. iv) Congenital

 

1.Transient hypothyroidism includes silent and postpartum thyroiditis.

  1. Secondary (due to pituitary TSH deficit);
  2. Tertiary (due to hypothalamic deficiency of TRH).

 

Hypothyroidism is one of the most undiagnosed and misdiagnosed diseases, as its clinical features are notorious. Hypothyroidism doesn’t have any characteristic symptoms, and many symptoms of this condition can occur in people with other diseases.  Vertigo, mood disturbances, easy fatigability, tiredness, lethargy, slowness of memory, intellect and thought were the early symptoms, and Parasthesias, muscle cramps, weakness, muscles stiffness and aching were the main complaints of the chronic cases.

 

Ayurveda and the Thyroid Gland

There is no direct mention of the thyroid gland in Ayurveda, but a disease by the name Galaganda, characterized by neck swelling, is well known. The first description of neck swelling was mentioned in Atharva Veda (the last of the four Vedas) by the name apachi.  Charaka mentioned the disease under 20 sleshma vikaras.Sushruta {renowned ancient Indian surgeon}in Sareera Sthana has mentioned that of the seven layers of the skin, the sixth layer Rohini is the seat of Galaganda.In Nidana Sthana he described Galaganda as two encapsulated small or big swellings in the anterior angle of the neck, which hang like scrotum,  whereas Charaka mentioned Galaganda as a solitary swelling.

 

A case of Galaganda attended with difficult respiration, a softening of the whole body, weakness, a non relish for, loss of voice, as well as the one which is more than of a year’s standing should be abandoned by the physicians to be incurable.Although these facts were mentioned centuries ago, it is still an accepted fact that environmental factors, especially iodine, plays an important role in the functioning of the thyroid gland. Any imbalance in iodine metabolism can upset the thyroid condition; either too much or too little iodine can result in the development of goitre. So the areas where the soil is depleted, also the soil content in which food grows, the drinking water and goitrogenic foods, play a vital role in disease process. As far as consuming fish or any seafood goes, all a rich source of iodine, an excess may be a causative factor.

 

Pathya pathya (Regimes to be followed during Treatments)

Eating goitrogenic foods such as rapeseed, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, maize, lima beans, soya and pearl millet should be limited. These foods contain natural goitrogens, which are chemicals that cause the enlargement of the thyroid gland by interfering with thyroid hormone synthesis. Cooking is known to make the goitrogens elements less effective, but it would be wise not eat these foods raw.

Smoking depresses TH levels and produces chronic underlying hypothyroidism. Research shows that nicotine increases the synthesis of T3 from T4 in the brain, while alcohol and opiates block the breakdown of T3 in the brain.

Foods that contain iodine, such as beetroot, radish, parsley, potatoes, fish, oatmeal and bananas, should be kept in the diet.

Vihara(Exeecise)

Another important factor in the treatment of hypothyroidism is exercise. Exercise increases tissue sensitivity to the thyroid hormone, and stimulates thyroid gland secretion. An exercise regime of between 15-20 minutes per day benefits hypothyroidism. This exercise needs to be strenuous enough to raise the heartbeat, such as walking, swimming, running and cycling, except in the case of who also have generalized hypotonia, as they may be at risk of ligamental injury, particularly from excessive force across joints.  Physical and emotional stress inhibits thyroid gland secretion due to reduction of thyrotrophin output. So reduction of stress is essential for proper functioning of the gland.

Yoga

Sarvangasanashoulder stand is the most suitable and effective asana for the thyroid gland. Enormous pressure is placed on the gland by this powerful posture. As the thyroid gland has a large blood supply, pressure has a dramatic effect on its function, improving circulation and squeezing out stagnant secretions. Also beneficial after Sarvangasana is the practice of Matsyasana (fish pose) and Halasna (plough pose).  Other effective asanas include Surya Namaskara (Sun salutation), Pavanamuktasana (wind relieving pose) with emphasis on head and neck exercises, Supta Vajrasana (sleeping thunderbolt pose) and all backward bending asanas.

Pranayam

The most effective pranayama is ujjayi. It acts on the throat, and its relaxing and stimulating effects are most probably due to stimulation of ancient reflex pathways within the throat area, which are controlled by the brain stem and hypothalamus. Surya, Chandra, Nadi Sodhana pranayama (right, left and alternate nostril breathing) is useful in re-balancing metabolism.

 

Medicines

 

kanchanara  is specific for proper functioning of thyroid. Among the other herbs jatamansi , Brahmi, guggulu and shilajita are also useful. Gokshura, Punarnava are useful herbs