What Is Thyroid?
Shaped like a butterfly, the thyroid is a gland that is situated at the lower side of the neck’s front. Along the front of the windpipe, thyroid lies below the Adam’s apple.
This organ has two side lobes that are connected with each other through isthmus in the middle. Apart from containing several blood vessels, nerves essential for voice quality also pass through this organ.
The thyroid gland secretes an array of hormones, collectively called thyroid hormones. The primary hormone is called thyroxine, also known as T4. All of the thyroid hormones act throughout the body, helping in growth & development and influencing body temperature as well as the metabolism.
Disorder of Thyroid Gland:
Generally, there are two types of disorders that your thyroid gland may suffer:
Hyperthyroidism or Thyrotoxicosis:
Basically, this condition occurs when your thyroid gland is overactive. Hyperthyroidism involves excess secretion of thyroid hormones, which lead to thyrotoxicosis. It is related to the hypermetabolic condition. In this situation, your metabolism is always overactive, which can cause several problems including sudden weight loss or irregular heartbeats
Contrary to hyperthyroidism, this condition occurs when your thyroid gland is underactive and doesn’t produce the required amount of hormones. It can be hard to recognize in the starting stages, but if left untreated for long, hypothyroidism can cause problems like infertility, joint pain, obesity & heart diseases.
Signs and Symptoms:
Both of the thyroid disorders have different symptoms and signs.
Signs of Hyperthyroidism
Signs of Hypothyroidism
|The feeling of nervousness, agitation or irritability||Mental sluggishness|
|Bad concentration||Feeling bloated|
|Decreased menstrual blood flow in women||Excessive menstrual bleeding|
|Palpitations or racing heartbeat||Slow heartbeat|
|Thinning of skin||Weight gain and dry skin|
|Intolerance to heat||Feeling cold|
|Brittle hair||Hair loss or thinning hair|
|Increased appetite||High cholesterol levels|
|Sweating||Joint pains and aches|
Risk Factors of Thyroid Dysfunction:
Here, two significant aspects should be taken into consideration – age and gender. With time, the risk of developing thyroid dysfunction increases tremendously. And, women are under more significant threat than men. Apart from that, here are some other risks as well that you must know about:
- Family history of autoimmune diseases
- Recent or current pregnancy
- Selenium and vitamin D deficiency
- Past trauma
- Currently pregnant woman or a woman who has delivered within the past six months
- Women over 60 years of age
- Suffering from pituitary gland disorder
- Pre-existing autoimmune disease
Apart from the ones mentioned above, there are certain lifestyle-related factors as well that can lead to Thyroid, like:
- Trauma or injury to the thyroid gland
- Psychological stress
- History of using specific medicines
Ayurvedic Treatment for Thyroid:
In Ayurveda, an amalgamation of home remedies, yoga, and diet work together to treat Thyroid. As per Charaka, thyroid dysfunction doesn’t strike those who consume the right quantity of milk each day. Not just that, but old rice, moong dal, barley, cucumber, and sugar cane juice are also recommended to treat this disease through Ayurvedic methods.
Apart from that, there are certain herbs that can help treat the disorder of thyroid glands. Brahmi, Shilajita, Guggulu, Punarnava, and Gokshura are some of them.
Diagnosis of Thyroid Dysfunction:
As far as diagnosis is concerned, there are a variety of methods to do so. Following are some of them:
Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can be diagnosed by testing the levels of hormones in your blood. Through this test, doctors aim at measuring the thyroid hormones along with thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Having a higher level of TSH diagnoses you with hypothyroid as your body is asking the thyroid gland to produce more hormones, and the lower level of TSH means you have hyperthyroidism.
Also known as fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy, a needle biopsy is done to assess suspicious nodules and lumps in the thyroid gland. Through this method, cells are withdrawn from the nodules and evaluated for a diagnosis.
In case your thyroid gland is enlarged or shrunken, or if you even find nodules in there, doctors may conduct several imaging tests to make the diagnosis. These include:
- Radioactive iodine uptake
- MRI/Magnetic resonance imaging
- CT scan
- Thyroid ultrasound
Thyroid dysfunction ideally happens because of the over and underproduction of thyroid hormones. However, there are other causes that can trigger the condition as well:
Causes of Hyperthyroidism
Causes of Hypothyroidism
|Graves’ disease||Exposure to excessive iodide|
|Thyroid inflammation||Thyroid gland removal|
|Toxic adenomas||Hashimoto’s thyroiditis|
|Malfunctioning of the pituitary gland||Consumption of lithium drug|
Although the symptoms of thyroid are much like any other typical disease, it’s better to be cautious than late. So, if you notice any of the below-mentioned symptoms, consult a doctor right away:
1. Weight Loss or Gain:
Unexplained and sudden changes in weight turn out to be a common symptom of thyroid dysfunction. While weight gain signals hypothyroidism, losing it can result in hyperthyroidism. Generally, the former one is far more common than the latter.
2. Swelling in Neck:
Enlargement or swelling in the neck could be an apparent sign of something going wrong with your thyroid gland. Sometimes, nodules or lumps start growing inside the thyroid because of malfunctioning of the gland. And, in some other cases, swelling could be due to reasons not related to thyroid. Either way, getting it tested would clear the doubt.
3. Heart Rate Changes:
Thyroid hormones have an impact on almost all body organs, however, they can leave your heart under significant threat. If you notice a slower heart rate, it could be a case of hypothyroidism. On the contrary, if you feel rapid speeding up of heartbeats, you are likely to suffer from hyperthyroidism. The latter can also cause a pounding heart, high blood pressure, and palpitations.
4. Changes in Mood or Energy:
Disorders related to the thyroid can leave an impact on your mood as well as the energy level. If you feel sluggish, depressed, and tired all the time, you might be dealing with hypothyroidism. In case you have a sense of restlessness, irritability, anxiety, and insomnia, it might be due to hyperthyroidism.
Home Remedies for Thyroid :
Jotted down below are some home remedies that you can adopt if you have been diagnosed with Thyroid:
Slow Down the Eating Process :
Considering that the thyroid gland is in the throat, it forms a connection between your body and the mind. In case you are eating quickly, the food moves to the stomach so fast that the mind doesn’t get enough time to register it.
Therefore, not just for thyroid patients, but for overall good health, it’s advisable to sit down, savour, chew the food, and eat slowly. Also, since thyroid also handles the metabolism, you must eat the food gradually so that your mind registers the food entering your body.
Stay Hydrated :
Usually, consuming enough water keeps the body hydrated and glands function better. So, to ensure that your thyroid gland works ideally, form a habit of drinking at least 10-12 glasses of water every day.
Moreover, to have the best results, drink filtered and plain water as much as you can instead of cold water. It can even help in reducing weight.
Increase Your Physical Activities :
As they say, “Go hard or go home.” Irrespective of the type of thyroid you are dealing with, doing physical activities each day can help you stay fit and healthy. You don’t have to visit the gym and do cardio necessarily. You can even adopt such hobbies that involve full body contribution.
Yoga for Thyroid :
Undoubtedly, yoga is one such activity that can help you achieve overall fitness goals. Taking out at least 30 minutes each morning before starting the day can help you have an energetic and productive day ahead.
For thyroid patients, here are certain yoga positions that would definitely be fruitful.
1. Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand Pose)
This yoga position helps in controlling thyroxine and stimulating the thyroid gland. When you stay in this position for at least a minute, the blood flows from the legs to the head and helps in mitigating thyroid.
2. Halasana (Plough Pose):
This yoga position is beneficial in compressing the neck; hence, stimulating the thyroid gland along with the stomach. It also helps in decreasing stress, fatigue, and calming the brain.
3. Matsyasana (Fish Pose):
With this pose, you get to stretch your neck and stimulate the thyroid glands. Not only does it offer gentle healing but can also decrease joints and muscle stiffness. By doing this every day, you can notice a considerable change in your mood and energy levels too as it can be helpful in reducing stress.
4. Setubandhasana (Bridge Pose):
In case you can achieve this pose successfully, you can stretch your neck to such an extent that it activates your thyroid glands. And, as a result, it helps calm your brain, enhance the working of the digestive system, and decrease anxiety as well.
5. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose):
This yoga position involves a lot of stretching and compressing; thus, regulating your thyroid glands. It also helps in improving the blood circulation. And then, with this pose, you can make your upper body and middle back flexible. It also helps decrease fatigue and stress, expands your chest, tones abdomen, and strengthens your shoulders & back.
Diet for Thyroid:
Having a proper diet regimen is one of the essential factors in treating thyroid. As per Ayurveda, following a healthy diet and exercising on a daily basis can be highly beneficial. So, here are some diet tips that you can incorporate into your day-to-day life.
Breakfast (8 AM – 9 AM)
- Milk or tea on an empty stomach
- Fruit (except orange, and banana)
- Homemade moong dal laddu, upma, daliya, parantha, chapatti-sabji
Lunch (12 PM – 1 PM)
- Chapati + Sabji OR Moong dal curry + ½ bowl rice
Snacks (5 PM – 6 PM):
- Fruit (papaya, chikoo, apple, pomegranate)
- Seasonal sweet fruits
- Homemade ladoo
Dinner (8 PM – 9 PM):
- Chapati + sabji; OR Moong dal khichdi OR Daliya
Here are some additional tips that you can consider for a healthy diet:
- Eat fresh and wholesome food
- Have dinner at least 2 hours before sleeping
- Avoid overcooked food
- Avoid fast-food, crispy food items, chocolates, white rice, frozen food, and white bread
- Eat at least one fruit daily
- Consume food items rich in fibre
- Never skip a meal
How to Increase Thyroid Function Naturally?
For the thyroid to function properly, iodine plays an important role. Considering that iodine gets absorbed in your digestive tract, maintaining a healthy abdominal function is essential in helping hormones work adequately. For this to happen, you can get iodine from iodized salt and sea vegetables like edible seaweed.
Ayurvedic Management of Hypothyroidism:
In Ayurveda, the cause of Hypothyroidism is pointed towards the imbalance in tri-doshas, which can be caused by the consumption of impure water, unwholesome food, and unhealthy dietary habits. It can also happen because of climatic conditions and ‘dinacharya’ (daily routine) disturbance.
Although Ayurveda doesn’t have direct mention of the thyroid gland, however, a disease called galaganda has a mention in the Samhitas. In the Atharva Veda, the description of neck swelling has been mentioned by Apachi.
Ayurvedic Medicine for Thyroid:
In case you are looking forward to consuming an Ayurvedic medicine for thyroid, Kanchnar Guggulu by Nirogam could be the one for you. Whether you have a mild case or extreme, daily consumption of this medicine can prove to be helpful.
This medicine comprises a mixture of essential herbs, such as:
- Kali Mirch
- Shuddha Guggulu
Not just thyroid, but this medicine also helps in treating:
- Weight loss
- Female reproductive health
- Hormonal imbalance
- Endometriosis and fibroids
Dosage of Nirogam Kanchnar Guggulu:
As per the physicians at Nirogam, it is recommended to consume two tablets of Kanchnar Guggulu after breakfast and dinner each day.
Who can take it?
Ayurvedic Treatment for Thyroid at Nirogam:
At Nirogam, we understand the root cause of problems as per the individual’s lifestyle and bodily functions. Keeping that in mind, we propose an adequate medicine that not just helps in treating the disorder but in eradicating it from the root.
As far as the thyroid is concerned, our expert physicians and practitioners have come up with an all-herbs, natural medicine to rectify problems related to this gland.
Also, we even have consultation services at our centre. So, if you are stuck with doubts and questions in mind, you can get in touch with our knowledgeable professionals and get answers to your queries.
Dr. Greeshma Nair, (B.A.M.S) is a Staunch believer that Ayurveda is not merely a science but lifestyle too. Her holistic approach towards diagnosis and treatment is based on the root cause of disease and gives you a three-dimensional solution to a condition that includes Ahaar (diet), Vihaar (lifestyle) and Aushadhi (medicines).