Hypothyroidism is a medical condition that is characterised by an underactive thyroid gland. This can lead to several symptoms, such as weight gain, fatigue, and depression. While there is no cure for hypothyroidism, there are treatments available that can help manage the symptoms. One such treatment is Ayurveda, which is a system of medicine that originated in India. Ayurvedic treatment for hypothyroidism focuses on balancing the thyroid gland and restoring its function. There are a variety of ayurvedic treatments for hypothyroidism, including dietary changes, herbal supplements, and yoga. While there is no cure for hypothyroidism, these therapies can help improve symptoms and quality of life.
According to Ayurveda, there are three main types of hypothyroidism, each with its own set of causes and treatments.
Congenital thyroid deficiency: This is the most common type of hypothyroidism and is caused by a problem with the thyroid gland itself. It can be treated with supplements or medication to replace the missing hormone.
Autoimmune thyroiditis: This form of hypothyroidism is caused by an autoimmune reaction that attacks the thyroid gland. Treatment focuses on reducing inflammation with immunosuppressive drugs or surgery.
Autoimmune disorders are a group of conditions in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. There are many different ayurvedic treatments for autoimmune disorders, but some of the most effective include:
● Digestive bitters: These herbs help to stimulate the production of digestive enzymes, which can help to break down toxins and improve overall digestion.
● Detoxifying teas: Teas made with detoxifying herbs like turmeric, ginger, and dandelion root can help to flush toxins out of the body and reduce inflammation.
Iodine deficiency: This type of hypothyroidism is caused by a lack of iodine in the diet. It can be treated by taking iodine supplements or by increasing iodine-rich foods in the diet.
Iodine is an essential mineral for the production of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism, which is why iodine deficiency can lead to weight gain and other metabolic problems. Ayurveda recommends using iodine-rich foods and herbs to treat hypothyroidism. Some of the best iodine-rich foods suggested are seaweed, fish, eggs, and dairy products.
When the thyroid is removed through surgery, it is called a thyroidectomy. During a thyroidectomy, the surgeon will make an incision in the neck and carefully remove the entire thyroid gland. In some cases, surrounding lymph nodes may also be removed. Once the gland is removed, the patient will no longer produce thyroid hormone and will need to take daily hormone replacement therapy for the rest of their life.
Hypothyroidism can be a stressful condition to live with. Fatigue, weight gain, and brain fog can make it difficult to get through the day. Ayurvedic treatments for hypothyroidism can help reduce stress levels. Making lifestyle changes can also help to reduce stress levels and improve overall health. Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep are all important for managing stress levels. Reducing or eliminating alcohol and caffeine consumption can also help to reduce stress levels. Practicing yoga or meditation can also help manage stress.
Signs and symptoms associated with hypothyroidism can be easily mistaken for other health conditions. The most common sign of hypothyroidism is an enlarged thyroid gland, which can cause a goiter (a visible bulge in the neck). Other potential signs and symptoms include:
● Weight gain
● Dry skin
● Hair loss
● Cold intolerance
● Impaired Memory
Some common herbs used to treat hypothyroidism include:
Ashwagandha: It is an adaptogenic herb that has been shown to help improve thyroid function. It helps to normalize the production of thyroid hormones and can also help to reduce stress levels.
Brahmi: It is an herb that has traditionally been used to treat memory and cognitive problems. Studies have shown that it can also help to improve thyroid function by reducing levels of stress and anxiety.
Gotu kola: This is an adaptogenic herb that promotes brain health, nerve health, and mood. It is one of the safer adaptogenic herbs, and patients generally tolerate it well
A hypothyroid diet is high in fibre, low in processed foods, and rich in nutrients. The goal of a hypothyroid diet is to support the health of the thyroid gland and to promote optimal hormone production.
● Get enough iodine: Iodine is a necessary nutrient for thyroid health. It can be found in seafood, seaweed, eggs, and dairy products. Aim for 150 mcg of iodine per day.
● Avoid goitrogens: Goitrogens are chemicals that can disrupt thyroid function. Some common goitrogens include soy, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, and millet. Limit your intake of these foods or cook them before eating to reduce their goitrogenic effect.
● Consume plenty of antioxidants: Antioxidants help protect the thyroid gland from inflammation-related damage. Aim to eat foods rich in antioxidants like dark leafy greens, berries, tomatoes, and nuts every day.
● Support detoxification: The liver plays an important role in detoxifying the body and supporting thyroid function. To support detoxification, eat plenty of fiber-rich foods like fruits and vegetables, as well as liver-supporting foods like garlic, turmeric, and ginger.
The initial step in Ayurvedic treatment for hypothyroidism is to identify the underlying imbalances that are causing the condition. Once these imbalances are identified, they can be treated with a customised plan that may include dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, and herbal supplements. Dietary changes may include incorporating more thyroid-supporting foods into the diet, and lifestyle modifications may include stress-reduction techniques such as yoga and meditation.
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