Goitre refers to the enlargement of the thyroid gland which results in the swelling of the throat region. Though it is non-cancerous and usually painless, if it becomes too large, it starts causing difficulty in swallowing and breathing. The disease is more common among women and in people above the age of 50. Goitre may or may not be associated with the actual thyroid dysfunction i.e. hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. In Ayurveda goitre is known as ‚Äėgalaganda‚Äô.
In over 90 percent of the cases goitre is caused by iodine deficiency. Many other factors such as exposure to radiations, pregnancy, menopause, family history of autoimmune diseases, antiretroviral drugs, medications for cardiac problems, immunosuppressant drugs, cigarette smoking, and some bacterial, viral and fungal infections may cause goitre. Also pathologies such as thyroid cancer, thyroid dysfunction and food items such as soybean, spinach and peanuts increase the risk of developing goitre.
¬∑ Hoarseness of the voice
¬∑ Feeling of heaviness in the body
¬∑ Difficulty to swallow and breath
According to Ayurveda, galaganda is caused mainly by vitiated kapha, though sometimes vata might be also involved. Vitiated kapha mixes with meda dhatu (fat tissue) causing an immobile, heavy swelling in front of throat which is then called galaganda. It is classified into three types, viz. vataj, kaphaj and medoj. Vataj galaganda (caused mainly by vitiated vayu) is blackish in colour, slightly painful and is marked by dryness in throat and mouth and tastelessness in the mouth. Kaphaj galaganda (caused mainly by vitiated kapha) is large in size, cold in touch, causes very little pain and sweetness in mouth. Medoj galaganda (caused mainly by vitiated meda dhatu) is unctuous, whitish in colour, has offensive odour and may cause staggering speech and oilyness in the mouth.
Diet & Lifestyle Advice
¬∑ Adequate quantity of iodine should be consumed every day. For adults daily requirement of iodine is 150 mcg.
¬∑ Foods such as soybean, spinach and peanuts should be minimized, especially by those who are more at risk.
¬∑ Seaweeds, cod fish, milk, yoghurt, potato, locally grown fruits, vegetables and eggs are rich sources of iodine. They should be consumed in adequate quantity.
¬∑ Iron rich food (like onion, garlic, carrot), food containing Vitamin A (papaya, mango, sweet potato), fruits containing vitamin B (like guava, okra, nuts) should be consumed.
¬∑ Sedentary lifestyle and mental stress can disturb thyroid function. So attempt should be made to follow a healthy and relaxed lifestyle.
¬∑ Neck exercises and Yoga (especially those which mobilizes the neck region) should be performed.
¬∑ Level of thyroid hormones should be checked once in a year.