Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism

In “Goitre”, Chinese pathology is essentially concerned only with the Manifestation (rather than the Root)  of goitre, i.e. Qi stagnation, Blood stasis and Phlegm. The Root is usually a deficiency of Qi, Yang or Yin. In hypothyroidism, the Root is usually Yang deficiency,and in hyperthyroidism, Fire. There is no direct correspondence between the Chinese disease-symptom of “Goitre” and thyroid problems in Western medicine. 

Hence, Chinese medicine discusses only goitre, while Western medicine discusses

many thyroid dysfunctions, such as hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s

thyroiditis.  The goitre swelling in itself always indicates Phlegm; however, this may be combined with Qi stagnation or Blood stasis.

The following are indications regarding the feel of the goitre lump in relation to patterns.

• Soft goitre with indistinct edges, varying in size with emotional state: Qi stagnation and Phlegm.

• Large, soft and smooth mass: Phlegm.

• Hard, nodular mass that is immovable and grows rapidly, dark skin over mass: Phlegm with Blood stasis.

• Small or medium-size goitre, relatively soft, slippery under the finger: Liver-Fire (with Phlegm).

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