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You may need to take hormone replacement medication after thyroid surgery.  

Your thyroid is a gland in your neck that produces thyroid hormones. If you have an overactive or underactive thyroid, it can affect your metabolism and weight. Some people are born with an abnormal thyroid while others develop hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism later in life. If the levels of thyroid hormones stray too far from the normal or if you are experiencing symptoms doctors may recommend surgery to remove the thyroid gland. What are some things you should know about your body after this procedure?

Read on to find out what to expect after thyroid surgery…

What does the thyroid do?  

The thyroid is a gland that is located in your neck. It produces hormones that can affect metabolism and weight gain or loss in many people. The thyroid produces a hormone called thyroxine which stimulates the metabolism and controls many bodily functions, including heart rate and the rate at which your body uses energy. Hyperthyroidism is a condition where the body makes too much thyroxine and hypothyroidism occurs when there isn’t enough.

There are other conditions that do not cause hyper or hypo active thyroidism, such as thyroid cancer, goiter or suspicious thyroid nodules, that your doctor may recommend that you have a thyroidectomy.

What are the effects of thyroidectomy?

The effects that you experience following thyroid surgery will depend on how much of your thyroid you have removed. If you undergo partial thyroidectomy, only part of your thyroid will be removed and, in most cases, the remaining part of the thyroid takes on the function of the entire gland.

If, however, you have a complete thyroidectomy, your entire thyroid gland will be removed. This means that your body will not be able to produce thyroid hormone. Without thyroid hormone, you will experience the symptoms of an underactive thyroid, which may include fatigue, weight gain, depression, muscle aches and dry skin and hair to name a few. For this reason, you will need to take hormone replacement medication on a daily basis. The medication is formulated to replace the hormone that is normally produced by the thyroid gland.

What can you expect after surgery?

After your surgery, you may experience some pain in your neck for some time. You may also notice that your voice sounds weak or hoarse. Fortunately, these sides effects are usually temporary and should resolve with time.

You will be able to eat and drink normally after your procedure, and you should be able to perform most of your usual day-to-day activities without considerable discomfort. Your surgeon may recommend that you avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting for at least two weeks following treatment.

How can we help?

If you are considering thyroid surgery, it is important to understand the potential effects this may have on your body. The type of procedure that you undergo will determine what side-effects or symptoms that you experience after the operation. A complete thyroidectomy means that your entire thyroid gland has been removed and without hormone replacement medication, you will not produce enough hormones in order for your metabolism to function properly. This can lead to a number of other health problems including weight gain, depression and more pronounced menopause symptoms in women who have already gone through natural menopause onset. Speak with your surgeon about how they plan to treat these issues so that you can make an informed decision before undergoing any procedures.

Associate Professor Navin Niles offers a range of endocrine procedures, including thyroidectomy. If you have been referred for the procedure because of obstructive symptoms, thyroid cancer, overactive thyroid or cosmetic disfigurement, we encourage you to arrange a consultation so that Associate Professor Navin Niles can explain the surgery to you and guide you through the process.

If you would like to find out more about thyroidectomy and what to expect from the procedure, please have a look here.

To arrange a consultation with Associate Professor Niles, please contact us here or give us a call on (02) 9810 9839.