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RAI for hyperthyroidism/Graves': How long until I'm put on Synthroid?

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Old 01-15-2013, 07:03 PM   #1
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RAI for hyperthyroidism/Graves': How long until I'm put on Synthroid?

Hi all,

As several of you know, I'll be heading in for RAI tx on Friday morning for my hyperthyroidism/Graves' disease, and I have about a million and one questions. I've been on methimazole since I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism at 16 (I'm 22 now); I was on 20mg of methimazole per day for the longest time, but just recently switched to 10mg per day because my blood work came back slightly hypo.

I'm of course nervous about the potential weight gain (I've always been physically fit and want to remain so because I have a heart issue) and other adverse side effects. For those of you that have gone through this procedure before, what was it like for you? Did you gain weight or experience any other super unpleasant symptoms? Did you have any side effects from RAI? How long did have to wait before you were put on Synthroid? I'm guessing I'll probably have to wait 4-6 weeks for my initial blood work to be done, at which point I'd assume I'd be put on Synthroid if my levels are off. Also, what are your diets like? I've read millions of articles that say not to eat certain foods, etc. if you're hypothyroid, but I spoke to my PCP last night and he said that I can eat whatever I want (I eat very healthy, organic foods) and my endocrinologist will be able to tailor my dose of Synthroid to suit my eating habits.

Any advice/experiences/post-RAI stories would be great! Thanks so much!!

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Old 01-16-2013, 09:25 AM   #2
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Re: RAI for hyperthyroidism/Graves': How long until I'm put on Synthroid?

I haven't had RAI myself, but I can offer general advice, if you're interested.

It's true that you do not have to avoid all those healthful foods while taking thyroid replacement. The articles and studies that say to avoid them are talking about UNtreated people who already have too little circulating hormone. I can tell you from a dreadful experience I had with flaxseed before I was diagnosed hypoT that this class of goitrogenic foods can indeed make an untreated person significantly more hypoT.

Your PCP is correct; the dose can easily be tailored to your diet. The big IF in this equation, though, is having a doctor willing to prescribe you as much hormone as you need. There is absolutely NO guarantee that your MD will do that, however. Most MDs are stingier with thyroid hormone prescriptions than they are with potent, addictive narcotic drugs. They have a certain mindset that limits the dose they will prescribe, and they too frequently use the black/white numbers on a lab sheet to prescribe what they think will fix everything instead of prescribing what will eliminate your hypoT symptoms. I don't mean to sound so dire about this, but it's the truth.

The same holds for deciding when to start Synthroid. Everything depends on the wisdom of your prescribing doctor. He may be the sort who doesn't decide you need it until HE decides you do.

Lisa and I have given you our best advice on the RAI decision. Postponing it, even at this late date, would give you time to thoroughly educate yourself about the full consequences of that decision.
"We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses." Abraham Lincoln

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