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Natural Treatment Methods AFTER Radioactive Iodine or Thyroid Surgery

Published February 18 2013

Although one of the goals of this website is to help prevent people from receiving radioactive iodine treatment and thyroid surgery, some people don’t learn about natural treatment methods until after they have received conventional medical treatments.  And I frequently get asked if there is anything that can be done to help someone who has already received RAI or a thyroidectomy.  Obviously it is best to follow a natural treatment protocol before receiving either of these procedures.  But this doesn’t mean people who have received radioactive iodine or who had their thyroid gland surgically removed can’t benefit at all from natural treatment methods.

Of course how much someone can benefit from following a natural treatment protocol after receiving RAI or thyroid surgery depends on numerous factors.  For example, someone who has received radioactive iodine or a partial thyroidectomy will still have a chance of restoring their thyroid health back to normal.  This doesn’t mean their thyroid gland will ever be 100% healthy, but their thyroid gland still might be able to produce a sufficient amount of thyroid hormone on its own without needing to take an exogenous form of thyroid hormone.  Some people might need to take thyroid hormone, but might not need to take as high of a dosage after following a natural treatment protocol.

The Key Is To Address The Cause Of The Condition

There is no question that sometimes conventional medical treatment is necessary.  There are situations when getting the thyroid gland surgically removed is the best option. With radioactive iodine treatment it’s a little more controversial, as one can argue that thyroid surgery should be chosen instead of exposing your body to radiation, but either way, there are times when these treatment methods are necessary.

However, there is no question that these treatment methods do nothing for the actual cause of the condition.  For example, with an autoimmune thyroid condition such as Graves’ Disease or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, it’s the autoimmune component that is causing malfunctioning of the thyroid gland.  And receiving radioactive iodine treatment or a thyroidectomy won’t address the immune system.  Sometimes other factors are responsible for the malfunctioning of the thyroid gland.  To be fair, sometimes it can be a challenge to find out what the actual cause is.  Other times it may be too risky to try addressing the cause, such as a situation when someone has thyroid cancer.

So while my goal is to attempt to detect and then correct the underlying cause of the condition, the fact remains that some people will obtain RAI or receive a thyroidectomy.  And while some people do perfectly fine after receiving radioactive iodine or having their thyroid gland surgically removed, others remain symptomatic for months or years after the procedure.  Although not everyone in this situation can completely eliminate their symptoms by following a natural treatment protocol, many people can benefit.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of how someone can benefit from natural treatment methods after receiving RAI or thyroid surgery:

Example #1. Paul was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease, and although he did try taking antithyroid medication, he had a negative reaction to both Methimazole and PTU.  As a result, he opted for radioactive iodine treatment.  His endocrinologist told him it would be a simple procedure, and that he probably would need to take synthetic thyroid hormone for the rest of his life.  A few months after receiving the treatment he was hypothyroid and began taking Levothyroxine.

Paul never did feel right when taking synthetic thyroid hormone, even after his doctor adjusted his dosage numerous times.  And so he consulted with a holistic medical doctor, who prescribed Armour.  Although he felt better when taking the natural thyroid hormone when compared to the synthetic thyroid hormone, he still didn’t feel quite like himself.

What Paul was never told by his endocrinologist was that the radioactive iodine treatment would do nothing to address the autoimmune component of Graves’ Disease.  While receiving RAI did stop the excessive secretion of thyroid hormone, Paul still had a compromised immune system, and he also had other compromised areas which were contributing to his symptoms, as these were detected when he consulted with a different natural healthcare professional.  When this natural doctor addressed the cause of these other areas, Paul’s symptoms significantly improved, and he eventually was able to stop taking thyroid hormone.

Example #2. Lisa was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and as a result received a complete thyroidectomy.  She immediately was put on synthetic thyroid hormone, but she still struggled with symptoms of fatigue, brain fog, and weight gain.  Her T3 levels remained on the low side and so her doctor had her take Cytomel, which is a synthetic form of T3.  This seemed to help a little, but she was still experiencing the hypothyroid symptoms, and so she saw a different doctor and switched to natural thyroid hormone in the form of Nature-Throid.

A few months went by, and she was still experiencing the hypothyroid symptoms, and so she consulted with a naturopathic doctor, who did some testing and found out she had compromised adrenals and estrogen dominance.  After following a natural treatment protocol she of course still needed to stay on thyroid hormone since she didn’t have a thyroid gland, but she felt significantly better with her adrenal health restored back to normal and her hormones in balance.

So these are two examples of people who benefited greatly upon following a natural treatment protocol after receiving these conventional medical treatment methods.  Although Paul was able to get off of thyroid hormone, this of course doesn’t mean that everyone who receives RAI will be as fortunate.  Everyone is different, and many people who receive radioactive iodine or receive a partial thyroidectomy will need to remain on thyroid hormone for the rest of their life, while some who follow a natural treatment protocol won’t need to continue taking synthetic or natural thyroid hormone.  And of course anyone who has a complete thyroidectomy will need to take thyroid hormone on a permanent basis.  But in any of these situations, natural treatment methods can usually be beneficial.

In summary, many people who have received radioactive iodine treatment or thyroid surgery remain symptomatic.  And usually the reason for this is because the cause of their condition was never addressed.  As a result, many of these people can feel significantly better after following a natural treatment protocol.  While some people who are taking thyroid hormone after receiving these procedures will need to continue doing so, others will be able to stop taking thyroid hormone or reduce the dosage after following a natural treatment protocol.