Following surgery to remove the thyroid gland, patients require treatment with thyroid hormone to replace what their body is no longer able to produce. Our physicians will treat with thyroid medication with the goal of balancing your thyroid levels. Too much medication may make people feel jittery, anxious, warm, and cause bowel movements to be more frequent and or loose. Symptoms of too little medication may include fatigue, intolerance to cold, weight gain, sluggish bowels, dry skin, brittle nails, hair loss, muscle pains, mood changes and alteration in menstrual cycle. But, signs and symptoms of too much or too little thyroid medication are highly variable from person to person. These symptoms are also non-specific and may be due to other issues if thyroid levels are within normal limits.
The main causes of underactive thyroid (primary hypothyroidism) are surgery (thyroid removal), radioactive iodine treatment (to destroy the thyroid gland) and chronic autoimmune hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is defined by the presence of an antibody which may impact thyroid function over time. A far more significant percentage of the population has thyroid antibodies (11% in some studies) than have low thyroid function (4% in some studies). This means that even if you do have the antibody, your thyroid function may remain normal and you may not require thyroid replacement medication.
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