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Diagnosed with graves disease, concerned about weight gain. On synthroid. Planning for thyroid surgery. Suggest?

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General & Family Physician
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hi i am getting readyto have my thyroid taken out surgically, i have been diagnosed with graves disease, i am worried about severe weight gain, does that always happen? also is there another medication besides synthroid i could take?
Posted Sat, 6 Jul 2013 in Thyroid Problem and Hormonal Problems
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 1 hour later
Hi and thanks so much for this query.

I a m Dr, Ditah and feel honored having this opportunity to provide health answers to you today.

I am so sorry to hear about your battle with chronic pain, weight , depression and recently the thyroid disease.

Please, thyroid surgery is not a classical treatment for graves disease. It is mostly used when other methods have failed which include, radioactive Iodine therapy, anti thyroid medications, and beta blockers or when they are not available. So, please check and make sure this is what best applies to you now.

Assuming surgery is the best option for you now, what are the risks of weight gain and are there any other medications beside synthroid?

The answer is weight gain is NOT a side effect of thyroid surgery. However, if your thyroid hormones are not adequately replaced after the surgery, you will develop what we call iatrogenic hypothyroidism which can cause you to get weight gain. So weight gain rather results from failing to give appropriate doses of thyroid hormone supplements than from the surgery itself.
After surgery, your doctor will make arrangements to replace this hormone adequately with drugs(synthroid). Follow up visits to find out how you feel, examine you and do a thyroid stimulating hormone test will guide the doctor to adequately replace the thyroid hormone.

Synthroid is a brand name for thyroid hormone supplements. There are many other brand names but the bottom line is that they all contain the same thyroid hormone.

So you may change the brand name but you cannot change the active ingredient which remain same from one brand name to the other.

I wish you all the best as you continue to pursue everlasting solutions to this thyroid problem. May you have a safe and successful surgery and an excellent post surgical care.

Hope I answered your questions. If you however have any further query on this, please come back to me, I am right here waiting to assist you.

Dr. Ditah

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Diagnosed with graves disease, concerned about weight gain. On synthroid. Planning for thyroid surgery. Suggest? 6 hours later
it was my choice to have surgery, because they told me that the other methods would take up to six months before i was to see any relief, my symptoms are getting so intolerable i think that is making my depression worse so i just wanted the quickest way to get some relief, if i were seeing you as a patient what would you recomend, and also do you think taking the anti thyroid medication work quicker than the radioactive iodine? thank you so much for your time
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 7 hours later
Hi and thanks for these follow up questions.

Doctors recommend but the final decision lies with the patients. What procedure to recommend takes into consideration other information like the severity of your symptoms, to what extends your eyes are protruding, Whether you are pregnant or not, do you have any contraindications to the use of Iodine/anti thyroid medications or beta blockers, when you plan to become pregnant, your personal decision etc.

Assuming everything else shows a mild disease, no pregnancy related issues, etc, I will recommend starting with Radioactive Iodine. Remember, surgery provides a raid relief but the complications of surgery are real. You may develop Iatrogenic hypoparathyroidism if the parathyroid glands are mistakenly taken out during surgery. So each procedure has its positives and its potential draw backs.

Grossly speaking, radioactive Iodine is more quicker to restore relief than the antithyroid medications but the duration differs from one individual to the other. A patient may have little success with one and demonstrate great success with the other. So there is no clear cut rule and that is why they all remain as potential options for treatment.

I hope this answers your question and addresses your worries.
I wish you the best possible outcome as you make receive treatment.
Dr. Ditah, MD.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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