Reflux issues after surgery: Hi! Am looking for a... - Thyroid UK

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Reflux issues after surgery



Am looking for a bit of advice. I had a partial thyroidectomy 6 days ago and I am having a couple of issues that are worrying me, that I'm hoping others have experienced and can tell me if it's normal or not? I've been trying to get hold of my hospital ward all day (no luck) and the earliest GP appt is over a week away. The receptionist was pretty unhelpful when I tried to explain - I don't want to book an emergency appt if I'm just being ridiculous and dramatic!

So, literally as soon as I woke up from the op, I was pretty gassy/hiccuppy/burpy with a touch of reflux and it's been pretty constant ever since The last couple of days however, it's been getting progressively worse. 15+ times a day, as of today, I get the acid reflux feeling come into my chest (not up to my throat) and I get a funny thick/wooly head, feel sick to death, cold sweat, bit shaky and I have to sit as still as poss for 5-10 mins till it passes. I haven't actually been sick at all through all this and I have no idea if this is all linked to drugs/anaesthetic working it's way out of me (it was a 4.5 hour op in the end) or if it's normal once your airway etc has been aggravated by the breathing tube.

Gaviscon doesn't touch it. It doesn't seem to be any worse with eating/drinking or taking meds.

Has anyone had anything similar? Is it normal and/or will it pass, or should I be making a fuss with the doctor for something to control it?

Any thoughts/advice would be appreciated!

15 Replies

I had similar. I think you should book an emergency appointment tomorrow just to make sure everything's ok - you're not being dramatic. You've had a major op! It took me about a week to get over the anaesthetic and morphine (I didn't know I'd had morphine until I had my pre op for the 2nd half removing!) and I had lots of cold sweats, feeling faint for the first week.

Have you had your vocal cords checked? One of mine was paralysed and I had severe reflux until fairly recently. Gaviscon Advance helps more than normal Gaviscon.

You should ask your GP to test your calcium levels too to make sure your parathyroids haven't been damaged.

Reflux can often be caused by low stomach acid as well as excess stomach acid. I drink a splash of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water, a couple of times a day and it really helps my reflux. If it's excess acid then the GP can prescribe meds. I didn't want to take meds for reflux because I think mine is mechanical, rather than excess acid, so just coped with Gavsison Advance until I discovered that my stomach acid was actually low. I now just have 5ml Gaviscon at night -my vocal cord is not completely mobile so I still have a gap which means the acid comes up more easily.

Take it easy - it can take a while to recover so don't do too much too soon x

Vocal cords and calcium haven't been checked but voice is all over the place still. Virtually non existent at times, croaky at best. Consultant said to expect a bit more swelling etc and extra recovery time as it took 2.5 hours longer than expected due to everything being fused together. I had a horrible compression feeling round my throat for about 4 days and still can't cough properly - it's almost like the section of my airway right around the scar is totally frozen.

I'll try the Gaviscon extra to see if that helps and make the GP appt to get checked over.

Thanks for the response. I've got more info and reassurance from reading posts on this forum than I have from any Dr/nurse etc!

When do you go back for a follow up appointment? They shold check your vocal cords then. I struggled to cough for a couple of months. I remember the first time I needed to cough in front of my hubby and I just about managed to say 'I need to cough, it sounds horrific!' before coughing my guts up!

The swelling will continue for a couple of months and can get worse before it gets better. My first one was a very long op too. The tumour I had removed was attached all the way along my vocal cord.

Good luck with getting an appointment -be forceful!

Hope you feel better soon x

Rebec in reply to vickybean

May I ask you what the reason was for the operation in the first place? I'm having another FNA in the autumn and I'm sure I'm going to be told the same as after the first one, ie to have half of the thyroid removed.

vickybean in reply to Rebec

They found 2 nodules during an MRI, but the 1 on the right side was calcified and the FNA was suspicious. I know I'll be in a crap mood for a day or so if I have to go in again but I'd still rather it be this way than being sent away for months before they repeated the FNA and possibly get another inconclusive diagnosis. The limbo/waiting about is the worst part of it all, I think. I'm pretty ok once I know what's what and what the plan of action is! X

Rebec in reply to vickybean

I understand but did you suffer because of the two nodules? I was told that this operation follows the protocol in the UK and that in the States they just follow it with FNAs.

They wanted to operate but I asked to be followed.

vickybean in reply to Rebec

I had no symptoms etc as they were found on an MRI for something else. I wasn't really given options in terms of operating or waiting but I think even if they had asked, I'd have prob opted for this route rather than wait for 6+ months. Apparently the fact there was calcium in the nodule makes it a bit more suspect than a regular nodule. I'd have just wound myself up for months on end, I think.

Clanger, You have low stomach acid and are taking cider vinegar to increase it, and then taking Gavisgon to supress it?

Noooooooo........ Think about this... Your poor poor body wonT know if its coming or going.....


I have thought it about thank you and it's the best treatment option for me.

I have a damaged vocal cord, so there is nothing to physically stop my stomach acid (be it low, normal, or high) from coming up at night when I lie down. The Gaviscon Advance forms a thick barrier to stop anything coming up and works a treat. During the day I no longer suffer reflux because of the cider vinegar.

I have refused omeprazole several times as this wouldn't have helped with the mechanical issues of having a gap in my vocal cords! Or the fact that I have low stomach acid!

Follow up is in about 9 days and I'll find out whether we're going to do this all over again with the remaining half next month.

Yeah, my cough is a weird cross between a barking sea lion and a 100 a day smoker. Dry, raspy, totally unproductive atm. Haha.

Thank you for the well wishes :) X

I had a full TT last year and I had terrible reflux after the surgery I think it could be because i didnt eat all that day before the surgery. I was given meds, eventually subsided! Im still having issues, having test done nxt wk to check the acid in my stomach, I may have low stomach acid. Tubes in stomach for 24hrs not looking forward to that!😣

Hope u get sorted, it could be a combination of the gas etc before the surgery. Watch ur vitamin b12 if u take any reflux meds, depletes it from ur body! Best of luck😉

Tubes in the stomach? Suppose you know about the test you can do yourself, at home using bicarb of soda? Heck of a lot less invasive......

Tells you how if you read through this article and follow the link for the test for low stomach acid....


Regarding your voice, my voice was very weak for weeks after the operation, so I wouldn't worry too much about that yet, see if it settles down.

Regarding the wooly head, feeling sick and shaky, what is your temperature? If it is raised you may need to check you don't have a post op infection.

Temperature fine - 36.8 so don't think it's an infection. The actual incision looks fine but the skin around the staples is starting to look a bit angry where it's pulling.

I'm pretty sure it's just everything settling itself down. I just felt a bit left in the dark by the hospital over what kinds of things to expect over the next week or so before my follow up. It was literally, 'here's your pain killers, see you in a fortnight'. Haha. X

I am sure your right, they don't tell you enough at all do they? I was very worried about my weak voice as I didn't know it would settle. Keep an eye on your temp as is is a good indicator of infection. I got an infection ( consultant told me I was the only patient of his to get an infection after this operation!)

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