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Thyroid UK
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Total,thyroidectomy and how it feels post op

Hi I'm 9 days post total thyroidectomy - 4 days in hospital due to drain - felt ok ish but seem to be feeling worse now.

I've never had any thyroid issues ever suddenly noticed a lump that was a large sub sternum goitre and. Within weeks it was out - so what I'm saying is I'm not someone who knows a lot about the thyroid and there's so much to read that's so confusing.

I'm currently taking large dishes of calcium until levels checked and ok.

I've had a few headaches from my neck being uncomfortable and. Trying to do to much to fast!

Currently I'm feeling very tears all the time and not myself. Even my food taste has changed I used to be a coffee addict now I don't even like the smell.

How long can I expect to feel so knocked for 6 and generally rubbish.

I feel like the wound is healing but there's so much more going on inside that I don't know about.

Can anyone relate?

10 Replies


It’s a shitty thing you’re going through at the mo, but one thousands have before, myself included.

It’s going to take time, you’re going to feel completely knackered at times, upset, angry and a whole range of other emotions.

Your body’s going to need time to heal and it will take a good few months for your system to get used to Thyroxin, assuming that’s what you’re taking to replace the hormones your thyroid produced.

Don’t push it, don’t rush it. There is no magic wand fix for this. Wish I could say otherwise.

You may need to take supplements and your doseage may need to be tweaked. You’ll know this over time.

Best of luck.



Thanks Nick it's good to know it's all 'normal'


If only “normal” was the appropriate term. 😄

It may be worth taking your thyroxin last thing at night with a large glass of water. Supposedly helps the uptake of T4.

I started taking mine with bottled or filtered as my tap water cannot be drunk it has such hardness it gives me stomach ache.

Tested it after having stomach issues when drinking water from the tap when we moved in to new house . Hardness was way way over recommended.


This website has been a godsend for me. Any queries worries or questions and there will be a little angel on here that’ll jump straight in with a comforting hand.

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Be kind to yourself, pace yourself and rest. It was a major operation and will take a little time for recovery.

I'm assuming you were prescribed Levothyroxine the morning after your thyroidectomy? It takes 7-10 days for Levothyroxine to be absorbed before it starts working and it will take up to six weeks to feel the full impact of the dose. Symptoms may lag behind good biochemistry by several months but as your thyroid levels improve and stabilise you will feel improvement.

For maximum absorption Levothyroxine should be taken with water 1 hour before, or 2 hours after, food and drink, 2 hours away from other medication and supplements, and 4 hours away from calcium, iron, vitamin D supplements, magnesium and oestrogen.

You should have a follow up thyroid test 6-8 weeks after starting Levothyroxine. Arrange an early morning and fasting (water only) blood draw when TSH is highest, and take Levothyroxine after your blood draw.



hi thanks fir your reply

I started 125 Levothyroxine sane day as my surgery.

I also take 4x0.25 Rocaltrol

3x calcium Sandocal

I have been taking my Levothyroxine as soon as I wake then waiting an hour before I eat.

Are you saying take the sandocol 4 hrs after Levothyroxine and not at same time as Rocaltrol?

In hospital they gave me everything at once with my breakfast! 🙈

I had a calcium test last Friday (7 days post surgery) I assume if this comes back ok I won't be taking calcium and vit d any more??

Are there any other supplements or vitamins you can recommend I take?



Levothyroxine should be taken 4 hours away from vitamin D and 4 hours away from calcium. Not sure whether you can take vitD and calcium together, you should read the patient information leaflets and see what they say. Hospitals are dreadful for giving patients all their drugs at once and with food when it will interfere with absorption.

Parathyroid glands can be bruised or lost during thyroidectomy. They may bounce back and calcium levels recover in which case calcium supplements will no longer be required. If the parathyroid glands are lost or permanently damaged you will have to take calcium and vitD for life. It can take 3-4 months for damaged parathyroid glands to recover. Your surgeon should be able to advise whether all or some of the 4 parathyroid glands were lost. If even 1 remains that will usually provide sufficient parathyroid hormone to control calcium levels.

When you get your calcium and vitD results and ranges post them in a new question and members will advise.


It's a bit of an up and down thing. You'll start feeling better once you're on a replacement dose of thyroid hormone that suits you. It can take months but slowly you'll regain your strength. You might have ups and downs so take lots of time now to rest and do the things that nurture you. Eat healthily, excercise gently and protect yourself from anything that upsets you for the time being until you feel stronger. It's normal to feel tearful at this point but you will feel cheerful again as time goes on. Don't expect too much of yourself and don't let other people pressure you into too much either.

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Anaesthetic takes it out of you as well so a double whammy! But you will stat to feel an improvement soon but be kind to yourself and not rush things. Each dose increase should see an improvement until you are fully on the correct dose for you. Ask from copiesfor any blood results and the ranges so you can post and I'm sure you will get comments re your progress.

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I had a thyroidectomy in 2013. Most of what I would say others have said. The only thing is that all this time I've found being tearful is my signal that I've done too much. Sometimes I can easily tell that it's happened, and other times I feel like I haven't done that much (had to cancel Virgin media last week and it knocked me out for the day - they make you battle to leave them! It's the emotional stuff that's harder to predict).

So make sure you actually get into bed and lie down if you're not doing. Get books to read, set yourself up to watch TV and listen to music or audiobooks, so that you can spend some serious time there. Or if you feel a bit better than I did, set yourself up on the sofa. Consciously rest for more of the day than you feel you need to. I find my overall symptoms greatly reduce when I rest.

Don't underestimate how much more rest you get if you fully lie down, or lounge back on a sofa, as opposed to sitting straight up. A hypothyroid friend of mine was without a sofa for a couple of weeks recently, and was sitting in an office chair in his lounge. He is generally quite well, but his symptoms went through the roof. The only explanation we could find was that in the evenings he was missing out on lying back for a couple of hours as he was used to. Of course I was furious because I thought he should hVe been in bed instead, I am constantly nagging everyone to rest more :p


Hi I had my thyroid out in 2015 a similar situation to you i.e. had no thyroid problems before or any medication. It is such great shock to the body let alone the operation.

The good thing about us is this. We know and can easily remember how we felt before the operation. So it's easier to gauge what we should be feeling like.

Some people on here have had thyroid issues for years and I mean years.

Good luck and take it easy I have been helped so much from the good people on this site.

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