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Thyroid UK
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Depression after total thyroidectomy

Hi I'm 47 and I had a TT 6 wks ago due to a large multi nodular goiter. No previous thyroid problems. Had my levels checked 2 wks after op and they were fine apparently. Consultant told me I should be fine and back at work after 2 wks. I still haven't gone back to work yet as I'm so unmotivated and depressed and crying all the time. I have upped my antidepressants but feel like I should be a lot better than I am. Physically I'm fine but I hate feeling like this. I keep thinking is it because I've been off work and spent a lot of time on my own or is it something chemical?! Anyone else had similar?

7 Replies


You need to get your test results,just because they say they're fine doesn't tell you anything. You need to know the results with the reference ranges.

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I am sorry you are left in the lurch as after surgeon does his work, it's back to the GP I assume.

The first thing you must do is make an appointment for a new blood test for thyroid hormones.

It has to be the very earliest appointment, and fasting. If you are on thyroid hormones (levothyroxine usually) it has to be an optimum dose.

Ask for TSH, T4, T3, Free T4 and Free T3 and antibodies. Lab may not do the Frees if TSH is 'normal' in range doctors are happy. We need a TSH of 1 or lower.

Low T3 can be the cause of depression.

We get provided with levothyroxine which is T4 only. T4 is inactive and has to convert to T3 but maybe if not on an optimal dose of T4 we don't have sufficient T3. T3 is the only active thyroid hormone and is required in all of our receptor cells, the brain and heart need the most.

T3 also known as liothyronine. If yours is too low it could be the cause of you feeling so bad.

Those members who also have had a thyroidectomy will respond too.


Hi, I'm presuming you have been prescribed Levo? (Like me, 4 weeks ago, 175mcg) They should be beginning to kick in after 6 weeks, but remember you have been through major surgery, it's going to take a while before you feel better. Have you had your vitamins checked? Before my op I discovered my vitamin D was woefully low, which explained a lot. I have also been on anti depressants for years, whether they still help after all this time is debatable! Feel free to moan to me, I'm a good listener x


Hi Lindsay, I take 125 levo , I also take 50 sertraline (had got down from 100 to 25 before surgery) feel that may go up again!

I was taking calcium after op , bloods after 2 wks came back fine so stopped that although how they can tell when you are already on supplements I don't know?!

Not had anything since but due blood test in couple of weeks I think.

Feel better today but know it can easily turn .

They seem to perform major surgery on an important organ then just leave you to fend for yourself

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Hello Becky, very sorry to hear how unwell you are feeling. Endo's know nothing it seems about how having a thyroidectomy actually affects your wellbeing. I expect the depression is your body's adjustment to living without the usual fine thyroid hormone adjustments that our natural thyroid makes.

It could also be due to the after effects of anaesthesia. It can take a long time for our bodies to get back into shape. I think the Endo saying you should be back in work in 2 weeks might be unrealistic and would be for many people after thyroidectomy. It would be kinder to tell people they'll need 6 months off work to get thyroid hormones adjusted and begin to recover and review it then.

I found it took me a long while to recover. I would get your vitmain levels tested, especially Vit D and B12 if you've not already done so. Losing a body part is pretty traumatic if you think about it. Just because others can't see it doesn't mean its easy to get over. If you can afford to visit a good hypnotherapist who is registered to get some relaxation, then it could be worth it. The NHS won't offer it but it might help you to get through this stage.

Do one thing each day you enjoy, even if just listening to some music. Going for a walk or going to a cafe for a drink, doing some craft. Get outdoors and take some photographs and try looking around you at nature or whatever you've got in your neighbourhood.You will get better eventually so try to enjoy one thing each day.

I agree with SeasideSusie, get your test results. YOu need to see what is going on and then post them here for advice and support to work it out.

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2 weeks is way too soon to test. 6 or 7 weeks for anything to level out.


I wasn't able to go back to work for weeks as I am an agent in a call center and lost my voice due to surgery. I have also been severely depressed since my surgery, however, because of the Graves, my grandkids don't want to be around me at all for 2 years now, my mom passed away last year, and I lost my apartment. I'm living in my mother in laws house with my husband whom I should have been divorced from 5 years ago. Soooo...no meds. Saw my father and sister misdagnosed and overmedicated to death, literally and I am afraid of the same.


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