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Thyroid UK
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Why don't people with under active thryroid have thyroid removed.

I have an over active thyroid and have been told that I need it removed, they said I will be on thyroxcin for the rest of my life, but that it is easyier to treat once removed. Is this true? and if it is why do people with under active not have this treatment, or is there another reason why they don't. Sorry I just don't know enough, but most people on this sight have an underactive thyroid mine is the other way. Will I feel like you after or is it as controlable as the doc says. ?

11 Replies

Hiya, I think it's because people with an underactive thyroid there thyroid gland is dead so they don't need to worry about but with an overactive the thyroid is still working but to much so need to be removed which then means you have longer got a thyroid hence why you will then need thyroxin, it's probably a lot easier to treat someone with no thyroid then it is with someone with and underactive but you would think if this is the case that it's easier to treat one without a thyroid then they would take everyone out who has hthis problem, I've gone on a bit here lol so anyway good luck and hope you get the answer your looking for take care vikki.


Thanks so much for your comment, it has helped me understand a little better. One other question with reference to your responce. If the thyriod gland is dead, does that mean that your body acts as though it has been removed, I am still not sure I fully understand, or is it because of other underlining factors, ie some people respond well to treatment and some don't, some take there meds and feel well again, and some feel worse. I just don't want to swap one illness for another if you understand what I mean. I like all of you just want to feel normal again and not wonder if I will have a good day or a bad day when I wake up.

Or is how I'm feeling just part of my anicity problem. sorry about the spelling brain drain.

<b>Updated on Jul 27 2010 1:22PM:</b> So why don't they take out the thyroid of people with under active who do not improve and find it hard to function. can anyone answer this. ?


I'm most cases the body just rejects it but like in my case my body still thinks I've got a foreign object so instead of my body forgetting about my white blood cells are attacking it but also in the process it's also attacking my joints, heart, liver that's how my doctor explained it to me I think by removing my thyroid gland it's not going to do much the damage is already done, take care vikki.

<b>Updated on Jul 27 2010 9:19PM:</b> I also hope when you have this you will get back to normal, I've got a friend who had the same as you and she totally fine now no problem at all hope that helps


Thank you very much for your help, I understand a lot better now thanks to you and I am truly sorry to hear you are still suffering and wish you well.

Once again thanks for taking the time to explain to me.


i had a subtotal thyroidectomy in 1990 for an over active thyroid, I was not put on any meds as the consultant said he took out just the right amount, I now find the remaining bit is underactive so am on 25mg thyroxene and have my first blood test tomorow since starting to see if i am on the right dose, the reason mine was removed was because the goitre was starting to wrap itself around my windpipe and i was having trouble breathing. When is your surgery?


I don't have a date yet, I had blood test on Monday to check my levels as he said I need to get my levels down before I can have op. I was asked to increase the dosage of my propylthiouracil to 150 mg twice a day, but after a week I got swelling under my eyes, they are not sure if this is due to the increase in tablets or just a problem with my eyes. I was told to reduce the tablets back down to 100mg twice a day and given Fucithalmic drops (cream) for my eyes. The swelling has gone down but I get a tingling sensation where the swelling was and my eyes feel iritated all the time. I don't know if the sweeling has gone down because of the drops, or because of the reduced meds. I have a follow up appointment with specialist in November supposed to be after my opperation. I hate this I feel up in the air all the time, I am under pressure to find work from social, every time I go for an interview it seems to set of the shakes, tryed increasing dose of propranolol but that caused side effects. I am 55 worked in various admin rolls most of my life, can't ethan get a job in a dept. store. Now I am waiting to have this op, who in there right mind is going to give me a job now. Sorry I am gripping on and I don't want to. I just feel so angree and fed up all the time these days.


you are not griping on Susanoa it must be so frustrating for you, I wish i could be of more help x


Thank you for not thinking I'm griping, as I am sure some family and friends keep telling me I am worry to much, but I find the slightest change worrying as it makes me think some thing else is going wrong. My eyes feeel awful although the swelling has gone down they don't feel any better.

Sorry going on again and I know there are a lot of people out there much worse than me, but as I'm sure you know when things start happeniing to you that you ahve no control over you can't stop yourself worrying and thinking the worst.



Exactly the same question passed through my mind many times. I came to the following conclusions.

Any operation, however fundamentally safe and well done, has some risks. Apart from the anaesthetics, etc., there is a specific risk to both parathyroid glands and to vocal chords. Would the benefits outweigh the risks?

Any operation (even something as trivial as stitching a cut) is expensive compared to thyroxine.

It is quite well documented that a few people seem to recover considerable thyroid function. Removal would preclude this possibility.

Many of the bad states that are reported seem to be due to factors other than just having low thyroid hormone levels. You too may have antibodies, the effects of medicines for overactive thyroid, and so on. But one thing you should not be suffering from is the effect of living with the severe damage caused by long periods of low thyroid hormone - a situation that seems to be nearly universal for the underactive population.

I think 'easier to treat' is possibly very much referring to you not being on medication for the overativity.

All the best



I was told by my doctor that one of the reasons for having the thyroid removed, is because of the long term effect of the tablets I am taking, as they could work against me. I was offerd Radio active Iodine or surgery,I chose surgery as the thought of anything radio active scares me, not only that you hear of people that have this treatment having problems because the dosage was not effective enough. I am aware of the risk of surgery, and will ask if there is any signs of anything wrapping itself around my vocal cords, I think they can find this out through a scan. I have nodules and it is always in the back of my mind the fear of cancer. I have not been offered a biopsy on the nodules and one of my fears is that if I opt for Radio active Iodine, how would I know if the nodules where cancerous or not. I think I have a goitre as well, I say I think because up untill last month I was told that I had graves disease. But when visiting the hospital last I was told that I had nodules. Then another doctor I saw told me I had a goitre. I do wish they would keep me better informed. I have been of my meds ofr 2 1/2 years. I took over a year of suffering whith bad shakes, weight loss, depresion ect. before it was discovered that I had an over active thyroid. Thankyou for the info you have given me, I have found out more information about thyroid problems from this sight than I have from any doctor.

<b>Updated on Jul 30 2010 8:19AM:</b> Thanks Rod.


Hi it was interesting to read about your situation because as you say most people on this site seem to have an underactive thyroid. I had an overactive thyroid and had it removed in July. I am sorry to say that I am still struggling with feeling rough. I am on 100 mcg thyroxin at the moment but it is not right as I can only eat about 1200 cals a day or the weight rushes on and I get very tired. They have tried to increase the dose but then I get stressy, upset tummy and only about 3hrs sleep a night they just keep saying do another blood test in 6wks a see how it goes. Im not really sure what to do. I understand some people do feel better so I hope it goes well for you. xx


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