How to Avoid The Dangerous Side Effects of Radioactive Iodine Treatment
I recently posted an infographic about the Dangers of Radioactive Iodine Treatment (RAI) on Instagram. Simple facts, some of which I am about to share, yet, before I knew it a war of opinions broke out.
There were some sharing the stories of their failed RAI treatments, while a couple of people were defending it no matter the cost. I found a common thread between the latter – they were too afraid to challenge the conventional medical establishment. They did not dare to look outside it for natural solutions to their health issues, so, rather than admitting they were wronged by the medical profession, they ardently defended what was done to them.
This prompted me to create a podcast episode “How to Avoid The Dangerous Side Effects of Radioactive Iodine Treatment” to address the efficacy, the concerns, the side effects, and the long-term repercussions of RAI.
If you have any of the thyroid disorders that might one day lead to your doctors recommending Radioactive Iodine Treatment, you want to listen to this podcast from beginning to end. They include but are not limited to, Grave’s Disease, hyperthyroidism, Hashimoto’s, hypothyroidism, Thyroid Eye Disease, thyroid cancers, large nodules, and goiters.
You can jump directly to the podcast now(below), or read this quick intro and terms and definitions first.
What is Radioactive Iodine Treatment?
Radioactive iodine treatment (RAI) is a medical procedure that is used to treat various conditions, including hyperthyroidism, Grave’s disease, thyroid eye disease, and thyroid cancer. This treatment involves the administration of radioactive iodine, knowns as iodine-131, which can damage the thyroid gland and lead to a number of dangerous side effects.
When is Radioactive Iodine Treatment Recommended?
Radioactive iodine treatment is not recommended to everyone with Grave’s Disease and hyperthyroidism immediately. At first, doctors might prescribe thyroid medication, such as Methimazole, to regulate hyperthyroidism. However, in cases when a patient does not respond to medication, has a large tumor or goiter that cannot be safely removed, or has been on hyperthyroid medications for too long, doctors will move their patients toward either thyroidectomy (surgical removal of the thyroid gland) or Radioactive Iodine Treatment.
How is Radioactive Iodine Treatment Administered?
Radioactive iodine treatment is usually administered in the form of a pill or liquid that is taken by mouth. The radioactive iodine is absorbed by the thyroid gland. This destroys thyroid cells. This leads to a reduction in the amount of thyroid hormone produced by the gland, which will require permanent dependence on hypothyroid medication.
What are Immediate Side Effects after Radioactive Iodine Treatment has been Administered?
If you decide to undergo RAI, your doctor will recommend you to follow these guidelines for 4-7 days after receiving the medicine:
- Avoid being around people for 4+ days
- Some sources also recommend avoiding being around your pets
- No physical contact with people, or using each other’s personal care items, and even dishes!
- Sleep alone – no human contact! You are radioactive after all.
- Wash the tub and sink after each use (including after brushing teeth) – because you are leaving radioactive elements behind each time you come in contact with anyone or anything.
- Wash your clothes, bed linens, and eating utensils separately – this one does not make sense, since you cannot wash your utensils with your linens, but… that’s the recommendation.
- Sodium iodide I 131 is passed in the urine. To prevent contamination of your home, flush the toilet twice after you urinate.
Side Effects of Radioactive Iodine Treatment Immediately After Treatment
The most common side effect of radioactive iodine treatment immediately after it’s been administered is that you will feel very tired for the first few days after the treatment. You may also experience nausea and vomiting, as well as a decrease in appetite. Neck tenderness and swelling. Swelling and tenderness of the salivary glands. Taste changes. Dry mouth.
You may also develop:
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- shortness of breath
- black, tarry stools
- blood in the urine or stools
- cough or hoarseness
- fever or chills
- lower back or side pain
- painful or difficult swallowing
- painful or difficult urination
- pinpoint red spots on the skin
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- swelling of the eyes, face, lips after receiving the medicine.
However, this is NOT the worst of it!
Once your isolation time is over, you must get ready for a lifetime of the possibility of developing some, or all of the following symptoms.
What are the Side Effects of Radioactive Iodine Treatment?
The side effects of radioactive iodine treatment include an increased risk of developing cancers, damage to the thyroid gland, and infertility. The radioactive iodine can also cause other health problems including:
- increased risk for cancer or thyroid problems
- temporary or permanent infertility in both men and women
- weight gain
- muscle weakness
- joint pain
- dry skin
- brittle nails
- hair loss
- memory problems
- mood swings
- difficulty concentrating
- sleep problems
- changes in menstrual periods
- dry, puffy skin
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- excessive sweating
- fast, irregular, pounding or racing heartbeat or pulse
- unusual irritability
- chest pain
- hives, itching, and rash
- sensitivity to heat
- tenderness of salivary glands
- trouble sleeping
- weight loss
- pregnancy complications, such as an increased risk for miscarriage, premature delivery, or low birth weight babies
- developing leukemia
- stomach cancer
- salivary gland cancer
- death from cardiovascular disorders
- radioactive iodine was associated with an increased risk for mortality from overall cancer, breast cancer, and non-breast solid cancers (source)
- And many symptoms of hypothyroidism, since immediately after the treatment, your hyperthyroidism will become hypothyroidism, in the absence of a functional thyroid gland.
When the quality of life was examined in patients who received RAI, it was found that it is worse at 6-10 years after radioactive iodine therapy of Graves’ disease compared with treatment with antithyroid drugs or surgery.
Better Ways to Resolve Grave’s Disease and Hyperthyroidism
Grave’s Disease is difficult to deal with, as is hyperthyroidism and other forms of thyroid disorders. So, it is only natural for those who suffer to want quick relief. We have also been conditioned not to question our doctors, although we should, because medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States. It is estimated that around 251,000 lives are claimed each year because of medical errors (source). And around 128,000 people die from drugs prescribed to them by doctors (source). So, nearly 400,000 lives are lost annually to the medical industry. This means only one thing…
All medicine, surgeries, and treatments such as RAI have to be the absolute LAST resort to consider when treating chronic conditions. And only after ALL other means have been exhausted and got multiple medical and holistic opinions! Once the procedure is done, there is NO reversing it!!!
In the last decade of coaching, I’ve helped thousands of my clients achieve symptom-free, and often medication-free lives, without them having to resort to draconian treatments such as RAI or thyroidectomies.
Looking at labs to chase a perfect report, and isolated symptoms give us only a part of the story, and can NEVER give us a solution. Yet, these are the only variants considered by medical doctors when deciding on the plan of action for their patients.
Understanding the Root Cause of thyroid disorders has to be the first line of defense before treatment is designed or administered. I normally consider close to 20 possible root causes of thyroid disorders before creating a plan for my clients!!!
Here are just a few examples:
- poor nutrition (even when people think they are eating great!)
- poor gut health
- genetic mutations
- medical and dental treatments
- frequent exposure to radiation
- environmental toxins
And many more.
In today’s episode of the Health Wizard podcast, I am diving into this topic and offering you a way to start reversing Grave’s Disease, Thyroid Eye Disease, hyperthyroidism, and even nodules and goiters without surgeries or radiation.
Let’s dive in!
Once you’re done listening and you would like to start on your hormone & thyroid healing journey, schedule your complimentary 15-minute health clarity call to see how we can help.
How to Avoid The Dangerous Side Effects of Radioactive Iodine Treatment
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