How Radioactive Iodine Treatment Affects Your Daily Life

Radioactive Iodine

Radioactive Iodine Treatment: What To Expect and How It Affects Your Health

Radioactive iodine treatment, also referred to as RAI or radioiodine therapy, is a treatment option that can be used to regulate your thyroid gland. Radioactive iodine is commonly used to treat an overactive thyroid or thyroid cancer. Treatment involves taking a single dose of this radioactive material, which is absorbed by the thyroid gland.

When performing this treatment, it’s important to understand how it can affect your daily life and health. Read on to find out more about radioactive iodine therapy and its side effects.

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What Is Radioactive Iodine Treatment?

Radioactive iodine, or RAI, therapy is a treatment option for individuals suffering from hyperthyroidism, thyroid cancer, and goiter. The common name for the radioactive iodine used in this treatment is Iodine-131, and it is taken in pill form.

When taken, the Iodine-131 attaches itself to the thyroid gland, where it then sends out radiation in the form of beta particles. This radiation destroys the thyroid cells that are overproducing hormones, and in turn helps to regulate the gland.

Side Effects of Radioactive Iodine Treatment

Radiation exposure – As with any treatment involving radiation, there can be risks associated with receiving radioactive iodine therapy. Although the risk involved is minimal, it is always important to speak with your doctor about any concerns you may have.

Thyroid hormone levels – After undergoing radioactive iodine treatment, your thyroid hormone levels may fluctuate. You may experience symptoms of either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, such as fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and weight gain. To help control the fluctuation of your hormones, your doctor may prescribe medication.

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Radiation exposure risk to others – After undergoing radioactive iodine treatment, you should take precaution when near others. For a short time after treatment, the radiation will travel through your body and could be picked up by those around you. Therefore, you should avoid intimate contact with family and friends, including kissing, sharing food, and sleeping in the same bed. Additionally, you should not use the same utensils or go to the bathroom at the same time as others.

How To Limit the Side Effects of Radioactive Iodine Treatment

The best way to limit the side effects of radioactive iodine treatment is to follow your doctor’s instructions closely and be mindful of your body during treatment. Be sure to drink plenty of water, eat healthy foods, and get plenty of rest. Additionally, you should use caution when around others.

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Your doctor can also provide you with medication to help manage any thyroid hormone fluctuations. Furthermore, any concerns you have about radiation exposure should also be discussed with your doctor.

The Bottom Line

Radioactive iodine treatment can be an effective way to help regulate your thyroid hormone levels. By understanding how it works and the potential side effects, you can take steps to limit any of the risks associated with treatment. Ultimately, make sure to speak with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.