There are many ways of curing hyperthyroidism and one of the best ways is through the use of radioactive iodine treatment. Mentioned below are some interesting facts about radioactive iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism.
What is Radioactive Iodine?
Radioactive iodine is exactly like nonradioactive iodine. It is given to the patient of hyperthyroidism in the form of tasteless solution in water or in the form of capsules.
The only difference between radioactive and nonradioactive iodine is that the nucleus of radioactive iodine has excessive energy which leaves a trace in cells where it is stored.
How does this Treatment Work?
This mode of treatment works on the fact that the thyroid cells, which produce the hormone, cannot distinguish between radioactive and nonradioactive iodine. So the cells of the thyroid gland absorb and store radioactive iodine in the same way as nonradioactive iodine. The radiation from the stored iodine damages the cells of the thyroid gland, slowing the production of thyroid hormone.
The thyroid cells do not retain radioactive iodine for a period long enough to cause damage to the body. Extra radioactive iodine, not absorbed by the thyroid, is quickly excreted from the body in the form of urine, posing no danger to the other organs.
Duration of Treatment
Usually, in most patients, radioactive iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism takes about three months. Patients are generally no longer victims of hyperthyroidism by this time. Occasionally however, in particularly recalcitrant cells, treatment can take up to six months. Generally one to two doses of radioactive iodine are given to the patient. However since the procedure is safe, and radioactive iodine is not retained by the body, a third dose can also be given.
The answer, thankfully, is no. Although the thyroid gland may be a little tender for a couple of days, there are no noticeable side effects of radioactive iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism. It is a safe and completely harmless mode of treatment, which accounts for its widespread use by doctors and endocrinologists.
However, one precaution which has to be adopted is that breast feeding mothers should not be prescribed this mode of treatment. Radioactive iodine can pass from the mother’s body to the baby’s through breast milk and this can be potentially harmful for the infant.