Can You Live Without Your Thyroid, And If So What Will The Effect Be On The Body? What Would It Happen?


10 Answers

Jackie Russell Profile
Jackie Russell answered
The thyroid, or thyroid gland, is among the body's largest endocrine glands.

Located in the neck below the thyroid cartilage, which forms the adam's apple, or laryngeal prominence and at the same height as the cricoid cartelage, it controls how quickly a body uses energy and makes proteins.

It also controls the sensitivity of a body to other hormones. It takes part in these important processes by generating various thyroid hormones.

The two main hormones produced are firstly triiodothyronine (T3) and secondly thyroxine (T4). They regulate the metabolism rate and affect growth and function of other body systems. Both are synthesised from iodine and tyrosine.

Calcitonin, another product of the thyroid, plays an active role in so-called calcium homeostasis.

The most commonly encountered problems with the thyroid are an over-active gland, known as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, an under-active gland.

Hyperthyroidism can in extreme cases lead to toxic goiters caused by excessive growth of the gland in response to no negative feedback being received.

This may either be treated via radioactive iodine being administered and taken up by the thyroid, eventually destroying at least part of it; or, if all else fails, by completely removing the thyroid gland.

Removing the thyroid will result in hypothyroidism. Typical symptoms of this condition include tiredness, abnormal weight gain, bradicardia, baldness and cold intolerance.

Hypothyroidism is usually treated with a therapy of hormone replacement. This treatment is usually required by the patient for the rest of his or her life.

Being administered and continually monitored by a physician, this treatment may take several weeks before becoming fully effective.

In conclusion, this means that it is possible to live without a thyroid gland but effects of the removal will result in a condition known as hypothyroidism, requiring life--long treatment and regular supervision by a physician.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
My thyroid was removed in 2002. I had a goiter and the doctors feared I would be at risk for cancer and so strongly suggested its removal. Before the surgery I had never had any problems with hyper or hypo thyroid-ism. After the surgery, which went very well, my natural thyroid hormone was replaced with a synthetic thyroid hormone. I have never been the same since. It took over a year to 'balance' my thyroid hormone to the level I am on now. Since that time my periods have been completely debilitating. More than just painful, my body and mind simply can not function and the pain is incredible. My memory skills have dropped to the point that it is difficult to focus and get through simple tasks in my day. Often I have anxiety and stress for no reason. Crying jags and irrational anger are not uncommon. I have not held a job since 2004. My weight over all is not bad. This is due to going on an almost completely organic diet and removing all toxic (and hormone effecting) chemicals from my life. Exercise does not seem to help and when I exercised a lot it seemed to make things worse. I see doctors and do tests but there are no answers that explain what I am going through. I do not have any other serious condition. I take my hormone daily at the same time every day, I do not eat food for one hour after taking the pill and I do not take vitamins for 5 hours after taking the pill. This is all per instruction. There are times when my hair will fall out in large amounts and it has thinned over time. I am 40 years old. It is possible to be alive without your thyroid but I have found that it is not really so easy to really live. I would only recommend someone removing their thyroid if they knew that it had cancer and that cancer was likely to kill them. I found out later that surgery for me was not needed as there are other ways to deal with a goiter both with traditional and non traditional medicine. I hope this is helpful to you.
Jennifer Jorgensen
Rena Chisholm Profile
Rena Chisholm answered
You can live a rich, full and active life after having your thyroid removed. I have a friend who had her thyroid removed. She eats basically anything she wants to. She does have to take medication for the rest of her life, and her throat was a bit sore after the surgery, but is doing fine now. She gained a few pounds but that's about it. She still goes to work everyday and is very active.
Jo W. Profile
Jo W. answered
Hi tandrob,

From one who has had her thyroid removed yes, you can live a "regular" life.

As you may know, the thyroid regulates every body function there is, so you will have to take one form or another of Levoxyl, a thyroid replacement hormone.

You will be considered hypothyroid (low thyroid level) and can expect the long muscles of your arms and legs to be sore and to feel cold and confused if your thyroid level gets too low. You can also expect to gain a few pounds if the level is not properly maintained.

Do what your doctor says regarding the regular checking of blood work and be aware of things changing in your body, being sure to make the doctor aware of anything new and out of the ordinary to you and continue to do your research. I think it took me a good 8 months to find out everything I really needed to know in depth about it.

Best of luck and please don't hesitate to give me a shout if you need to talk!


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Anonymous commented
My sister just had a tyroid surgery but since then she's being to the emergency room about 4 times because her calcuim level is keep on going low. Is that nomal? The doctors say the do know what is causing that.
Anonymous commented
Don't know what my test will say, will find out 06-24-09. Thanks for the info. Ron
Jo W.
Jo W. commented
I am sorry that your sister is having troubles. That shouldn't be sweetie. I was told that I wouldn't be allowed to leave the hospital unless my calcium level was high; luckily I was fine and left the next AM because my nurses were just horrible!

I would call the surgeon to see what information he/she can offer about that. My surgeon was VERY helpful to me after my surgery.

Please let me know what you find out and how your sister is doing.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Low calcium has to do with damage to the hypothyroid glands during surgery. These 4 small glands are the size of rice and you only need 1/4 of 1 to keep your calcium levels normal. I am 10 months post surgery. I had surgery on a Friday and was back at work on Monday. I just needed to be careful of neck strain when lifting saddles. I lost 30 pounds and was doing great on Armour Thyroid until it went on back order. I am adjusting to synthetic but defintely feel the difference in memory, concentration and energy. I know there are horror stories but for me surgery was the best choice.
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Anonymous commented
Thank you for your info ! I am facing possible surgery soon to have my thyroid removed because of nodules that grown on it causing it to be larger. I have heard a little about Armour Thyroid and am glad it worked for you for a while. But why did you have to have surgery? I wonder if there is anyway to shrink my thyroid and avoid surgery?
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered

Had my thyroid removed when I was 21.  I am now 54 and still ok. Take thyroxin regularly eat what I want, work 24/7. Never had calcium problems. Trust me don't believe the hype - I am ok !

Mary Villeneuve Villeneuve Profile

My friend just had a tyroid surgery and she lead a normal life. Now she eats everyhing what she wants.

Sandra Figueroa Profile
Sandra Figueroa answered

Thyroid remove body is not good for our health. It balance our hormone system. Low calcium has to do with damage to the hypothyroid glands during surgery. You can live a rich, full and active life after having your thyroid removed.  Todays life we apply surgical treatment for remove our thyroide.

Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I am new to all of this but maybe someone can help me.  My husband was recently diagnosed with lymphoma (found cloudiness in his lung area) so they did a full body CT and found a growth on his thyroid.  They are going to biopsy it of course but I was wondering if this is something that they would remove the thyroid for if the growth turns out to be malignant or if anyone knows anything that can help me.
ray of light Profile
ray of light answered
Yes one can live with out thyroids but will suffer with many problems. These are hoarse voice, can get infection in any wound,
Growth retardation, Low calcium in blood, can use only soft diet, medication life time.
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Jo W.
Jo W. commented
What you describe is not correct Rayoflight. Yes, you can have a hoarse voice after surgery, but the doc is working near your vocal cords. Growth retardation can occur in babies if they are not treated. Low calcium can be dealt with; I've never had a low reading after 7+ years. Getting an infection in any wound sounds more like not taking care of yourself or having diabetes. Who told you a soft diet? That's for people without teeth! Yes, meds for life, but what's 1 little pill in the AM?

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