Radioactive Iodine Therapy

The world of medicine have seen a lot of phenomenal changes in the last few decades and many new innovative treatments have been created to treat and cure harmful diseases. Radioactive Iodine Therapy is one such treatment in which Radioiodine (i-31) is used for the treatment of overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism.

What is Radioactive Iodine?

Radioactive Iodine or radioiodine (I-131) is actually an isotope which is created from iodine in a way that it emits radiation, which can be used in medical treatment. A small portion (dose) of this isotope is ingested into the patient’s body, it mixes with the blood and due to the flow of blood, it reaches the thyroid gland and eventually destroys all cancer cells.

This procedure is normally carried out by specialists like endocrinologist or oncologist and the patient has to be under strict supervision. The patients are allowed to return home however, they are asked to take certain precautions. In most cases, the iodine leaves the patient’s body in a day or two, throw passing of urine. Small amount of the iodine is also discharged through saliva, tears, sweats, feces and vaginal secretions.


  • Use only the toilets at home and avoid public toilets.
  • Take proper care of personal hygiene by bathing daily and regularly washing hands.
  • Drink sufficient water and other fluids.
  • Avoid body contact with other people and try sleeping alone.
  • Wash towels, beddings and other clothes that you use on a daily basis.

While the radioactivity from this treatment remains in the thyroid for a while, it greatly decreases after a few days. Its effect on the thyroid gland usually develops within one to three months and the maximum effect can be felt between three and six months after treatment. Most people who take this treatment also experience a momentary pain in their thyroid.