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low calcium levels after thyroidectomy

Posts: 181
Joined: Jan 2009

I had surgery one week ago for a nodule on right thyroid, turned out to be papillary thyroid cancer. Parathyroids were preserved, however I have had low levels of calcium, magnesium and potassium...calcium still is problem. I have been to ER twice because of twitching and spasms, and now they have me on Calcitriol(Rocaltrol).I was told trauma to parathys can cause this, although it is rare. Has anyone else ever had this? I am not on any thyroid hormone, I think because they want me hypo prior to iodine treatment. I have been through treatment for vulvar cancer with radiation in past 8 months, I feel as if this may be harder for me to deal with, since I never felt sick with previous cancer, but now I feel sick, I have also gained 6 pounds in past week...is this normal?
Any insight or personal experience would be appreciated.

Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2009

From my understanding it is common to have low calcium levels after surgery. If you are too low then they need to give you something to boost it.

My doctor has me taking 2 tums (chewable) 3 times a day to keep my levels normal. Then my endocrinologist is supposed to start to wean me off the tums as the glands start to wake up for the calcium levels.

I am sure you are not on the thyroid hormones yet because of the iodine treatment. My aunt said that was the worst part for her. I was lucky they found a very small amount of the paillary cells that I don't need to have the iodine or chemo. They are confident they got it.

Hang in there. Maybe ask the doctor about chewing the tums to help with the calcium levels

Posts: 181
Joined: Jan 2009

I saw endo doc last Thursday, I am on mega doses of calcium and a prescription of activated Vitamin D, to help absorption.My body was not hanging onto the calcium I was given in the I.V.s Apparently this is a rare reaction that is involving the parathyroids, either they were damaged or just upset during surgery. Only time will tell if they recover, if not, I will be on calcium supplements lifelong, which is probably good anyway. I just feel so yucky now, with no thyroid hormone and then this twitching and spasms, I feel completely exhausted.
My situation was further complicated by low levels of the magnesium and potassium, but now that I got in with endo, I am confident it will get better eventually.Thanks for the idea about the tums, I will ask doc about that. I have blood draw for TSH levels on the 14th.

gmthul's picture
Posts: 19
Joined: Sep 2008

I suffered this as well. When I had a second opinion done elsewhere post-surgery, found out 2 parathyroids were removed along with my cancer and thyroid tissue. I take a liquid calcium/magnesium/vitamin D/phosphorus supplement from Puritan's Pride that has been the most effective of all I have tried at ridding me of the low calcium symptoms.

Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2017

This is an old thread but I had the same exact issue. How are you niw? Did levels stay okay? What are you still taking and wss anythi ever discovered about magnessium and potassium drop? I understand the scariness and the awfulness of no one having an answer

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