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sex after RAI

Posts: 11
Joined: Oct 2009

My husband has been so worried about when we can have sex after the RAI treatment. I have read anywhere from 5 days to 30. Does anyone have an accurate number?

As I have researched what is available to read, I've read so many conflicting reports on numbers of days for everything. As though they are scared of the RAI and want to be super cautious...depending on the state you live in. I want to understand what is safe. thanks for any help.

Posts: 4
Joined: Oct 2009

What kind of contact can I have with other people after my radioactive iodine treatment?

All patients are checked prior to discharge from hospital to ensure that the levels of radiation in their neck and body have returned to levels that are considered safe by regulatory authorities. Using common sense, it seems reasonable to avoid intimate contact for a few days (kissing, hugging, sexual activity, sharing food etc) as there may still be small trace amounts of radioactive iodine in saliva or other body fluids and secretions. Accordingly, while there is no reason for patients to remain secluded in separate rooms after discharge from hospital, intimacy and immediate proximity to others should gradually be reintroduced after several days. There are no scientific studies that have examined whether it is safe to kiss someone at 48 versus 24 hours etc, so we empirically suggest waiting an additional 2-3 days after discharge before resuming normal intimate human activities. To review some data that addresses the disappearance of radioactive iodine from our bodies, see Effective half-life of 131I in thyroid cancer patients. Health Phys. 2001 Sep;81(3):325-9.

Posts: 11
Joined: Oct 2009

Thank you for your comment. Actually, I get the treatment then I am pushed out the door. No hospital time at all. So, I won't really know how safe I am. I am inclined to lean toward the safe side, but I don't want to be obsessive. I would be crushed if I hurt those I love...Thanks again.

Posts: 118
Joined: Oct 2009

Poppit~ I would call your doctor. Better to be safe with something like this. I was not checked for radiation levels being safe when I left the hospital. I was given the pill, waited 1.5 hours and then sent home. I would call my doctor for any questions pertaining to RAI and they were always helpful.

Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

The technician at my Nuclear Medicine office said that I was safe as soon as I was out of isolation. I think she even said something bizarre to my husband like "you could even drink her urine and it wouldn't harm you." We had sex a day or two after I was out of isolation and so far nothing has fallen off of him. I really don't know how much truth there is to what the technician said, but we felt like she was qualified to know.

Posts: 507
Joined: Apr 2010

its all about risk

in the US at least you can be released from the hospital when you are less than 7mr/hour at 1 meter.

radioactive iodine has a half life of 8.02 days so every about 8 days half the radiation is gone from your system that is going to decay away

assuming that 100% of the radiation they give you stays in your body (it wont the first few days you sweat and urinate out a large portion i don't know how much but assuming 150mci stays)
so if you are given 150mci of radiation 8 days later its 75mci another 8 days and its 37.5 then 18.75.

any exposure to radiation increases your risk but by how much i don't think there is an easy answer.

personally i would say 8 days is a good minimum by then you should have sweated and urinated out almost all of the loose radiation that isn't going to stay and naturally decay away.

also remember that the radiation you are given is used to kill off your remaining thyroid tissue or to shrink the thyroid tissue if its a pre-surgery. so anything you give off has a chance of killing healthy tissue in yourself as well as anyone you spend time with.

again it is a very small risk in my opinion but im not a doctor and im not a person who knows how much damage it could cause to your loved one.

Posts: 156
Joined: Mar 2010

After I finished with my TBS I was able to kiss, have sex, and return to normal life. I was in isolation for 7 days after my RAI dose. I had my TBS and it didn't show accumulation of RAI anywhere but the neck.

Posts: 104
Joined: Dec 2009

Hey, if you still have the desire to have sex after it all, more power to you. I've found that since being diagnosed and treated for Hurthle cell cancer seven years ago, my libido had swung high and low, along with my mood swings, plus having to deal with my husband's own problems of mood swings, some of them due to dealing with my thyroid cancer, some due to his how depression and bi-polar issues. He's never been formally diagnosed, but I see all the signs. It hasn't been easy, and sometimes I feel it all comes down to him not understanding how much thyroid cancer/issues affect every part of your being, both physical and emotional.

Hang in there. Keep your relationship open and as "normal" as possible to preserve your sanity and any semblance of normality.

Hugs, Patti

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