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salivary gland problems

Posts: 22
Joined: Jul 2009

I completed radio iodine treatment in September. I am now having what I think is delayed salivary gland problem. Pain in my jaw; I have had mouth sores and salty taste intermittently since the treatment. Has any had this and what did you do about it? Do I call my endo? Or my primary care and get a referral for an ear, nose and throat specialist? Any at home remedies?

Posts: 55
Joined: Nov 2009

I had a total thyroidectomey July 20, 09 (Hurthle Cell Carcinoma) and radioiodine Sept. 2, 09. I was told to suck on hard lemon candy and to drink lots of water; both seemed to help, but that was probably the first 1-2 weeks after the treatment. I also had sores and salty taste for 4-5 weeks afterward. Some foods tasted strangely for quite a while and some foods I enjoyed before, I no longer like. The first bites of food made me ache in the salivary gland area for the first few weeks after the treatment as well.

I have had a good bit of pain in the right side of my throat and upward toward my ear, the path my tumor took before surgery. My surgeon explained today that it could be residual damage or injury to my salivary glands from the radioiodine.(RA I-131)

I have no idea who you should see and I know of no home remedy, but I hope you feel better and can find answers and relief from your discomfort. I think the radioiodine has some rather harsh side-effects, but hopefully it is worth it in the end.

I wish you well.

Posts: 47
Joined: Aug 2009

I had TT in august 09 and RAI Oct 09, I lost almost all sense of taste, but it heightened my sense of smell. Today, I don't have pain, (thank goodness), but I do once in a while experience the taste of whatever is most dominant in the food. If it is salty, that's all I'll taste, sweet, the same. I do however still have residual numbness in my throat, so sometimes I don't feel what I'm eating or drinking. Hence, I think I 'inhaled' my food and end up eating more, because I didn't think I ate enough. The numbness I think masks out pain or discomfort.

My tear ducts were affected, I couldn't cry with tears for a while.

My surgeon had also told me to keep eating sour foods and drinking a lot of water. If I ate anything spicy, I should drink water, right after.

I also can't stand the sight and smell of certain foods that I used to love prior to my surgery. If I eat shrimp or crab, my throat gets itchy. Weird.

The RAI is good and bad at the same time.
I pray that you find relief and a solution. Talk to both your surgeon and endo and hear what they recommend.

Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2010

It is a normal reaction to the RAI 131. It usually happens a few months after the treatment. I also had the treatment in Sept and am currently having the same issues. In the books I've read on it you should be massaging the area relatively agressively, can use warm compresses and take tylenol etc. for the pain. It you keep massaging it will clear up the block hopefully. My first one took a week or so to get rid of. I have it again now though and I think I may have some permenant damage to the glands as I am now having bad dry mouth and pain when I eat. Drag - but I guess better than cancer. If your blockage doesn't go away you can see your endo. Sometimes I think they have to mechanically clear the plug.

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