thyroid neck

What Is The Thyroid?

The thyroid is the small, butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck. It produces hormones that regulate your body's metabolism. When thyroid hormone production changes, it affects virtually every system in the body.

Undiagnosed thyroid disease may put patients at risk for other health conditions like cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, and infertility.

Did You Know? 


50% of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition source

More than 12% of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime. source


Women are up to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems. source


Over 20 million Americans are diagnosed with a thyroid condition source

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Thyroid cancer is the most common cancer in women ages 20 to 34 source

Levothyroxine, the standard of care for treating hypothyroidism, is one of the most prescribed drugs in the United States source

thyroid hormone for hypothyroidism

Check Your Thyroid With a Self-Exam

How to do a Neck check?

You can perform a simple at-home neck check to help with early detection. This self-exam can help you find lumps or enlargements that may indicate a thyroid condition

Why perform an at-home neck check

Even if your neck looks normal on the surface, something more serious could be lurking. If you have risk factors for thyroid diseases (such as a family history), it is a good idea to check your neck periodically. Any growth is a sign that you should seek professional help.

How to do a thyroid self-examination

Below are easy steps for examining your thyroid:


1. Face a mirror

Position yourself or the mirror to focus on the lower-front portion of your neck, and remove anything that could block the view of your neck. 

2. Tilt your head

Extend your neck back slightly, pointing your chin toward the ceiling, while still being able to see into the mirror without trouble.

3. Find your thyroid

Put your finger on tip of your chin and slide that finger down the midline. The first structure you hit is the top of the thyroid cartilage, which despite its name, is not where the thyroid gland is situated. Keep moving your finger down your neck to the Adam's apple. Just beyond you will feel the cricoid cartilage. Continue downward; below the cricoid ring are the first two rings of the trachea on top of which lies the thyroid gland.

4. Take a sip of water

Keeping your neck extended backward, take a sip of water and swallow. 

5. Look for lumps

As you swallow, with your neck still extended back, examine your neck for any visual irregularities including enlargements, lumps, protrusions, or imbalances. 

6. Touch the area

Gently feel the area around your thyroid for any enlargement or lumps. Thyroid nodules usually appear round in shape and move/roll with the gland when you swallow. A goiter can be found on one or both sides of the thyroid.

thyroid neck check awareness
Feel for enlargements or bumps (below Adam's apple for men)

7. Repeat the process.

Do the tilt-swallow-look process a few times to observe the structures in your neck.

If you find any irregularities, talk to your doctor about next steps. Finding lumps, nodules, or swelling does not mean that you have a thyroid disorder or cancer. 

Follow up diagnostic tests may include an ultrasound, blood hormone tests, or a​ computerized tomography (CT) scan.

A Note from Paloma Health

An at-home neck check can be valuable if you have a mass that growing or changing in shape and size. However, an exam of this kind has its limitations. Hypothyroidism can often be hard to detect visually or with your fingers. 

If you suspect thyroid issues, we recommend you complete a blood test even if your thyroid visually looks normal. This diagnostic helps you to fully understand how your thyroid is working and if there is a need for a further evaluation of your thyroid function.

thyroid hormone for hypothyroidism

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