Can you feel your thyroid gland in your neck? Identify potential health issues by conducting a thyroid neck check. Most of the body’s human parts are reliant on the thyroid hormone. If you’re suspecting a thyroid disorder, try doing a neck check. It can help you be more self-aware of any symptoms and describe them to your doctor in detail.
Thyroid Neck Check: How to Check for Thyroid Problems
Step 1: Check Yourself in Front of a Mirror
To start your thyroid self-test at home, find a standalone, mid to full-length mirror. A handheld mirror might restrict you to do a more detailed inspection. Get in front of the mirror so you can inspect your neck with clarity. Wear an open-neck shirt and remove obstructive accessories such as necklace or choker.
Step 2: Stretch Your Neck Out
Recline your head. From your viewpoint, you must still be able to see your neck. Look up and set your sights towards the ceiling. For better viewing, you can arch your neck from side to side. Be careful with over stretching as you can strain your neck.
Step 3: Drink Water and Swallow
Drink water and swallow while keeping your neck stretched. This allows you to move your larynx forward. You can already spot or feel some irregularities in your thyroid if you do this. Continue holding this position and drink more water if you need to inspect more than once. Take note if you feel a thyroid pain in front of the neck or a thyroid pain on the right side.
Step 4: Check for Unusual Thyroid Gland Growth
Look for any sort of lumps, swelling, or bumps which will appear at this point. Disregard your Adam’s apple and emphasize on the cricoid ring. The cricoid ring encircles your windpipe or trachea. Focus your inspection closer to your collarbone. This location is closest to the thyroid gland. Also, note if the thyroid itself or lymph nodes are swollen.
Step 5: Feel Your Neck Using Your Hands
Use your sense of touch to inspect your thyroid area. Your hands can detect abnormalities your other senses can’t. Sometimes, these bumps, enlargements, or protrusions can roll beneath your fingers. Again, repeat inspection until you’re complacent.
Step 6: Document Your Observations
Don’t rely on your memory to remember everything in your thyroid neck check. From time to time, jot down your observations on a piece of paper. Take photos if you can. These will help you give a detailed picture and description of your thyroid health.
Step 7: Share Your Results with a Doctor
- Thyroid-stimulating hormone TSH test
- Thyroid ultrasound
- Thyroid scan
- Fine-needle aspiration
- Blood tests
- Thyroid Nodules – This thyroid disease is the unusual formation of cells or nodules within the thyroid gland. It is also a common hypothyroidism symptom. Doctors may take samples from this clump to be sure it’s not cancerous.
- Thyroglossal Duct Cyst – This is another lump-like cell development within the thyroid gland. It emerges during the development stage of the thyroid gland.
- Hashimoto’s Disease/Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis – Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is a thyroid disorder. The person’s immune system attacks the body’s thyroid. He or she experiences hypothyroidism symptoms. This includes muscle weakness, enlarged tongue, weight gain, and excessive menstrual bleeding.
- Multinodular Goitre – Goiter is a hereditary thyroid disease. This can result in an enlarged thyroid gland. Its hyperthyroidism symptom includes rapid heartbeat and weight gain. Iodine deficiency is also a culprit to this thyroid condition.
- Medullary Thyroid Cancer – The thyroid nodule formation becomes massive and blocks the esophagus. Due to this, difficulty in breathing and swallowing are possible. According to American Thyroid Association, this is a common thyroid problem of cancer patients in the U.S. Total thyroidectomy is recommended.
If you feel you have some thyroid issues, take action and perform a thyroid neck check on your own. It can get scary to feel something unusual, but it’s always best to be aware of your health condition. After all, prevention is better than cure.
Have you done a thyroid neck check on your own? Share your experience with us in the comments section below!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2017 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.