How to Do Your Own Neck Check for Thyroid Disease

Checking Your Neck May Help Detect Thyroid Issues

thyroid neck check, how to check your neck for thyroid disease
Mary Shomon

A number of thyroid conditions can cause enlargement of your neck (known as goiter), thyroid nodules, or cancerous lumps.

While this test is not definitive, a thyroid neck check, a self-check where you look at and feel for any enlargement or lumps in your gland, can help aid in early detection of various thyroid problems.

Here are the steps involved in the "Thyroid Neck Check."

  1. Stand in front of a mirror
  1. Hold the mirror so that you can see the area of your neck just below the Adam's apple and right above the collarbone. This is the general location of your thyroid gland
  2. Tip/stretch your neck back, while keeping this view of your neck and thyroid area in your mirror
  3. Take a drink of water and swallow
  4. As you swallow, look at your neck. Watch carefully for any bulges, enlargement, protrusions, or unusual appearances in this area when you swallow
  5. Repeat this process several times
  6. If you see any bulges, protrusions, lumps or anything that appears unusual, see your doctor right away. You may have an enlarged thyroid, or a thyroid nodule, and your thyroid should be evaluated right away by a doctor

Tip: Don't get your Adam's apple confused with your thyroid gland. The Adam's Apple is at the front of your neck, the thyroid is further down, and closer to your collarbone.

Again, this is only a self-check that may help in picking up on enlargement or lumps, but the absence of both does not mean there isn't a thyroid problem.

Diagnosis of a thyroid condition ultimately requires a clinical exam, blood work, and in some cases, imaging tests. You can read more about them here.

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