How to Do a Thyroid Neck Check

by Mary Shomon Patient Advocate

Doing a thyroid neck check can be an important self-check to look for signs of thyroid issues including goiter and thyroid cancer.

While a thyroid neck check can’t definitely diagnose or rule out a thyroid condition, it can help you detect nodules or an enlargement of your thyroid gland. So, grab a handheld mirror and a glass of water, and follow along with this easy step-by-step guide to doing your own thyroid neck check.

Locate your thyroid.
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Step 1: Locate the thyroid area of your neck

Hold the mirror in your hand, focusing on the lower front area of your neck, above your collarbones and below your voice box (also called your larynx). Your thyroid gland is located in this area of your neck.

Tilt your head back.
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Step 2: Tilt your head back

While focusing on your thyroid area in the mirror, tip your head back.

Drink and swallow.
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Step 3: Drink and swallow

Take a drink of water and swallow.

Observe your neck as you swallow.
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Step 4: Observe your neck as you swallow

As you swallow the water, look carefully at your neck. Look for any bulges, lumps, or protrusions in the area of your thyroid.

Thyroid gland or Adam's apple.
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Step 5: Don't confuse your Adam's apple and thyroid

Be careful not to confuse your Adam’s apple with your thyroid gland. Your thyroid gland is located further down on your neck, closer to your collarbone.

Drink, swallow, observe neck again.
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Step 6: Drink, swallow, and observe again

It is useful to drink, swallow, and observe a second time, again paying careful attention to look for any abnormalities in the area of your thyroid gland.

Woman feeling her neck carefully.
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Feel your neck carefully

Carefully feel around your thyroid and neck with your fingers and hands. A manual examination can sometimes feel bumps or changes that aren't visible.

Noting anything unusual in the neck.
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Step 8: Note anything unusual

Pay attention to whether your visual and manual thyroid neck check has turned up anything irregular, including irregular size, neck enlargement, bumps, protrusions, lumps, or anything else unusual.

Woman using cellphone to make doctor appointment.
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Step 9: Make an appointment with your physician

If you saw or felt anything abnormal or unusual, it's time to see your physician for a more thorough evaluation and any further testing and follow-up recommended by your practitioner.

Source: America Association of Clinical Endocrinologists Thyroid Neck Check Page

Mary Shomon
Meet Our Writer
Mary Shomon

Mary Shomon is a patient advocate and New York Times bestselling author who empowers readers with information on thyroid and autoimmune disease, diabetes, weight loss and hormonal health from an integrative perspective. Mary has been a leading force advocating for more effective, patient-centered hormonal healthcare. Mary also co-stars in PBS’ Healthy Hormones TV series. Mary also serves on HealthCentral’s Health Advocates Advisory Board.