How to Do a Thyroid Neck Check

Mary Shomon | Oct 10, 2017

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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.

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Step 1: Locate the thyroid area of your neck

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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.

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Step 2: Tilt your head back

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

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Step 3: Drink and swallow

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Take a drink of water and swallow.

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Step 4: Observe your neck as you swallow

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

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Step 5: Don't confuse your Adam's apple and thyroid

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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.

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Step 6: Drink, swallow, and observe again

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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.

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Feel your neck carefully

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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.

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Step 8: Note anything unusual

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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.

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Step 9: Make an appointment with your physician

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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