How to Perform a Simple Examination to Check for Thyroid Nodules

The thyroid gland makes hormones that travel through your bloodstream to every tissue in your body. These specialized hormones help you stay warm and process energy, while also keeping your organs, brain, heart, and muscles working properly.

If you have a thyroid nodule, you have an abnormal growth in this gland. Fortunately, 90% of these growths are benign, or noncancerous. Some can cause issues, however, and that leftover 10% can even develop into thyroid cancer. 

As an experienced endocrinologist in Chelsea, New York, Dr. Ana Maria Kausel can help identify the signs of thyroid nodules. She takes a customized approach to your treatment. 

Finding your thyroid gland

Your thyroid is at the lower end of the front of your neck, right above your collarbone and below your larynx. The larynx — or voice box — is a hollow structure connected to your windpipe.

To find your thyroid, slide your fingers midway down the front of your neck, starting from your chin. The first hard spot you touch is thyroid cartilage, which leads to your Adam’s apple — this area is often more prominent in men than women. 

The next hard area in your neck is more cartilage, or the cricoid ring encircling your windpipe. Now, two finger-widths lower is your thyroid isthmus, which connects each side of your butterfly-shaped thyroid gland.

You can develop thyroid nodules for several reasons, including having: 

When these issues arise, they can affect your thyroid function and trigger a variety of symptoms.

Signs of thyroid nodules

You can have thyroid nodules without noticing obvious problems. However, when symptoms are present, they can be hard to miss, such as:

You might also feel a lump at the base of your throat when you have a thyroid nodule. These abnormalities usually feel round, and they may move when you swallow. They can also move at the touch of your fingertips.

Checking for thyroid nodules

Checking yourself for thyroid nodules shouldn’t replace a doctor’s visit, of course, but these regular “neck checks” can help you detect changes early on. 

To look for nodules, Dr. Kausel recommends that you:

Dr. Kausel confirms the presence of thyroid nodules by performing specific tests, including radioactive iodine thyroid scans, ultrasounds, and fine-needle aspiration biopsies. Based on the type of growth you have and how it affects your health, Dr. Kausel might recommend a variety of approaches to manage your condition. 

In some cases, this involves merely monitoring the nodule, but in others, she might recommend medications or surgery.

If you have concerns about thyroid disease or nodules, call Ana Maria Kausel MD Endocrinology, send a message to the team here on the website, or schedule an appointment today using the convenient online booking feature.

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