Thyroid Self-exam

Examination

Step

What to do What to look for
1. Facing a mirror, place the fingers of your right hand over your Adam’s apple while your chin is slightly out. Slowly and carefully feel the middle of your neck, working your way gradually down toward your breastbone. Just as you pass downward from your Adam’s apple, you will feel the firm cartilage rings of your windpipe. Feel the middle of each ring, moving downward until you feel a softer, flattened fleshly area overlying a ring. This is the middle portion of the thyroid gland, called the isthmus.
2. Keep your fingers on the thyroid isthmus and move them slowly toward the left side along the windpipe, pushing them under any loose flesh or muscle. You should be feeling your left thyroid lobe, alongside your windpipe and sometimes, if enlarged, extending toward the left upper side of your neck.
3. Keep your fingers on your left thyroid lobe (you might have to feel down toward your collarbone). While your fingers are still, swallow. You should feel the left thyroid lobe moving upward under your fingertips as you swallow. It should be fairly smooth and moderately soft. Any firm lumps or nodules should be noted and called to the attention of your physician.
4. Repeat these instructions, starting at step 1, but substitute right for left and left for right. This should permit you to examine your right thyroid lobe.

This table is from the amazing book ‘The Complete Thyroid Book’ written by Kenneth Ain and M. Sara Rosenthal, and we are truly grateful to them for sharing all their knowledge for the better of so many people.