How to tell if your thyroid is enlarged

Written by valencia higuera
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The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck. It contains a hormone that controls your metabolism. Sometimes, the thyroid gland can become enlarged. Most sufferers don't experience pain, but others can have symptoms that persist for days, weeks or months. What's more, the symptoms of an enlarged thyroid can mimic other ailments, and a sufferer may be unaware his thyroid is enlarged.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    You may have an enlarged thyroid if you detect swelling in your neck. Minor enlargements often go unnoticed. An enlarged thyroid gland causes swelling at the base of the neck.

  2. 2

    You may feel a tightness in your throat. An enlarged thyroid gland can create a foreign-object sensation. Sufferers may feel a lump or feel as if their throat is closing.

  3. 3

    Check with a doctor if you experience coughing. Left untreated, an enlarged thyroid can cause a persistent cough that won't respond to cold or cough medications.

  4. 4

    Be proactive if you start to lose your voice. Because the thyroid gland is located at the base of the neck, an enlarged thyroid can result in hoarseness.

  5. 5

    Breathing difficulties are another symptom of an enlarged thyroid. Thyroid trouble can affect the air passageway, especially if you're lying down.

  6. 6

    Another symptom: difficulty swallowing food or liquids. In some instances, choking may occur.

Tips and warnings

  • Prescription medications can decrease thyroid enlargements caused by hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. In severe cases, surgery is necessary.

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