Thomas V. Harmon, MD, FACS
Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, just above your collarbone. It is one of your endocrine glands, which make hormones. Thyroid hormones control the rate of many activities in your body. These include how fast you burn calories and how fast your heart beats. All of these activities are your body's metabolism.
Thyroid problems include:
- Goiter - enlargement of the thyroid gland
- Hyperthyroidism - when your thyroid gland makes more thyroid hormones than your body needs
- Hypothyroidism - when your thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormones
- Thyroid cancer
- Thyroid nodules - lumps in the thyroid gland
- Thyroiditis - swelling of the thyroid
To diagnose thyroid diseases, doctors use a medical history, physical exam, and thyroid tests. They sometimes also use a biopsy. Treatment depends on the problem, but may include medicines, radioiodine therapy, or thyroid surgery.
Dept. of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health