Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Women's Health

Font Size

Thyroid Nodules - Topic Overview


Thyroid nodules are growths or lumps in the thyroid gland in the front of your neck. This gland controls how your body uses energy. Most thyroid nodules are not cancer and do not cause problems. Many don't even need treatment.

Sometimes a thyroid nodule can cause problems. Sometimes a nodule can make too much thyroid hormone. When a nodule makes too much hormone, the rest of the gland is suppressed and doesn't work as hard as usual.

Most thyroid nodules are not cancerous. But if tests show cancer, surgery will be done to remove the nodule.

It is not clear what causes thyroid nodules. But people who have been exposed to radiation have a greater chance of getting them. Thyroid nodules are more common as you age. Also, the nodules tend to run in families. So if your parents had thyroid nodules, you are more likely to have one.

Most thyroid nodules are so small that you don't even know you have one.

If you have a big nodule, you may be able to feel it, or you may notice swelling in your neck. It's possible that you may also:

  • Feel pain in your throat or feel like your throat is full.
  • Have a hard time swallowing.
  • Have trouble breathing.
  • Feel nervous, have a fast heartbeat, sweat a lot, or lose weight. These are symptoms of hyperthyroidism, where the thyroid gland makes too much thyroid hormone.

Most people don't find thyroid nodules on their own, because the nodules aren't easy to feel and don't usually cause symptoms. Your doctor may have found a nodule on your thyroid when you were having a CT scan or ultrasound for another reason. Your doctor will do a physical exam and will ask you if you have symptoms or any changes in how you've been feeling.

You may have tests to see how well your thyroid is working and to make sure the nodule is not cancer. Possible tests include:

  • A blood test to check the level of thyroid hormone in your body.
  • A thyroid scan, which uses radioactive material and a camera to see how well your thyroid gland is working. This is done if the level of thyroid hormone is high.
  • Fine-needle aspiration, which removes a small amount of material from the nodule. The material is checked for cancer cells.
  • Thyroid ultrasound, to see the number and size of nodules or to locate the nodule for fine-needle aspiration.
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    hands on abdomen
    Test your knowledge.
    womans hand on abdomen
    Are you ready for baby?
    birth control pills
    Learn about your options.
    Is it menopause or something else?
    woman in bathtub
    bp app on smartwatch and phone
    estrogen gene

    Send yourself a link to download the app.

    Loading ...

    Please wait...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    Blood pressure check
    hot water bottle on stomach
    Attractive young woman standing in front of mirror