Most patients present with a lump in the neck and/or symptoms related to increased or decreased production of thyroid hormones.
- A thyroid lump can be on one or both sides of the neck but nearly always moves during swallowing. Patients with a large thyroid mass (goitre) may experience difficulty swallowing solid food, shortness of breath on exercise or hoarseness.
- Features of an overactive thyroid include weight loss, palpitations, diarrhoea, and heat intolerance.
- Features of an underactive thyroid include weight gain, severe tiredness, deep voice, thinning of the hair and a slow pulse.
Most thyroid symptoms can be investigated by a clinical examination of the neck and blood tests to check the function of the thyroid gland. If a lump is present, a neck ultrasound +/- biopsy will be performed. For patients with a very large thyroid goitre, a CT scan of the neck and upper chest may be required prior to surgery.