How to Test Your Thyroid: 3 Easy Ways

Self-testing is an easy and inexpensive way to get more clues about your thyroid.
Self-testing is an easy and inexpensive way to get more clues about your thyroid.

Wouldn’t it be handy to be able to monitor your thyroid from the comfort of your home?

Inexpensive and convenient, self-tests are not necessarily accepted diagnostic material,

but they do give you some solid information.

Once you get familiar with a few of the self-testing options, you can start to track your thyroid over time.

And getting into a routine of self-testing helps you develop a closer relationship with your body.

My three favorite home thyroid tests are:

1. Feeling your thyroid 2. Basal body temperature 3. Iodine patch test

These tests are pretty darn straightforward. You can start with just one,

or play around with a few. Best of all, bringing notes on what you learn to your next office visit

will help your primary health care provider do a better job.

Feeling Your Thyroid- This is the most intuitive test, giving you the opportunity to learn where

your thyroid rests in your body, and how it feels. A swollen thyroid often indicates

that the thyroid is under functioning.

Your thyroid is located in the neck just below your Adam’s apple. The lobes of the thyroid fall on either side of your trachea.

1. Stand in front of a mirror so that you can see your neck and thyroid. Make sure to remove any scarves or necklaces.

2. Lift your chin a bit to stretch your neck.

3. Using your dominant hand, run your fingers down the front and side of your neck, being careful to note any swelling or bumps.

4. If you do feel bumps or a swelling near your thyroid, it’s a good idea to follow through with more tests.

Temperature tests

Your thyroid is in charge of your metabolism. If your body temperature is too high or

too low, that can be a sign that your thyroid isn’t functioning well.

To do this test accurately, visit the drugstore and buy a basal thermometer. It should

be able to read your temperature to the 10th of a degree; i.e., 97.4.

You can take your temperature orally or under your armpit.

1. Keep your thermometer by your bed. Your temperature needs to be taken upon waking before you get out of bed, eat, drink or go to the bathroom.

2. When you wake up in the morning, put your thermometer deep in your armpit. Hold it there for up to 10 minutes. Record your temperature. If you’re taking your temperature orally, do so for 5 minutes. Then subtract ½ a degree from your result. This will account for the difference between your oral temperature and your body temperature. The normal underarm temperature averages 97.8–98.2 degrees F.

3. You’ll want to repeat this test for at least four days to get an average. If your average temperature is below 97.4 degrees, consider more testing,.

4. Menstruating women should test their body temperature starting on Day 2 or 3, to account for increased temperatures that come during the second phase of your cycle.

Iodine patch test

Although this test does not directly test thyroid function, it does give an indication

on iodine levels. Iodine is a critical mineral for your thyroid. Your thyroid uses iodine to

make its own hormones, T3 and T4. If your thyroid isn’t able to T3 and T4, you’ll most likely experience low thyroid symptoms.

1. Get a bottle of 2% iodine tincture at the drugstore.

2. Using a Q-tip, paint a 2-inch square on the inside of your forearm, just below the elbow. The skin here is fairly absorptive, while the skin on the back of your arm is more protective.

3. Let the patch dry. Do not shower, bathe or swim until the patch fades.

4. If the iodine patch fades away in less than 10–12 hours, it indicates that your body needs more iodine.

Now I’m curious, and I’d love to hear from you. Have you ever tried any of these self-tests at home? 

If so, let us know how self-tests helped you navigate your thyroid health.

~ Kristin