Thyroid Gland

Nov 22, 2022, 16:45 IST

It is a ductless endocrine gland which is located in the front/anterior of the neck. It roughly resembles the shape of the butterfly. It is the most prominent endocrine gland, weighing an average of 25–30 g. This gland has two lobes on each side of the trachea, and each measuring 1.3–1.8 cm in width and 4–6 cm in length.

The major function of thyroid gland is to secrete two hormones, i.e., the hormone triiodothyronine (T3) and the hormone thyroxine (T4). T3 and T4 hormones play a vital role and also affect almost every tissue in the body.

Location of Thyroid Gland

The thyroid gland is usually located in the front/anterior neck between the T1 and C5 vertebrae. It also consists of two parathyroid glands and lobes on their posterior surfaces.

Thyroid Hormones

It is of two types-

  1. T3-Triiodothyronine: The thyroid hormone affects physiological processes such as growth, development, metabolism, etc.
  2. T4-Thyroxine (Tetraiodothyronine): T4 is a hormone that is secreted by the thyroid gland in the bloodstream. It also then travels to the organs such as the liver and kidneys, where it gets converted into and gets converted into its active form, triiodothyronine.


Sometimes the symptoms of a thyroid disorder are not very obvious. This is because various other factors can cause similar symptoms, and usually, treatment is based on the symptoms. For example, excessive fatigue may be associated with sleep apnea, narcolepsy, etc., but the underlying symptoms may be thyroid related. Some of the common thyroid symptoms are:

  • Nervousness
  • Poor concentration and knowledge retention
  • Change in the menstrual cycle
  • Increased heart rate
  • Muscle aches
  • Weight gain
  • High level of cholesterol

Thyroid Gland Disorders

The thyroid gland is prone to many disorders and diseases. These problems can be caused by excessive secretion of hormones, abnormal growth of the gland, malignant lumps, etc. Researchers have also theorized the relationship between stress and thyroid health. i.e., stress can actually underlying thyroid condition. Some of the common thyroid problems are:

Thyroid cancer

It is a very major form of cancer. However, the chances of the survival for a thyroid cancer patient is quite high as compared to the other forms of the cancer. There are four types of the thyroid cancer-

  • Papillary thyroid cancer
  • Follicular thyroid cancer
  • Medullary cancer
  • Anaplastic thyroid cancer


This condition is caused when the thyroid glands overproduce a hormone called thyroxine. Symptoms include a change in appetite, insomnia, unexpected weight loss, fatigue, irritability, frequent urination, increased sweating, and heat intolerance. However, this condition usually resolves within a few months with appropriate treatment and proper medication.


This condition is caused by insufficient secretion of thyroid hormones. It is a common problem and also goes undiagnosed for years. One of the primary reasons that trigger hypothyroidism is an auto immune disorder known as Hashimoto's disease. In this case, the antibodies produced by the body that attack the thyroid gland, and this causes the glands to produce less hormones.

Thyroid treatment

The most common treatment available for the thyroid problems such as hyperthyroidism is to replace thyroxine with another synthetic man-made hormone called levothyroxine (or L-thyroxine). It is an injectable and oral medication that can restore balance to the thyroid gland. Patients will notice a reduction in hyperthyroid symptoms within a few weeks of taking the medication.

Thyroid cancer could be treated quite successfully with radiation. Thyroid cancer would sometimes be difficult to diagnose because it does not show any signs or symptoms. Regular checkups are essential to prevent such diseases from taking root.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Is thyroid gland hard or soft?

Ans. The Thyroid gland is palpable and then rises along with thyroid and cricoid cartilage during swallowing, in persons with a slender neck. It is soft and approximately weighs no more than 20 grams. It is often not palpable with aging.

Q2. What can damage the thyroid gland?

Ans. There can be a various causes, including hyperthyroidism treatments, autoimmune disease, thyroid surgery, radiation therapy, and certain medications. Thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland which is located at the base of front of the neck, just below the Adam's apple.

Q3. Can a thyroid grow back?

Ans. Although having the capacity to grow in response to a stimulus that perturbs the pituitary-thyroid axis, the thyroid gland is also considered not a regenerative organ.

Q4. Is thyroid a largest gland?

Ans. Thyroid gland is the largest endocrine gland of the human body. ​ It is also present in the neck region and is also responsible for the secretion of hormones like thyroxine that control the metabolic rate in the body. ​

Related Link

Talk to Our counsellor