Thyroid problems and diseases are fairly common, especially among women. Many people are familiar with the TSH, T4, and T3 tests used to measure the amounts of specific hormones in your body to help diagnose these problems and diseases. Another test often used for more specific diagnosis is a thyroid ultrasound. The thyroid ultrasound makes it possible to see what your thyroid looks like. This is very beneficial since different thyroid diseases can cause an abnormal appearance of your thyroid like enlargement, shriveling, or nodules. If your thyroid is found to be abnormal, your doctor may want to have thyroid ultrasounds done a couple of times a year to keep an eye out for any changes. I personally have had four thyroid ultrasounds done, the first of which helped in the diagnosis of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune thyroid disease.
How to Prepare for a Thyroid Ultrasound
There is very little preparation needed to have a thyroid ultrasound done. This test does not require fasting. It is best not to wear any jewelry around your neck or you will be asked to remove it before the test is performed. You may not have to change into a gown for the ultrasound, so it is best to wear a shirt that does not have a high neckline so the technician has easy access to your thyroid.
What to Expect at a Thyroid Ultrasound Appointment
Thyroid ultrasounds are non-invasive. They are generally done in a private room that is dimly lit to enable the technician to clearly see your thyroid on the screen of the ultrasound machine as he/she performs the test. Depending on the routine of the clinic or hospital where you get the test done, you may or may not need to change into a gown. The technician will ask you to lie on your back on a padded examination table. There will be a rolled up towel or pillow placed under your neck to help tip your head back, exposing your neck better for the ultrasound. The technician will then squirt some warm gel on your neck that helps enable the transmission of the sound waves from the ultrasound transducer to create the picture of your thyroid. The transducer will be placed firmly against your neck and moved around to get pictures of specific sections of your thyroid. This can feel a little uncomfortable, but does not hurt. Sometimes the technician will let you look at the screen for a moment to see what the ultrasound picture looks like and will explain what it is. The entire test is usually completed in fifteen to twenty minutes. Then the technician will either wipe the gel off of your neck or will give you something to clean it off with. If you had to change into a gown, the technician will go out so you can get dressed. The test is complete and will be sent out to be read by a specialist. Your doctor should receive the results in a few days.
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Synthetic Vs. Natural Thyroid Medication: Synthroid Vs. Armour Thyroid Medicine
Thyroid Hormone Replacement: Signs and Symptoms of Overmedication (Overdose)