Hey Kids! My name is Blaze!
I’m a butterfly.
I am here to teach you about your thyroid.
Did you know that your thyroid is a gland in your neck that is shaped like a butterfly? Here’s a picture showing where your thyroid gland is located in your neck:
WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF YOUR THYROID DOESN’T WORK?
If you have a thyroid disorder, it means that your thyroid gland isn’t working right. Some kids are born with what’s called Congenital Hypothyroidism. That just means that you were born without a thyroid gland or your thyroid gland is there, but just doesn’t work for some reason. You know, like how some people’s eyes don’t work just right and they have to wear glasses. Other kids have thyroid problems after they grow up a little bit. Hypothyroidism means that your thyroid gland is what we call “under active” and it can make you feel cold, sleepy, and moody. Sometimes if you have hypothyroidism, you can have trouble going potty. Hyperthyroidism means that your thyroid gland is what we call “overactive” and it can make you feel fussy, not sleep well, and feeling like your heart is beating really fast or your engine is running too fast. The cool thing about thyroid disorders are that there is medicine you can take every day to make you feel better.
WHAT IS AN ENDOCRINOLOGIST?
A pediatric endocrinologist is a doctor who is a pediatrician and knows a lot about taking care of kids, but also knows a lot about the endocrine system in your body, especially your thyroid. When you go see them, you can expect a nurse to weigh you, see how tall you are, and sometimes also measure your head to see how big it is. They also usually take your blood pressure and check to see if you have a fever. All of this is pretty easy, and none of it hurts. The doctor will ask you and your parents a lot of questions about how you feel and will also examine you. Your doctor may check your reflexes, peek in your ears, throat and eyes, and may also feel all around your neck, especially in the front, to see how your thyroid feels.
WHAT IS A THYROID ULTRASOUND?
Sometimes it’s necessary for your doctor to take a picture of your thyroid gland so they can see what it looks like. To do this, you will see an ultrasound technician who is someone who knows how to take pictures of your thyroid. They won’t use a camera, though, they will use a special magic wand that can see inside your neck. It doesn’t hurt, in fact, some kids have said that it tickled. The ultrasound technician will move the wand around the outside of your neck (not inside your mouth) and the wand takes the pictures. Then, those pictures will be sent to your doctor.
IF YOUR THYROID DOESN’T WORK, CAN IT BE FIXED?
Well, usually doctors will tell you to take medicine to make your thyroid work better. Most of the time, the medicine is a small pill that you can chew or swallow easily. This is an easy way to make your thyroid better, which will make you feel a lot better. If you don’t feel better, though, you should be sure to tell your parents or your doctor. Always ask a grown up before you take your medicine and let them give it to you. The only way to know for sure, though, if the medicine is working is to have a blood test done. You will go to a lab (at an office or hospital), and there will be a person there whose job is to collect a sample of blood from you so that they can look at it. Blaze the Butterfly knows that blood tests aren’t fun, but I will tell you that they go by fast. The hurt only lasts for few seconds and then you are done. Blaze also knows how brave you are. Be sure to tell your parents to tell Blaze about your bravery at blood tests by sharing your stories here on our kids page!
By Blythe Clifford aka Thyroid Mom (and BLAZE)