What Is the Thyroid? The thyroid (say: THYE-royd) is a gland, which is an organ that makes special chemicals called hormones (say: HOR-moans). The thyroid is shaped like a little butterfly or bow tie and it sits under the skin in the front of your neck. To find it, touch your throat in the Adam's apple area with one finger and the top of your breastbone (the flat bone that runs down the middle of your chest) with another finger. The thyroid is in that small space in between your fingers. It bobs up and down when you swallow. See if you can feel it! What Hormones Does the Thyroid Make? The two major hormones that the thyroid makes and releases into the bloodstream are called: T4 or thyroxine (say: thy-ROKS-in) T3 or triiodothyronine (say: try-eye-o-doe-THYE-row-neen) All cells in the body need thyroid hormones to work properly. These hormones control how fast the body uses up energy and are key factors in helping kids grow. What Problems Can Happen? The thyroid works kind of like the thermostat in a house. When the thyroid makes the right amount of thyroid hormones, it keeps the temperature just right. But: If the thyroid is too active (overactive) and makes too much T4 and T3, it's like having a thermostat that's set too high, so the house gets overheated. This is called hyperthyroidism (say: hi-per-THYE-roy-diz-em). If it's not active enough (underactive), it's set too low and the house is too cold. This is hypothyroidism (say: hi-po-THYE-roy-diz-em). When a kid has one of these thyroid problems, doctors can treat it with medicine or, sometimes, surgery. Back to Articles Related Articles What Are Glands? You've heard of glands, but what are they? Find out in this article for kids. Read More Getting a Blood Test (Video) A blood test might sound scary, but it usually takes less than a minute. Watch what happens in this video for kids. Read More ADHD ADHD is a medical condition that makes it harder for kids to stay focused. Kids with ADHD can also be more fidgety than other kids their age. This article for kids explains how doctors decide a kid has ADHD and what they can do about it. Read More What's an Adam's Apple? Where's your Adam's apple? Do you even have one? Find out in this article for kids. Read More I'm Growing Up - But Am I Normal? When you're growing up, lots of changes happen and everyone wonders: Am I normal? Read More What a Pain! Kids and Growing Pains Growing pains are for real. Usually they happen when kids are between the ages of 3 and 5 or 8 and 12. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.