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Women: Take charge of your thyroid condition
An estimated one-in-eight women will develop a thyroid disorder at some time in her life, five times more women than men.

The good news is that these problems can be treated. The experts at South Georgia Surgical (SGS) specialize in thyroid biopsies and thyroidectomy procedures.

According to Tracy Nolan, MD, a board-certified general surgeon, the thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits low on the front of the neck. The thyroid produces a special hormone, which controls many activities in the body, including how fast calories are burned and how fast the heart beats.

Diseases of the thyroid cause it to make either too much of the hormone causing hyperthyroidism, or too little causing hypothyroidism. Depending on the level of hormone the thyroid makes, it may make women feel restless or tired, or they may lose or gain weight. Thyroid disorders can range from a small, harmless goiter (enlarged gland) that needs no treatment to life-threatening cancer.

Dr. Nolan said thyroid diseases can interfere with a woman’s menstrual period. It can also cause problems with getting pregnant or create complications during pregnancy. “Sometimes, symptoms of thyroid problems are mistaken for menopause symptoms,” said Dr. Nolan. “Thyroid disease, especially hypothyroidism, is more likely to develop after menopause.”

Thyroid issues can be spotted through blood tests and diagnostic imaging. If a problem is detected, a thyroid biopsy can be conducted for further identification of the condition.

“If an issue is identified by the biopsy, a common surgical procedure called thyroidectomy may be warranted to treat the thyroid disorder, such as cancer, goiter, and hyperthyroidism,” said Dr. Nolan. “Thyroidectomy involves the removal of all or part of the thyroid gland. The results can be life-changing for many women who have been contending with metabolism, mood and energy level issues.”

Undiagnosed thyroid conditions can increase the risks of heart disease, depression, anxiety, infertility, and other problems. “It’s important for women to recognize symptoms and talk with their doctor about testing for a thyroid disease,” said Dr. Nolan.

To make an appointment with Dr. Tracy Nolan or one of the other board-certified general surgeons at South Georgia Surgical in Tifton, please call 229-382-9733. Visit for information.