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April 5, 2013

Normal menstruation occurs for 4-5 days, totals 2-3 tablespoons and occurs every 25-31 days. If those numbers don’t sound like your regular periods, you could be suffering from menorrhagia, the medical term for menstrual periods in which bleeding is abnormally heavy or prolonged. “Heavy periods” refers to more than just heavy bleeding and can greatly impact a woman’s day-to-day activities.

Heavy Bleeding Symptoms Woman clutching heating pad

Heavy bleeding symptoms can include the following:

  • Soaking through one or more sanitary pads or tampons every hour for several consecutive hours
  • Needing to use double sanitary protection to control your menstrual flow
  • The need to wake up to change sanitary protection during the night
  • Bleeding for 7 days or longer
  • Passing large blood clots with menstrual flow
  • Restricting daily activities such as exercise, sexual intimacy or social functions due to heavy menstrual flow
  • Tiredness, fatigue or shortness of breath (symptoms of anemia)

An Ablation Can Help

In many cases, Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists can treat heavy bleeding with a procedure called an ablation, a 10-minute procedure that will greatly reduce or sometimes eliminate your menstrual flow completely.

There are a variety of techniques for ablations. Our office treats abnormal menstrual bleeding using the following procedures:

Novasure – A procedure performed with bipolar electric surgery with the guidance of an ultrasound. This procedure reduces the lining of the uterus using either sub-zero temperatures or heat.
HTA Hydrothermal Ablation – This procedure uses a hot water treatment.
Cryoblation – This procedure uses a freezing technique to destroy the endometrial tissue.

Ablations are most often performed in our Canton office but may also be performed at the hospital.

This recent treatment for heavy periods has made a huge difference in the lives of many of our patients. Our providers feels it is one of the best examples of an effective use of modern technology to improve a woman’s overall sense of well-being.

If you have menstrual bleeding so heavy that you dread your period, make an appointment to talk with one of our doctors.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

March 28, 2013

Vaginal Rejuvenation Surgery is becoming an increasingly popular option for women who suffer from a variety of issues, including changes due to childbirth, sexual activity, or the natural aging process.

Board-certified OB/GYN Dr. Mike Litrel of Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists has been performing cosmetic and reconstructive GYN surgeries for the past 15 years. As this surgery’s popularity continues to rise, he cautions women on the importance of choosing the right type of surgeon to perform the procedure.

Why is Vaginal Rejuvenation Surgery Performed?

Vaginal Rejuvenation is performed for two reasons. One of them is to restore sensation, which may be reduced due to childbirth. In this procedure, the natural shape and size of a woman’s vagina is restored to the shape it was prior to having sex or to the shape it was after sex but prior to childbirth. The other reason for vaginal rejuvenation is to improve the outward aesthetics of the vagina, which is often done by removing excess skin. VR Blog Photo

If a woman’s considering vaginal rejuvenation, it’s important that she understand the surgeon’s ability to improve and correct both the aesthetics as well as the inside of a woman’s body. Having personally seen this surgery performed by cosmetic surgeons, Dr. Litrel says that while the outward appearance may be improved, oftentimes nothing is done to correct the internal damage.

“That’s likely because they simply don’t have the training. Decreased sensation and pelvic reconstruction are primary reasons for having this surgery and because correcting these issues involve surgically reconstructing the anatomy, it’s imperative that women choose a surgeon with extensive experience and training.”

If you’re interested in making an appointment to discuss vaginal rejuvenation surgery options with Dr. Litrel or one of our other board-certified OB/GYNs, don’t hesitate to contact one of our offices conveniently located in Canton and Woodstock.

March 22, 2013

PRESS RELEASE

Date: March 2011
Release Date: For Immediate Release
Contact: Ann Litrel, Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists LLC

678.640.8217

annlitrel@comcast.net
Subject: 10 Things To Discuss With Your Gynecologist


Dr. Peahen GandhiAs an advocate of women’s health, Dr. Peahen Gandhi, an OB/GYN with Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists in Woodstock, Georgia, recommends her patients to discuss any “out of the ordinary” changes in their health with their doctor.

The following are the Top Ten things you should always discuss with your gynecologist:

  1. My period has gotten heavier.Heavy bleeding has many causes, among which include hormonal imbalance, the onset of menopause, uterine fibroid tumors, cervical or endometrial polyps or cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), lupus, intrauterine devices (IUDs) and bleeding disorders.Letting your doctor know about the history and symptoms of your excessive bleeding will allow her to perform the appropriate tests and prescribe the proper treatment for you.
  2. I leak whenever I run on the treadmill.“A patient will say to me, Hey, doc, sometimes a little urine comes out when I laugh, but that’s just a part of getting older, right?,” Dr. Gandhi says. The strength of the pelvic floor often has more to do with pregnancy, childbirth, even excess weight than age. Your doctor can recommend several very effective treatments – including Kegel exercises – which may alleviate your symptoms without the need for surgery or medication.
  3. I feel like my bladder has fallen.Patients may experience pain or pressure in the back or bowel area, or the sensation of a bladder infection or general malaise when they “overdo” certain activities. If you do have a “fallen bladder,” your doctor may prescribe pelvic floor strengthening muscles, insert a “pessary” device or recommend surgery to correct the problem.
  4. My mother had cancer in her female organs.Only 5 to 15 percent of cancers are inherited. Your doctor will perform appropriate screenings and offer suggestions to you – including diet, exercise and lifestyle choices – that may help you minimize your risk.
  5. My last Pap smear was abnormal.About one in 10 Pap smears indicate some abnormality, which may indicate infection, herpes, HPV (genital warts), recent sexual activity or dysplasia. Your doctor will likely recommend a follow-up evaluation, but most times the result is not cause for alarm.
  6. I have pain with sex.Discuss the history of the pain with your doctor, whether it is something new or has been going on for some time. She will conduct a thorough physical examination and recommend the appropriate treatment for you, as necessary.
  7. I feel a breast lump.Again, more than 80 to 90 percent of all breast lumps are benign, particularly in women under age 40, but it warrants a conversation with your doctor. If symptoms include nipple discharge, “dimpling” of the skin on the breast, a lump in the armpit or a hard, painless lump, your doctor may recommend a biopsy.
  8. I am tied to the bed because I have so much pain with my period.Painful periods are the number one cause of time missed at school or work for women in their teens and 20s. While the pain is rarely related to any specific problems, your doctor can rule out abnormalities and recommend a range of options for pain management and treatment.
  9. I get frequent urinary tract infections.Pain, burning sensation, urinary urgency and blood in the urine often are the result of E. Coli bacteria in the urinary tract. Your doctor will perform a urine culture to determine the type of bacteria causing your infection and prescribe the appropriate treatment for you.
  10. Is there any way I can tie my tubes without surgery?There is a device that can be inserted into the fallopian tubes through a simple office procedure that serves as an irreversible “tube-tying” solution. Your doctor will discuss whether the solution is right for you.

Dr. Peahen Gandhi is a Board Certified member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and a recipient of the Berlex Teaching Award and the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award. She completed her residency training at Atlanta Medical Center and received specialized surgical training at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta, GA.


Articles and information contained herein are provided for media use and general reference. You may quote or share articles, provided you do so verbatim and with attribution to our website. If you quote one of our articles on a website, please link to the article on this site. Thank you.

PRESS RELEASE

Date: March 2011
Release Date: For Immediate Release
Contact: Ann Litrel, Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists LLC

678.640.8217

annlitrel@comcast.net
Subject: Gynecologist Visit Checklist


Dr. Gandhi, an OB/GYN with Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists in Woodstock, Georgia, recommends all women have the following information available when they visit their gynecologist for their annual exam:

  • Menstrual Calendar
    • When was your last menstrual period?
    • Was it light, normal or heavy?
    • Was it painful?
    • Did it come on time?
  • Updated List of Medications
  • Date and Results of Screenings
    • Pap Smear – normal or abnormal?
    • Mammogram – normal or abnormal?

Dr. Peahen Gandhi is a Board Certified member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and a recipient of the Berlex Teaching Award and the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award. She completed her residency training at Atlanta Medical Center and received specialized surgical training at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta, GA.


Articles and information contained herein are the copyrighted property of Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, PC. You may quote or share articles, provided you do so verbatim and with attribution. If you quote one of our articles on a Web site, please link to the full text of the article on this site.

PRESS RELEASE

Date: March 2011
Release Date: For Immediate Release
Contact: Ann Litrel, Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists LLC

678.640.8217
annlitrel@comcast.net
Subject: Health Care Reform and Doctor-Patient Relationships


As Health Care Reform continues to grab headlines across the country, Dr. Mike Litrel of Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists in Woodstock, Georgia, argues that the emphasis on simply making health care more accessible threatens the human component of wellness.

Dr. Mike Litrel“A fundamental building block of health is the relationship between the physician and the patient,” Dr. Litrel says. “That relationship is one of trust, of love, really. When it becomes about numbers, you take away the most important element of health care.”

Dr. Litrel says that the patient has truly been left out of the debate. Above and beyond gaining access to health care in general, the patient must be allowed to be an active participant in her care. “If the focus of health care is just on medicine and testing, or on surgery and pills, it doesn’t take into account the ability to choose your doctor, or the importance of identifying the emotional and spiritual issues we all know affect our health.

I have seen the‘will to live’bring patients literally back to life. I’ve seen someone recognize and end a bad relationship, and suddenly heal from physical pain and “chemical depression” – where are those factors in the health care debate?”

With the quantity approach to medical care: how many patients a doctor can see in a day, prescribe medicine to in a day, or how many surgical procedures he or she can perform, the less opportunity there is for the physician to sit down and get to know the patient and what is truly going on with them, he says. As the relationship is allowed to develop, “you learn more about who someone is and what is affecting their lives, as opposed to simply treating their symptoms.”

Dr. Litrel says that outside involvement in health care is doing more harm than good, by removing the human factor that should be viewed as the most important determinant in health. “The more we try to “mass produce” health care, the more the focus is on who gets the pills and who do we treat instead of looking at what is causing the pain and suffering in the first place,” he says.

“The large percentage of suffering and disease and pain and sorrow is not about the body at all,” he adds. “It’s about the soul – how our emotions and lifestyle choices manifest themselves in the body.”

Dr. Mike Litrel is the author of “The Eyes Don’t See What the Mind Don’t Know: A Physician’s Journey to Faith,” a collection of inspirational stories about a physician’s journey of faith in the world of modern medicine.


Articles and information contained herein are provided for media use and general reference. You may quote or share articles, provided you do so verbatim and with attribution to our website. If you quote one of our articles on a website, please link to the article on this site. Thank you.

PRESS RELEASE

Date: March 2011
Release Date: For Immediate Release
Contact: Ann Litrel, Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists LLC

678.640.8217
annlitrel@comcast.net
Subject: The Eyes Don’t See – The Faith Factor In Medicine


Simply turning on the television or opening a magazine subjects one to a host of advertisements for the latest miracle cure for everything from weight loss to pain relief to removal of wrinkles. But Dr. Mike Litrel of Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists believes that the focus on the physical body is only half the story.

Mike Litrel Speaks on Health and Faith “I think the focus in medical school has to be about the body and medicine and what is there, what is obvious,” he says. “But as you grow as a physician, you learn to focus more on who each patient is, as opposed to just what their symptoms are. And you see how “non-medical” factors affect a person’s health:

“A destructive relationship can be a component of physical pain in the body. The will to live can bring back a “terminal” patient. Receiving and giving love can actually heal. These ideas are not addressed in the medical literature, but they are easily observable if you have your eyes open.”

While modern medicine certainly holds the appeal of a “quick fix,” Dr. Litrel and his colleagues share the philosophy that the best solutions for curing a patient’s symptoms are not always those that include a prescription or a scalpel.

“When we see someone in pain who is suffering, we often look at it as some sort of disease, rather than finding out what is really upsetting them,” he says. “Part of maturity is learning to take responsibility, to have the belief that our pain and suffering is a lesson to help us mature.”

Dr. Litrel suggests that our society is more about fixing problems than in truly finding solutions. “You look at people – we overeat, we over drink, we take pills,” he says, and many people run to the doctor for something to help alleviate the pain brought on by those actions. But that is simply treating the body, instead of looking at the underlying cause. “Most of the suffering and disease and pain and sorrow is not about the body, it’s about the soul,” he says.

While the evolution of medicine and technology has the capability of providing relief to symptoms, Dr. Litrel prefers to learn what is important to the individual, allowing them to be partners in their own wellness so that they can accomplish the goals that are important to them.

“The point of medicine,” he says, “is to help the body live longer so the soul can accomplish its purpose. We all have a reason to be here.”

Dr. Mike Litrel is the author of “The Eyes Don’t See What the Mind Don’t Know: A Physician’s Journey to Faith,” a collection of inspirational stories and medical “miracles” detailing a physician’s journey of faith in the world of modern medicine.


Articles and information contained herein are provided for media use and general reference. You may quote or share articles, provided you do so verbatim and with attribution to our website. If you quote one of our articles on a website, please link to the article on this site. Thank you.

PRESS RELEASE

Date: March 2011
Release Date: For Immediate Release
Contact: Ann Litrel, Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists LLC

678.640.8217

annlitrel@comcast.net
Subject: SILS™ Surgery


Hysterectomy is the second most frequent major surgical procedure among women of reproductive age in the United States, with more than 600,000 women undergoing the surgery each year to relieve such conditions as fibroid tumors, endometriosis, abnormal bleeding, even cervical cancer.

SILSSILS™ (Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery) uses a single incision in the belly button, rather than the three to four incisions required by standard laparoscopic surgery techniques, significantly reducing the potential for visible scars, pain, trauma and recovery time that normally accompany a hysterectomy.

Developed as a technique to provide a single access point for multiple surgical instruments, SILS™ has revolutionized the field of endoscopic surgery with the potential to treat a number of conditions including obesity, gastroesophageal reflux disease and appendicitis, and removal of problematic organs including the gall bladder, kidney and spleen. SILS™ also may be used for hernia repair, colon resection and liver resection.

Canton, Georgia, surgeon Dr. Jorge Lense is a pioneer in the SILS™ technique, refining the procedure to be used to perform hysterectomies. Since he performed Georgia’s first SILS™ hysterectomy in March, 2009, Dr. Lense has lectured throughout the United States and at medical facilities around the globe to introduce the procedure.

His appearance on “The Doctors” in March, 2011, represents a milestone for the SILS™ hysterectomy procedure, providing important, timely information for the hundreds of thousands of American women who undergo surgery each year to remove the uterus.

Dr. Jorge Lense, MD FACOG, practices obstetrics and gynecology in Canton, Georgia, with Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, PC. He is a graduate of the University of South Florida College of Medicine and is the recipient of many academic and leadership honors in the field of medicine, including “Best Doctors in America” 2007 – 2009.


Articles and information contained herein are provided for media use and general reference. You may quote or share articles, provided you do so verbatim and with attribution to our website. If you quote one of our articles on a website, please link to the article on this site. Thank you.

PRESS RELEASE

Date: March 2011
Release Date: For Immediate Release
Contact: Ann Litrel, Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists LLC

678.640.8217

annlitrel@comcast.net
Subject: Georgia SILS™ Pioneer to Appear
on “The Doctors” in March


(Woodstock, Georgia) – In the ever-changing world of women’s health, one Georgia gynecologist is making great strides in minimizing the pain, recovery time and trauma associated with a hysterectomy by refining Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery (SILS™) as a viable alternative to traditional surgery, and he is sharing his knowledge on the popular medical television program, “The Doctors” in March.

Drs. Lense and Gandhi performing SILS hysterectomyDr. Jorge Lense, a partner in the OB/GYN practice of Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists in Woodstock and Canton, Georgia, recognized the potential of the SILS™ procedure in women’s surgery, providing a minimally invasive option for women suffering from such afflictions as uterine fibroid tumors, endometriosis and uterine prolapse – the top three conditions for which surgical removal of the uterus is recommended.

The relatively new SILS™ technology was originally developed to treat patients with gall stones and appendicitis, but the procedure holds considerable potential in the treatment of a host of conditions for which surgeons traditionally perform a multiple-entry abdominal laparoscopic procedure. Dr. Lense recognized the potential to reduce scarring, trauma and recovery time by using the SILS technology to perform hysterectomies, and he has spent much of the last two years introducing the technique to medical professionals across the country and around the globe.

“Because it utilizes just a single small port through the belly button, (SILS™ ) really represents a whole new level of capabilities in the field of surgery,” Dr. Lense says.

SILS™ now provides a fourth surgical option for hysterectomy, including traditional laparoscopic hysterectomy, abdominal (“open”) hysterectomy and vaginal hysterectomy, allowing women a less-invasive alternative for their treatment needs.

Dr. Jorge Lense, MD FACOG, practices obstetrics and gynecology in Canton, Georgia, with Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, PC. He is a graduate of the University of South Florida College of Medicine and is the recipient of many academic and leadership honors in the field of medicine, including “Best Doctors in America” 2007 – 2009.


Articles and information contained herein are provided for media use and general reference. You may quote or share articles, provided you do so verbatim and with attribution to our website. If you quote one of our articles on a website, please link to the article on this site. Thank you.

PRESS RELEASE

Date: March 2011
Release Date: For Immediate Release
Contact: Ann Litrel, Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists LLC

678.640.8217

annlitrel@comcast.net
Subject: Pioneering Surgeon has Physician
Spouse and Eight Children


While much of the population knows both Jorge and Beverly Lense as “Doctor,” another large part of the population in Canton, Georgia, knows them as “Dad” and “Mom.” In addition to both being actively involved in their careers – Jorge is a surgical pioneer and Beverly is a pediatrician – they have two biological children and five adopted children – with one more on the way!

Dr. Lense and Family“I was adopted as an infant,” Dr. Beverly Lense explains, although she says that wasn’t the reason they began adopting children of their own. After giving birth to the couple’s two biological children – Rachel and Noah, now 14 and 12 – following difficult pregnancies, adoption was the only option to grow their family.

The family includes two children from Guatemala, and it was through the agency that assisted them there that the couple learned of New Horizons for Children, a Christian-based international hosting program that brings orphaned children from Eastern Europe to the United States to live with host families for several weeks, twice each year.

The couple hosted a child through the New Horizons program and decided to adopt. They have since traveled with the mission teams that visit orphanages in Eastern Europe twice a year to identify the children who will participate in the program, and Beverly now serves as the medical director for New Horizons in Georgia.

Their oldest child, a girl, is now 21 and in college, studying criminal justice. Their other children range in age from elementary through high school, and the family is in the process of finalizing the adoption of a 9-year-old boy from Latvia.

“We’re very fortunate to have the lives that we do,” she says. “Our family has learned and grown.” When the family lived in Florida, they had a lot of friends from Eastern Europe, so the children were exposed to their native culture. Here in Georgia, Beverly says all of her children have friends who are from Russia and the Ukraine, many of whom are also adopted. It gives them the important opportunity to converse in their native language.

Both Drs. Lense feel that adoption has enriched their lives as much as it has their children. “Not every child has the same opportunities we have,” Beverly says. “But you can love somebody, no matter where they come from, what color they are, what language they speak.”

She says that the children they have adopted just somehow “belong” in the family. “Usually we just meet them and love them and feel like it’s the right thing for us.”


Articles and information contained herein are provided for media use and general reference. You may quote or share articles, provided you do so verbatim and with attribution to our website. If you quote one of our articles on a website, please link to the article on this site. Thank you.

PRESS RELEASE

Date: March 2011
Release Date: For Immediate Release
Contact: Ann Litrel, Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists LLC

678.640.8217

annlitrel@comcast.net
Subject: Surgery Pioneer Helps Evolve
Innovations In Medical Technology


In March, 2009, Dr. Jorge Lense made surgical history, performing the first hysterectomy in Georgia in which the instruments were inserted and the uterus was removed entirely through a single incision in the patient’s belly button.

Dr. Jorge Lense“I was the second in Georgia by a day,” Dr. Lense admits. Another surgeon had actually performed a similar procedure the day before, but the uterus was removed through the vagina, rather than through the umbilicus. “Technically, I performed the first total SILS hysterectomy,” he says.

SILS – Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery – represents the latest evolution in minimally invasive laparoscopic surgical procedures, and Dr. Lense has been instrumental in refining the procedure with better instrumentation and new applications, as well as introducing the procedure to other practitioners around the globe.

Dr. Lense, a surgeon with Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists in Woodstock, Georgia, says that SILS also is being used to preserve the uterus, removing fibroids through a procedure known as laparoscopic myomectomy, allowing a woman to maintain her fertility. “With SILS, we’ve seen a significant success rate with even large fibroids,” he says.

The difficulty of removing an entire uterus, or even a large fibroid tumor, through the single incision has inspired Dr. Lense to develop a new product to use in conjunction with SILS surgery, something he calls an “endocatch bag,” which will allow a surgeon to remove tissue through the small umbilical incision without leaving any behind.

Significant benefits to the patient have inspired other doctors around the world to adapt their current instruments to the new technology as well. In Korea, for example, doctors used a surgical glove to allow them to use their conventional laparoscopy equipment – which uses three ports – with the SILS device. “That shows the extent that doctors are going to to use this technology,” Dr. Lense says.

In November, he gave a presentation on the SILS hysterectomy before a global medical audience in Las Vegas for the American Association of Gynecological Laparoscopists. “There was a big emphasis on SILS surgery and new applications for the procedure,” he says. Worldwide, physicians recognize the benefits of SILS in terms of patient care, particularly in developing countries.

While the technique holds great promise for patients in the form of shortened recovery times, less surgical trauma and virtually no visible scarring, SILS is currently being used in only one to two percent of all hysterectomy procedures. Part of the reason is that the patient’s actual time in surgery is about the same or longer than with traditional hysterectomy procedures. Because the incision is so small, large fibroids or uterine tissue must be broken up in order to remove them through the umbilicus, which can add a significant amount of time to the actual surgery.

Still, “SILS is actually very inexpensive,” Dr. Lense says. As more SILS procedures are performed, doctors will recognize opportunities to treat other conditions, including female cancers. Currently, the robotic equipment used to ensure that not a single cell of cancerous tissue is left behind is not compatible with the single-port system, but that will soon change as well. “The company that makes the robot is modifying it to do SILS,” Dr. Lense says. “And I actually did a little work on modifying the robot to use with SILS surgery.”

While removing cancer cells may be a bit farther off, Dr. Lense sees great benefit to using the single-port system for many other conditions. “For benign gynecological surgery, there’s almost nothing I can’t do with SILS,” he says.


Articles and information contained herein are provided for media use and general reference. You may quote or share articles, provided you do so verbatim and with attribution to our website. If you quote one of our articles on a website, please link to the article on this site. Thank you.

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“Dr. Litrel was a fantastic doctor. I had my first exam with him, although at first I was skeptical about a male doctor for my GYN. But after I met him I’m glad I kept an open mind, and I couldn’t have dreamed up a better doctor. He cares about you as a person and not just a patient. The front desk ladies and nurses were very friendly and it’s a great office, very clean and not intimidating. I highly recommend Cherokee Women’s Health.”
– Vicki