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March 22, 2013


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


Subject: “The Doctors” Hosts Local Surgeon, Unveils Hysterectomy Option

In March 2009, Dr. Jorge Lense of Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists in Woodstock and Canton, Georgia, made surgical history when he performed Georgia’s first Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery (SILS) hysterectomy.

Dr. Lense Demonstrates SILS Technique in AustraliaIn March 2011, Dr. Lense appears on the popular medical talk show, “The Doctors,” to explain how SILS is transforming the way doctors treat patients suffering from endometriosis, uterine fibroids, uterine prolapse and other serious conditions for which the recommended treatment is a hysterectomy – removal of the uterus.

Over the past two years, Dr. Lense has been instrumental in refining the SILS hysterectomy procedure, and demonstrating the technique for women’s health practitioners around the world.

The technique has generated excitement in the women’s healthcare community because the entire procedure takes place through a single small incision in the belly button, significantly reducing the pain and recovery time associated with traditional hysterectomies.

Introducing the SILS hysterectomy procedure on “The Doctors” will help educate the program’s large audience about the new option in gynecological surgery, and providing a less traumatic surgical option for the nearly 600,000 women who receive a hysterectomy in the United States each year.

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.

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March 14, 2013

A few weeks back, the team at Cherokee Women’s Health received this adorable drawing by Nicollette Maki thanking Dr. Gandhi for bringing her little brother, Sean Ethan Maki, into the world. We posted it to our Facebook page but wanted to share some of the other amazing photos taken that day, courtesy of the Maki family. Here’s the hand-drawn testimonial Nicollette created for Dr. Ghandi (Click on images to enlarge):

Dr. Ghandi Testimonial

Sean Ethan Maki was delivered by c-section on December 19th, 2012 and weighed 8lbs and 1.6oz. (Note: These photos may be graphic – not for young eyes.)

And here’s a photo of the budding artist with her brother when he turned a month old:

Nicollette and Ethan

What a lovely family!

For more information on Dr. Gandhi or to schedule an appointment, please call 770-720-7733 or visit Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists.

February 15, 2013

Strawberries and blueberries could help reduce the risk of heart attacks in women. This latest finding comes from the Journal of the American Heart Association and a study that showed that women had a 32% lower heart attack risk if they ate strawberries and blueberries on a daily basis versus women who only ate these berries once a month or not at all. And surprisingly, researchers found this to be true even for women who included a lot of produce in their diets.

Blueberries and strawberries not only taste delicious but they’re power foods because they contain high levels of flavonoids which is known to work against plaque build-up in heart disease. And what’s really interesting is that getting your kids to eat these berries at an early age may even reduce risk of a heart attack later in life.

The data comes from the Nurses’ Health Study II which followed the diets of 93,600 women between the ages of 25 and 42. Data was recorded every four years for a total of 18 years. In that time there were 405 heart attacks.

Blueberries and strawberries come out on top but other foods rich in antioxidants may also keep women’s heart attack risk low. Some of these heart-healthy foods include:

  • salmon
  • olive oil
  • nuts
  • oatmeal
  • soy
  • dark chocolate
  • popcorn
  • tomatoes
  • seaweed
  • potatoes
  • coffee

February is National Heart Month and given that heart attack symptoms in women can be – and often are – much more subtle than the symptoms men typically experience, it’s even more important that we take steps to avoid heart disease. While exercise and eating right isn’t always something we look forward to, adding popcorn and dark chocolate to our diets just might be the incentives we need to kick start our healthy heart habits! 

February 8, 2013
Amanda Parker recently gave birth to her and her husband’s beautiful baby boy Jaxon Luke. Here she shares how both her sons were delivered by Dr. Gandhi at Cherokee Women’s Health.

“Dr Gandhi delivered my first son Logan in 2007. That was the first time I had ever had a conversation with her because during my entire pregnancy I had seen Dr Litrel. I was so worried about her delivering him because I thought she knew nothing about me or my issues during the pregnancy. I had to be induced at 36 weeks due to preeclampsia. To make a very long story short she was a complete blessing to me and my family.

“The labor was agonizing and tiring but Dr. Gandhi stayed with me through the entire thing.”
Logan had some issues when he was born so he had to stay in the hospital for 11 days…she didn’t have to check on me during this time but she made a point to come up to my room numerous times to make sure I was okay. From then on I considered her not only my doctor but a friend. Since then she has seen me through two miscarriages… lots of testing to find out the problem… a long second pregnancy full of both worry and PURE JOY and the amazing pain-free birth of my second son Jaxon Luke Parker.
Dr. Gandhi truly is the most amazing doctor I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I appreciate her and all of you at Cherokee Women’s Health so very much!!”
In the photos are Amanda, her husband Cody and both of their sons.
For more information on Dr. Gandhi or to schedule an appointment, call 770.720.7733 or visit Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists.
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January 31, 2013

Did That LOL Just Make You PP?

According to the American Urological Association, the definition of urinary incontinence (UI) is “the involuntary loss of urine.” It’s common in women of all ages and is typically caused by child birth, aging or even a persistent cough. We probably all know someone who’s affected by incontinence and for those people, it’s no laughing matter. Incontinence can have a profound impact on a woman’s life, causing sufferers to avoid social situations and shy away from their favorite activities.

What are Some Triggers that Cause Incontinence?

Some of the simplest things can trigger bladder leakage such as laughing, coughing, sneezing, jogging or even picking up your baby. Fortunately, there are some simple tips that can be done to help you stay in control so you can enjoy a stress-free life.

Tips to Help Control Urinary Incontinence

  • Talk to your doctor. UI is more common than most think so don’t be shy! Your doctor can help you find the best treatment for your urinary incontinence. And the solution may be much simpler than you think.
  • Drink up – but not too much. Drinking enough fluids is important to avoid concentrated urine, which can be irritating to the bladder, but drinking too much water can wreak havoc if you have UI. Aim to drink about two quarts (eight cups) to keep your bladder and kidneys healthy.
  • Skip the caffeine. Cola, chocolate and coffee, oh my! Yes, we do love our caffeine but you’re doing yourself no favor by drinking products with caffeine. It can be hard to avoid altogether so at least try to cut back.
  • Be ready. Know where the nearest bathroom is and wear clothes that can be easily removed. Think elastic waists and Velcro.
  • Stick to a schedule. You may not feel like you have to go but you should try to head to the bathroom on a regular, more frequent schedule because empty bladders can’t leak. Shoot for every two hours and adjust as you go along to fit with your schedule.
  • Squeeze before you sneeze. Kegel exercises can help strengthen your pelvic muscles and in turn, help prevent accidents. Aim to do them regularly throughout the day because the more you do, the stronger you’ll make your muscles.
  • Medication side effects. The medication you are taking may have diuretic effects and you may not even know it. Talk with your physician to make sure you’re not taking any prescription or over-the-counter drugs that could be making your urinary incontinence worse.
  • Tampon Time. Wearing a tampon puts pressure on your urethra which can help prevent leakage. This is especially helpful when engaging in physical activities like running or dancing.
  • Lose weight. Extra weight on the abdomen means more pressure is applied to the bladder so losing weight can help control UI.

If you’re affected by urinary incontinence or would simply like more information, click here or call Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists at 770-720-7733. Treatment is available. 

January 29, 2013

We love this patient pic of Jordan Pelzel with her four little ones in tow. And we’re guessing being in our office feels like a second home – since all her children were delivered by Cherokee Women’s Health!

Jordan Pelzel and children

January 16, 2013

9 lbs, 3 oz of Pure Adorable!

Baby David Cash  was born January 6 at 10:09 am to proud mommy Jana Ward! We’re thrilled mommy and baby are doing well! And that face? Priceless!  🙂

Baby Cash

baby-carseat Baby David Cash





Yep, JOY pretty much sums it up! Congratulations Jana!

January 15, 2013

Do upcoming labor pains scare Jana? Doesn’t look like it! When we first started following Jana’s pregnancy, we knew her journey would be a fun one to watch and she sure didn’t let us down. These amazing pre-baby belly pics perfectly show off her fun, down-to-earth and completely fearless personality. We love it!

Jana - Tattoo - pregnant

Jana Can Do Attitude Pregnancy Jana pregnancy - smiling Psalm 139:13 pregnant belly Jana pregnant Jana Pregnant and Smiling Jana laughing

Scientific Nonsense

My physics classmates and I were studying for freshman exams when our professor introduced a new subject. “Retrograde motion” is the term used to describe the motion of the planets in the night sky. The apparent backward-looping paths are due to the planets’ orbit positions around the sun.

Because ancient peoples believed all heavenly bodies revolve around the earth, they devised convoluted reasons for what they could see in the sky. The math required was incredibly complicated – undoubtedly because the planets did not, in fact, revolve around the earth.

Full of resentment, I returned to my dorm room to study my notes on abandoned explanations for “Retrograde Motion.” It seemed to me that college physics was hard enough without having to learn something somebody else had figured out wasn’t true. As a premedical student I needed to get an A in this class – and all my others. What was the purpose of making me learn nonsense?

Science is a powerful tool that helps us make sense of the world. Every decision I make for my patients is based upon a foundation of scientific evidence. But years of medical practice have also shown me that science has its limitations. For one thing, medical understanding is continually evolving. A hundred years ago, bacteria and viruses were unknown to humans. Thirty years ago, minimally invasive surgery didn’t exist. The understanding of today will change tomorrow.

Science describes and measures things in the physical world. Blood pressure or cholesterol can be measured, infections diagnosed, and tumors discovered. Science provides the medications or surgeries to help our bodies get well. But health is about more than just the body. How do you measure a person’s happiness or fulfillment? Can you weigh a person’s faith or how much they love their neighbors?

Some argue you can.

Diagnoses Outside the Realm of Medicine

Jill had been on antidepressants for eight years when I first met her. Her doctor had first prescribed the medication in Jill’s last year of college. She had been distraught because her fiancé had cheated on her. A few years later, she had met someone else and was now happily married. They wanted to have children, but antidepressants are known to cause birth defects – and Jill was addicted.

It took six months to safely wean Jill from her medication before it was safe to conceive. I wondered why medication had been started in the first place. She was confused about this herself.

There are many drugs available to treat depression, anxiety, and diseases – with names like “attention deficit disorder” and “bipolar syndrome.“ Are these really problems of the body, classified along with high blood pressure and diabetes as medical problems to be treated with medication?

When I recommend surgery for a tumor, or tell a woman she is pregnant, I can back up my diagnosis with observable facts and measurable lab results. Psychiatric diagnoses, like depression or anxiety or bipolar, are based upon opinions, not evidence. Pharmaceuticals are created that make us feel less sad or less anxious. These drugs can make us feel better for a while – but then again, so can cocaine.

A Scientific Name Doesn’t Make It True

A lot of money is made selling drugs, especially the legal kind. You can give grief and sadness a scientific name, call it a mood disorder, and quote well-funded scientific studies about imbalances of neurotransmitters in the brain and successful treatment with medication.

But this is the same specious argument made by those who insisted the stars and planets revolved around the Earth. If you look in the night sky, you can see the celestial bodies moving around our planet’s sky, just as the ancients described a thousand years ago. But this doesn’t mean they understood what was going on.

We suffer for a reason. Your hand hurts when you touch a hot stove. You can move your hand, or you can take pain medication. Medication will work for a while, but the burning will continue, and you will eventually need more drugs.

This is the source of substance abuse. You take drugs for the wrong reason to make you feel better – and soon you need some more.

We all suffer from terrible loss. This can be the death of one we love, or a heart breaking betrayal, or a crappy childhood. Grief is a feeling so deep and awful it can make us question whether we even want to live. This is spiritual suffering. The source of this suffering is not as obvious as when your hand or mine is on a hot stove. But what we can learn is even more important.

The Physician for Spiritual Pain

Spiritual pain is the only way we come to understand the eternal nature of ourselves.

This is not an easy lesson. We come into the world as helpless newborns, only to die eight or ten decades later. In the course of that life, we gain – and then lose – everything and everyone that matters to us. We suffer terribly and we grieve along the way. But during these moments of pain, we can learn to reach out to a Higher Power – to God – for answers. And as we open ourselves to the source of Life, we come to recognize a greater truth.

We are not mortal human beings suffering from spiritual problems. We are immortal spiritual beings, suffering from human problems. When we open our hearts to God our faith grows and we understand how to live.

Taking a pill is easier than building a relationship with God. But this is what our world encourages; there is more money in selling drugs than in recommending spiritual growth. Anxiety and depression are not medical diagnoses. They are spiritual injuries. These are the signs pointing the path we must learn to travel. This is the path of Love.

Learning this lesson is the only reason why we are here.

-Dr. Mike Litrel

January 6, 2013


Last year when Cindy came in for an annual exam, I was disheartened that her Internist had placed her on yet another antidepressant and she had gained another twenty pounds. Now she was even more depressed.

Like all of us, Cindy has her demons. Her biggest goes by the name of “Donut.”

A donut is just like an antidepressant; it makes you feel better immediately, but when your clothing becomes tight and the scale moves in the wrong direction you need yet another one to make you feel better.

Excess fat on your body does not make you a bad person. The body is not who you are. It is only a temporary shell that houses your immortal self. But disliking what you see in the mirror is a lousy way to start the day. Negative feelings make it difficult to become the person God imagines. How can you love others when you have trouble even loving yourself?

Poor Choices Map the Highway to Depression

Skillful living boils down to one action at a time. Buy fresh fruit rather than a box of donuts. Pick up an apple instead of the donut. Eat the apple. Wise choices lead to happiness and fulfillment. Poor choices chart the highway to depression.

Do I relax on the couch or go for a walk around the block?

Do I watch mindless television or read a good book?

Will I complain about my troubles – or thank God for my blessings?

The decisions we make determine whether we have a healthy life or not, both physically and spiritually. I can tell you from knowing thousands of patients through the years that it’s the choices we make each moment that determine our happiness.

The Prescription for Happiness

I recommended to Cindy the book “Eat to Live” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. His prescription boils down to this: Just add a pound of salad, a pound of cooked vegetables, and fresh fruit every day. Then watch your demons – and the cravings – gradually fade away.

In fighting depression, our first line of defense must be against the countless chemicals and preservatives, and the dangerous fats and sugars, that permeate our food. A good diet is the first and best antidepressant.

This year when Cindy came back for her annual, she had lost fifty pounds. As she explained she was off all her medications, a huge smile lit her face.

It’s amazing what the right antidepressant can do.

-Dr. Mike Litrel

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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