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November 16, 2017

proteinWe all need it but can too much protein in your diet be deadly? Almost all of us grew up hearing that you can have too much of a good thing. As children, we probably learned that the hard way by drinking too much soda, or by stuffing ourselves with extra Halloween candy. The result was never pleasant. Though overdoing sensible portions may not always be dangerous, it can certainly have disagreeable repercussions. This applies to most over indulgences, including food the body may need such as fats, carbohydrates — even proteins.

What are Proteins and Why Do We Need Them?

To imagine what a protein looks like, picture an open charm bracelet lying on a table from a distance. Each charm is visible but indistinguishable from the one next to it. As you get closer, those charms begin to have distinct shapes and sizes, each with their own meaning.

Under a microscope, proteins resemble that bracelet. They are long strands linking together their own ‘charms’ called amino acids, and each one has its own unique formation and ‘memory’ to perform its purpose.

There are twenty different amino acids essential to the human body, and each protein can have all or only some of the ones you need to remain healthy. All twenty of those amino acids linked to proteins are vital to overall health and body function. Some proteins have the complete twenty, while others have only a few. This explains the different sizes of strands attached to each protein. Any or all amino acids can also appear on the same strand hundreds to thousands of times in varying sequences.

These amino acids literally keep you alive, creating enzymes, hormones, and multiple body chemicals. They build and repair tissue, blood, muscles, cartilage, and bones. Protein provides energy and even reproduces more protein such as your hair, skin, and nails.

Where Do We Get Protein?

Mother Nature, in her wisdom, has provided this planet with everything we need to sustain human life, and that includes numerous sources of protein. Though the body produces many of the twenty vital amino acids, you still need roughly half from various foods. There are only a few complete food sources, and these are:

  • Poultry
  • Seafood
  • Red meat
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Quinoa
  • Soy

Other foods rich in protein include beans, pulses, nuts, seeds, and legumes. The following are only a fraction of foods that fall into these categories:

  • Hummus
  • Lentils
  • Kidney beans
  • Alfalfa
  • Clover
  • Fresh peas
  • Chickpeas
  • Edible Beans
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pistachios
  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cashews
  • Flax seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Sesame seeds

Yet another excellent source is protein powder.

How Much Protein Do I Need?

The recommended daily protein guideline is 1.6 grams per kilogram of weight. This means that a woman weighing 50 kg or 110 lbs. would require 80 grams or 2.8 ounces. This amount is not carved in stone. Many factors, such as lifestyle, activity level and individual health come into play. You may need more if you are very athletic, or possibly less if you lead a more sedentary life.

What Happens if I Don’t Get Enough Protein?

Not enough protein intake can cause the body to work less efficiently, especially if the composition of those proteins does not meet your basic physical needs with the necessary amount of amino acids. Though they may be high in protein, nibbling on handfuls of walnuts all day, may make you deficient in the other amino acids it lacks. By doing this, you may find yourself experiencing such negative effects as:

  • Sluggishness
  • Difficulty focusing or concentrating
  • Trouble learning or absorbing new information
  • Fatigue or listlessness
  • Lack of energy
  • Lowered metabolism
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty healing
  • Joint, muscle, and bone pain
  • Immune deficiencies
  • Changes in blood sugar with a danger of developing diabetes
  • Difficulty losing weight or gaining muscle mass.

Can Too Much Protein be Deadly?

Though ingesting too much protein may have undesirable effects, there are no reported cases of excessive amounts of protein resulting in death. In rare instances, when massive protein consumption was reported to be fatal, it was later learned that there was an underlying disorder or disease that contributed to the event.

The body is unable to store protein for later use. Any surplus you don’t need is first turned into energy and then to fat. That, in turn, is stored away, causing weight gain. Overloading on protein rather than eating a balanced diet can also run the risk of you not getting other nutrients you need in the form of fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals vital to good health.

Too much protein won’t kill you. You may, however, have some unpleasant reactions such as:

  • Irritability
  • Brain fog
  • Constipation
  • Thirst
  • Bad breath (Halitosis)
  • Dehydration

Copious amounts of protein are only usually dangerous if you have a genetic, hereditary, or pre-existing problem. Excessive protein intake may accelerate further problems if you already suffer from weakened or compromised kidneys, liver, pancreas, or heart. Tainted or diseased food containing protein can be lethal in small or large amounts depending on the severity of the toxin. In short, too much protein can contribute to complications, but simply eating too much of it does not have deadly consequences.

If you have nutritional questions, call us at 770.720.7733.

BMR Rate CalculatorStatistics say that the average weight gain over the holidays is 15 pounds but understanding your BMR may help you boost weight loss over the holidays. You may have stumbled across the words, ’Basal Metabolic Rate’, more commonly referred to as BMR, in one of your many quests for a permanent weight loss program. The explanation regarding BMR probably seemed a little too scientific or complicated to completely understand, so you went on to look for something less confusing. If, instead, you researched and tried a few fad diets, lost weight and then gained it back with more, it might be time to take another look at that BMR information.

With the holidays quickly approaching, your caloric intake is probably on your mind —along with the fear of caving once you get to that food-laden table. Grandma or Mom will start circling your favorite pie under your nose, using their other hand to wave that delectable scent to your nostrils; someone will insist you be the judge of the best of three stuffings – and, oh my goodness, did Aunt Carol say she was bringing her famous candied yams?

What is BMR?

Very simply put, your body needs a certain amount of energy in order to function. Even while you’re sitting perfectly still or sleeping, calories are needed for all your organs to operate correctly – for your heart to beat, blood to circulate, kidneys to filter and flush waste. Even breathing requires energy. Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the minimal amount of calories necessary to perform these functions when your body is in a state of complete rest and inactivity.

Why is This Important Regarding Weight Loss?

We’ve been taught that in order to maintain our ideal weight, women need to consume about 1,200 calories a day and that anything above and beyond that is excessive and leads to extra weight. This is not the case at all. The truth is that you may need more than that merely to keep your body running. Those factors include:

  • Your Gender – Women typically have more fat and less muscle than men, so their BMR will be a lower number.
  • Your Height
  • Your Present Weight
  • Your Age – As you age, activity levels typically drop, leading to more fat than muscle and a decline in metabolic rate.

Your Body is a Well-Oiled Machine

The human body doesn’t think. It’s a machine and its main function is to survive. It needs fuel (food and drink) to run properly. To do that, it needs a certain number of calories to do its job adequately. If you feed it more than it needs, it converts the excess into fat and stores it, much like a squirrel hiding nuts for the winter.

If you begin dieting before knowing the minimal calories you need just to keep everything working, your body feels deprived and begins to deplete its stashed hoard until it runs out of fuel. Once that reserve is gone, it starts to work less effectively. It doesn’t know you are eating less because you want to lose weight. All it knows is that, suddenly, its accustomed level of mandatory nutrients has decreased and it doesn’t have enough ‘fuel’ to keep things running smoothly.

By knowing your BMR, you have a starting point to begin a healthy lifestyle of diet and exercise with a greater potential for permanent results. Weight gain is usually a slow process. It stands to reason that weight loss will be equally slow. However, as you start to eat sensibly, cut back on calories safely, and work out a little, your BMR level will drop accordingly until you reach a desirable number and can maintain your weight.

Are BMI and BMR the Same Thing?

No, BMI stands for body mass index. The number calculated from the body mass index formula is used by physicians to measure the amount of muscle, fat and bone in an individual. It determines if a person is obese, overweight, underweight or right on target. BMI numbers alert doctors to identify if their patient is at risk for potential problems such as diabetes, heart disease, anorexia or other disorders. BMI, along with BMR, is also helpful for nutritionists and dieticians in helping you plan a healthy weight loss program.

How is BMR Calculated?

Many BMR calculators are available online, but if you prefer to figure it out manually, this is the formula based on a woman who weighs 140 pounds, is 5’4”’ tall (64”), and is 35 years old.

Step 1) Multiply weight in pounds by 4.35.  (4.35 x 140=609.)

Step 2) Add 655 to the total.  (609 + 655 =1264) write down this total

Step 3) Multiply height in inches by 4.7. (4.7 x 64=300.8)

Step 4) Add this total to the amount in step #2 (1264 + 300.8=1564.8) Write this total down.

Step 5) Multiply age by 4.7. (4.7 x 35=164.5)

Step 6) Subtract the total in step #5 from your total in step #4. (1564.8 – 164.5=1400.3).

In short, based on this random woman’s gender, weight, height and age, this would be her formula to follow: 655+ (4.35 x 140) + (4.7 x 64) – (4.7 x 35) = 1400.3. The total of 1,400.3 is the basic number of calories she would need simply to maintain body function at complete rest. To determine your BMI number, you only need to substitute your own information.

Your daily activity level is equally important in calculating this result, and once you have your BMR number, you need to multiply it by the following numbers based on your personal lifestyle:

  • Very Inactive – If you work at a desk job with very little movement throughout the day, multiply BMR by 1.2.
  • Mild – If you do minimal exercise or participate in light sports once or twice a week, multiply BMR by 1.375.
  • Average Activity – If your exercise regimen or sports participation is moderate 3-5 days a week, multiply BMR by 1.55.
  • Heavy – If you exercise daily or participate in sports 6-7 days a week, multiply BMR by 1.725.
  • Extreme – If you exercise very heavily, have a physical occupation, body train, or practice extreme sports, multiply BMR activity by 1.9.

How We Can Help You

We offer individual medical weight loss packages and counseling and customize each program based on your specific needs. We assess your eating habits, modifying any vitamin, mineral or protein deficiencies with appropriate supplements. If stronger intervention is required, FDA-approved and natural appetite suppressants, fat-fighting injections, and HCG therapy are also available. We recognize that your needs are as unique as you are, and we treat you accordingly.

Call today to schedule your free weight loss consultation at 770.720.7723.



November 11, 2017

Placenta accreta can be discovered in the third trimester.When blood vessels and other parts of the placenta attach too deeply to the uterine wall during pregnancy, you have what’s known as placenta accreta.

As many as 1 in 2,500 pregnancies experience this condition.

Placenta accreta is a serious pregnancy condition that can cause serious blood loss after childbirth.

This condition can also be called placenta increta, or placenta percreta depending on the severity of the and deepness of the placenta attachment.

Symptoms Associated with Placenta Accreta

Generally, there are no symptoms or signs of this condition early on. During the third-trimester, some women who have placenta accreta may experience vaginal bleeding.

If you do experience bleeding, consult your doctor to discuss your risk level. If bleeding is severe, seek immediate medical care.

Who is at Higher Risk?

Placenta accreta is thought to be caused by abnormalities in the lining of the uterus. These abnormalities can be caused by a number of things such as scarring due to a past C-section or other uterine surgery.

You may at a higher risk for placenta accreta if you have any of the following risk factors:

  • Older than 35. Women above the age of 35 are more likely to have placenta accreta.
  • Previous childbirth. Your risk factor increases with each birth.
  • Past uterine conditions. Uterine conditions such as fibroids can cause scarring or damage to the uterine wall.
  • Previous C-sections. If you’ve had a C-section or other uterine surgery in the past, you’re more at risk for placenta accreta.
  • Placenta position. When the placenta is partially or totally covering your cervix, the risk factor for accreta increases. Placenta accreta is also more common when the placenta sits on the lower portion of the uterus.

If you suspect you may be at risk for this serious medical condition, ask your physician about your risk factor.

How is Placenta Accreta Diagnosed?

Fortunately, some indicators of this condition can be spotted early on during initial ultrasounds.

If your doctor suspects you may be at higher-risk for placenta accreta, they will schedule a follow-up visit to discuss the condition and form a plan to manage it.

A follow-up visit may also include:

  • An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): Your doctor can better see how your placenta is attached to the uterine wall through an MRI.
  • A Blood Screening: Through a simple blood test your physician tests the levels of alpha-fetoprotein in your blood. A rise in these levels has been linked to placenta accreta.

Your doctor may suggest a scheduled C-section as early as 34 weeks to avoid an emergency premature birth.

How Can Placenta Accreta Affect Delivery?

After normal childbirth, the placenta typically detaches from the uterine wall. However, with placenta accreta part of the placenta remains firmly attached.

Women with this condition can experience severe blood loss after the birth of their child. Placenta accreta can also cause premature birth.

If you’ve been diagnosed with placenta accreta, your physician may recommend an early C-section.

You may also need a hysterectomy (the surgical removal of the uterus).

Final Thoughts

Placenta accreta can be a scary medical condition. Maintaining an open dialog with your doctor throughout your pregnancy can help alleviate some of your fears. Together you can develop a plan for a safe delivery.

Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns regarding placenta accreta or any other pregnancy-related condition. A trained staff member will be happy to answer any questions or schedule a consult.

November 3, 2017

liposuction candidate photoIs liposuction right for you? Certain requirements must be met in order to ascertain whether this surgery will be a potentially successful one for you. An appointment for a preliminary consultation with your physician should always be made so that you fully understand the benefits, risks, and exactly what the procedure entails. It is necessary to be completely honest and open with regards to the expectations you may have and the results you expect.

Many women assume that this procedure is the answer to all their prayers – that it will magically give them the firm, svelte body they’ve always dreamed of having. This is not the case.

Liposuction is not a quick fix for weight loss. Nor does it miraculously get rid of excessive cellulite or stretch marks. The purpose of liposuction is to remove resistant bundles of fat that stubbornly refuse to respond to regular diet and exercise, especially after you have reached and maintained a healthy weight. If you are in good enough physical condition to undergo this surgery, only strong determination, good eating habits and regular exercise will keep the weight from returning. Liposuction cannot do that for you. Its results are only permanent if your weight remains stable.

It needs to be mentioned that liposuction only removes what is referred to as ‘adipose tissue’. This is fatty connective tissue that consists of those lingering fat cells you want to banish from your body. That is liposuction’s sole purpose. It does not remove excess skin nor does it tighten or repair anything internally or externally the way a tummy tuck or breast lift might, though it is on occasion, used to extricate small, leftover fat deposits during a tummy tuck procedure. Generally, it simply removes bulges, lumps, and bumps via suction to give the trouble spots in question a more sculpted, smoother appearance. Liposuction is, however, often performed simultaneously with other cosmetic procedures like the ones mentioned.

Additionally, positive change will not show overnight. It can take up to three months to see the benefits, and to see optimum results, all precautionary instructions you are instructed to follow regarding your aftercare must be adhered to. This includes wearing a pressure garment for the specified amount of time. Some discomfort and swelling should be expected, along with leakage at the incision site for several days. The extra effort on your part should, in time, bring about a more pleasing appearance.

Who is an Ideal Candidate for Liposuction?

• Women who are within 15% to 30% of their ideal body weight according to body mass index (BMI) calculations.

• Women who have fat deposits confined in their necks, thighs, abdomens, arms, back and other areas that have proven to be unresponsive or genetically resistant to diet and exercise.

• Women in good physical health who have no critical illness or chronic condition that may hamper healing.

• Non-smokers.

• Women who no longer plan to get pregnant.

• Women with a positive mental and emotional outlook.

• Women with a strong determination to maintain their current health and weight long term.

• Women of any age who presently have strong, firm skin elasticity.

Are There Ever any Medical Reasons to Perform Liposuction?

Yes. Liposuction is usually considered an elective surgery, but there are exceptions where it is warranted for medical reasons. These include:

• Profuse armpit perspiration (axillary hyperhidrosis)

• Fatty benign tumors (lipomas)

• Fat metabolism problems (lipodystrophy)

• Enlargement of the dorsoscervical pads (buffalo hump) which can be caused by adrenal disease or certain medications such as anti-HIV drugs or steroids.

What Conditions or Issues Might Disqualify a Woman From Receiving Liposuction?

Since liposuction is a surgical procedure, certain medical or physical conditions may prove dangerous or even fatal depending on their severity. Sometimes general anesthesia is used, usually when the operation is coupled with another cosmetic procedure. These problems, depending on their severity, could prevent patients from withstanding the procedure safely. Therefore, the following disadvantages may preclude them from being prime subjects:

• Women who suffer from depression: Depression can be a possible after-effect of any surgery, including liposuction. Any pre-operative depression can worsen the condition. Furthermore, certain antidepressant or anti-anxiety medications can be extremely dangerous when combined with anesthesia.

• Significantly overweight or obese women: Typically, skin elasticity is lost with the stretching that occurs with considerable weight loss, making it less likely that the surgery will give the smooth, firm, desired appearance.

• Women who have been diagnosed with scarring/collagen or connective skin diseases such as collagen vascular disease, etc.

• Women with extreme stretch marks.

• Women with acne who have used Accutane up to 6 months prior to surgery.

• Women suffering from Lupus erythematous, endocrine problems, lung or heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, vascular and circulation problems, healing complications, and blood clotting disorders.

Can I Continue to Take My Daily Medications?

It is mandatory that your doctor is aware of every single medication, herb, and supplement you take regularly or even occasionally. This includes all recreational drugs and alcohol. They are not there to judge, only to take every precaution to ensure absolute safety before, during, and after your procedure. Many of the above may have a detrimental effect on you physically and emotionally. You may be required to discontinue some of the products you are taking, and only your specialist knows how to advise you in this matter.

Liposuction has evolved considerably since its introduction into the world of cosmetic surgery. Though it is much less invasive than ever before, it is still surgery and should only be performed by a qualified, board-certified specialist experienced in the procedure.

To schedule a confidential consultation or for more information, please call our private number at 770-721-6060.

liposuction photoLiposuction may be right for you if you’ve been struggling with excess weight in certain areas that just won’t budge, even after trying every exercise and diet known to man.

What is Liposuction?

Liposuction is a procedure that removes fatty deposits from the body using a suction method. The process is quite simple to understand. A thin tube called a cannula is inserted under the skin into a small incision near that troublesome mass you want gone – and just like that vacuum you use at home to inhale the dust bunny from under your couch, that cannula sucks out the fat.

What is the Purpose of Liposuction?

Many women are under the false assumption that liposuction is a quick fix for weight loss and can eliminate cellulite or stretch marks. This is not the case at all, and the procedure is never recommended for these reasons. In fact, even the most intense liposuction procedures only result in a difference of under five pounds, which is hardly enough to warrant undergoing any surgery.

Liposuction is recommended as a final effort to correct, reshape and sculpt those trouble spots that have been resistant to diet or exercise. Stubborn fat deposits tend to become squatters in the abdomen, buttocks, outer thighs, face, neck, hips, legs, upper arms, back, and waist. Liposuction eliminates these clusters, leaving your skin with a smoother, shapelier appearance.

What are the Benefits?

Your self-confidence and mental outlook are just as important as your physical health. Liposuction can offer you the opportunity to walk into a room poised and self-assured, instead of agonizing over whether anyone notices that unwanted bulge you’re trying to conceal with tight, torturous undergarments. Self-esteem rises with positive self-body image, and though beauty is, indeed, only skin deep, it’s your skin and only you can decide when you’re comfortable in it.

Is it Painful?

New techniques have made liposuction much safer, less painful, faster and easier. Depending on the particular process being used, and the amount of fat to be removed, you may only need local anesthesia and a sedative to keep you calm throughout the process. If larger amounts need to be extracted, or if you are undergoing additional surgery such as a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), facelift, breast reduction or other cosmetic surgery, general anesthesia may be required. If necessary, your doctor will prescribe pain medication.

What is the Recovery Time?

Typically, depending on the amount of fat removed, any major discomfort eases within 2 to 4 days and normal activity can be resumed within a few days. Swelling and bruising at the entry site can be expected to last 7 to 10 days and you may be required to wear a compression garment for a specified amount of time. Some fluid drainage is to be expected and an antibiotic might be prescribed before and after to ward off infection. You may not see the complete effects for quite some time, especially if a significant amount of fat was drawn out. You will, of course, be advised about aftercare and what to watch out for, such as swelling, numbness etc., before being discharged, either from the clinic or hospital where your process takes place. In many cases, you will be allowed to leave within a few hours following your procedure.

As with any surgery, there are always risks, and liposuction is indeed surgery. Therefore, it should always be performed by an experienced, board-certified specialist who will brief you thoroughly and take the time to answer any and all questions you may have.

For more information or for a confidential consultation, please call our private number at 770-721-6060.


October 12, 2017


std signSexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs/STIs) have accelerated to alarming levels. Disturbing statistics show that, in the United States alone, 20 million cases are reported annually. Half of these are found in millennials, which are younger people between the ages of 15 to24. Syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea are the three top STDs affecting the younger population today. 820,000 cases of sexually transmitted infections are attributed to gonorrhea alone.

What is the Difference Between an STD and an STI?

Though used interchangeably, there is a difference, albeit a slight one.  An STD is a catch-all term for all sexually transmitted diseases. An STI is an infection that has not yet become a disease. Since most STIs can be treated with the proper medications when caught in time, they do not always evolve into a disease. For example, if you are unaware you have the STI, chlamydia, or are staying quiet hoping it will go away, it can blossom into an STD called pelvic inflammatory disease.

The term STI is used more often now to counteract the stigma that was once associated with STDs. It’s a gentler and more optimistic acronym, since people associate the word ‘infection’ with ‘cure’, thus implying the condition has a hopeful outcome.

Other than Intercourse, How Does One Get an STI or STD?

Bacterial and viral STIs are typically transmitted sexually via oral, vaginal or anal sex. Exposure to infected blood, skin, mucous membranes, seminal or vaginal fluids, bodily secretions, and open sores place you at high risk for STIs. Unclean shared needles used for tattooing, piercing and drug injection render you highly susceptible as well. Other STIs, such as pubic lice and scabies can be spread via physical personal proximity or infested fabrics.

Who Gets STDs?

From birth to death, no one is immune. There is no racial, economic, age or gender barrier. Sexually transmitted infections are impartial, in that they don’t discriminate.

What are the Symptoms?

Each STD/STI has its own list of multiple symptoms. You may have some or all of them. In many cases, there are no symptoms at all. If you are sexually active, especially with plural partners, or if you indulge in oral sex, pay attention to your body’s signals. Sudden pelvic, abdominal, back, tongue, mouth or throat abnormalities, should always be reported to your physician. Even your dentist can detect oral STI issues.

It is important to insist your partners use protection or provide proof of ‘cleanliness’. Use condoms and/or a dental dam regularly. Have yourself tested on a regular basis. Just as you can get an STI, you can also unknowingly transmit one.

What are the Risks of Untreated STIs?

Repercussions can be severe, even fatal. Untreated STIs can lead to STDs, affecting you physically and mentally, destroying your nervous system, organs, bones, joints, tissues—every part of you. Some may lie dormant for years. If you have an STI and are pregnant, your baby can be born with that same condition, or be stillborn. Even if you firmly believe you are in a completely monogamous relationship and are suddenly afflicted with some of the tell-tale symptom associated with STIs, see a physician. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

What are the Treatments?

Treatments vary based on the individual infection you have. Only your physician can prescribe the correct regimen after proper diagnosis. Antibiotics are usually effective for bacterial, parasitic or yeast STIs. There are however, some resistant strains of gonorrhea emerging that have become immune to antibiotics. Early intervention is important. Viral STDs cannot usually be cured, but they can be managed with antiviral medications. Vaccinations can help prevent hepatitis and some HPV types. Remember, STIs can recur. Even if previous treatment cured your gonorrhea, you can still contract it again from another partner.

Why are so Many Young People Suddenly Getting STDs/STIs?

There are a number of reasons for the astronomical rise:

  • Multiple Partners: Risk rises in non-monogamous relationships.
  • Unprotected Sex: Misplaced trust, inhibitions lowered by drug or alcohol use, and other factors can make women less cautious, leaving them vulnerable to these infections.
  • Oral and Anal Sex: Many females opt for oral or anal sex, either because of homosexual preference, desire to preserve virginity, fear of pregnancy or other reasons. The human mouth is just as ideal a location for STIs as the vagina, and venereal disease plays no geographical favorites. It’s as enthusiastic growing north as it is south. Gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes simplex 1&2, syphilis, human papillomavirus (HPV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can all be transmitted and contracted orally and anally.
  • Casual Sex: One night stands are becoming more frequent and acceptable, increasing the odds of infection.
  • Internet Dating: Wining and dining a woman for weeks, even months to eventually ‘get lucky’ has become less of a seduction ritual. Many social sites are devoted to individuals who aren’t interested in relationships or are too busy to devote time to them. They admittedly seek only physical encounters. The possibility of engaging in sex with one-or even more- sexual partners a week dramatically raises the chances of getting an STI.
  • Less fear of pregnancy and long term physical repercussions: Because there is now access to so many forms of birth control, fewer cautions are being taken. Where women once refrained from sex for fear of getting pregnant, those ‘accidents’ are preventable or easily ‘rectifiable’ now. Likewise, knowing that a few days of taking antibiotics can cure just about any infection has made people less cautious about protection.

I Heard That Mouthwash Can Cure Oral Gonorrhea. Is This True?

In a word, NO! Though research has shown that mouthwash does indeed kill some gonorrheal bacteria in the mouth and a little past the tonsils into the throat, there is no evidence to support that it has any healing qualities beyond that.

Believing a quick gargle will make you spit out all traces of gonorrhea is a dangerous assumption to make. This home remedy is as effective on oral STIs as covering an atomic bomb in bubble wrap to muffle the explosive sound. In fact, using mouthwash as a cure or preventative may actually mask some important symptoms that your physician needs to know about in order to identify and treat you effectively.

Statistic show that one in four Americans will contract an STD in their lifetime. Many won’t even know it. If you think you may have an STI or STD and wish to schedule an appointment for screening, call 770.720.7733.





October 4, 2017

The tofu in miso soup is a healthy source of probiotics.You may have heard friends, family, or co-workers talking about ‘probiotics’. If so, you likely thought that this was the next big trend in weight loss and nutrition.

Well, you may be happily surprised to learn that probiotics are gaining traction in the medical world as well. Numerous studies have been done on the benefits of introducing probiotics into your lifestyle.

It turns out, probiotics can help a number of conditions while aiding in weight loss management. In this article, we’ll dive into how you can use probiotics to achieve and maintain your health and nutrition goals.

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are ‘good’ bacteria that can be found in within your body already. Adding these ‘good’ bacteria to your daily routine can improve your overall well-being in many ways. Probiotics support weight management and promote a healthy immune system.

Typically you can get enough probiotics through foods like:

  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Saurkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha

However, those with an aversion to foods that contain healthy probiotics, or if you are lactose intolerant, you can easily get your health on track with dairy-free probiotic supplementation.

How do Probiotics Work?

When there are too many ‘bad’ bacteria in your gut and not enough ‘good’ (usually due to a poor diet), the imbalance can have adverse effects on your body.

Not having enough ‘good’ bacteria in your diet to counteract the bad can lead to weight gain, constipation, diarrhea, skin conditions, and other various health conditions.

There are several ways probiotics can be used to improve your overall health.

1)   Introduction of Good Bacteria

When you introduce friendly bacteria into your digestive tract, they instantly begin to work to improve your overall immune system by making short-chain fatty acids (SCFA).

The SCFA create a colonization microbiota that teaches the immune system to increase its tolerance to harmful bacteria. Secondly, microbiota that can help break down otherwise indigestible foods.

2) Enhance Existing Bacteria

Many probiotics are not only designed to introduce new bacteria into your system but also enhance the bacteria that is already there. Intensifying the prebiotic fiber keeps your body trained to produce more on its own.

 3) Encourage Nutrient Absorption

Probiotics allow you to get more out of your food. Introducing new bacteria into your stomach can break down the food you eat more easily. Ensuring you have a healthy digestive tract is the best way to increase the performance from the other foods you eat.

Taking probiotics alongside other supplements is also beneficial. Many dieticians recommend stacking these supplements to enhance the absorption of your vitamins.

Probiotics improve digestion which raises the bio-availability of the nutrients in the foods and other supplements you take.

Probiotics and Weight Loss

Obesity has been shown to be closely linked to your gut flora. Probiotics are helpful in supporting proper weight management and can even combat the weight gain typically associated with aging adults.

Maintaining a healthy balance of probiotics such as Lactobacillus helps the body reduce inflammation which helps keep metabolic diseases at bay.

One study showed that Lactobacillus amylovorus decreases the ‘bad’ gut bacteria Clostridium leptum. As a result, subjects were able to achieve and maintain a total fat loss of 4%.

Final Thoughts

Probiotics can aid in your battle against obesity by supporting the maintenance of a healthy well-balanced diet. Feel free to call our office if you have questions regarding nutrition or probiotics.

One of our trained staff members will be happy to help answer any questions you may have or schedule a consultation for our weight loss program. Our medical weight loss program can provide probiotics to help you achieve your health and nutrition goals.

romantic couple photoLoss of sexual desire after fifty does not have to be the norm. If you find yourself uttering “not tonight” excuses more and more lately, Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists can provide treatment options so you can say goodbye to your low libido and get back to feeling “alive” again.

Many women after fifty weren’t raised talking about sexual health so it may be an uncomfortable topic to bring up to your GYN. However, after over forty years of combined specialized experience in women’s health, our providers can assure you that, although you are a unique individual, your struggle with a lowered libido is not unique at all. Nor is it something you should be embarrassed about.

Declining sex drive is often something older women keep to themselves. They may feel isolated and abnormal in a world of uninhibited sexual openness. Additionally, new libido medications for men increase the pressure for women to perform when desire is nonexistent. They avoid bedtime until their partner is fast asleep. Some fear their unresponsiveness may cause their significant other to seek gratification elsewhere. Others, wanting to please the person they love, dutifully ‘fake it’, which results in eventual resentment and even feelings of being violated.

Without intervention, waning desire can lead to a sense of inadequacy, self-loathing, insecurity and depression. It can cause misunderstandings and hurt feelings, sometimes ultimately leading to shattered relationships. None of this has to happen. For menopausal and post- menopausal women looking to recapture lost desire, help for the following problems is available:

• Dryness and pain: Dryness after menopause is common. The vaginal walls grow thinner, the opening can get smaller, and the canal shorter. Causes include a drop in the hormone, estrogen, which previously kept your lady parts firm, plump and moist. These changes can make intercourse unpleasant enough to embrace celibacy. We can recommend different hormonal therapies, topical creams and water based lubricants that have come a long way from the petroleum products and creams recommended by your grandmother.

• Sagging and loss of sensitivity:  Just as your body shows signs of aging, time can impact your genitals. Vaginal childbirth delivery can stretch and displace internal organs and tissue. Estrogen loss can leave your vulva and labia loose and flaccid. This can affect sexual pleasure attained through friction. Orgasms become harder to achieve.

Today, there are more options than ever to correct these problems. ThermiVa, a non-invasive, gentle warming laser treatment, can restore the youthful appearance and function of your vulva and vagina by tightening and treating their external and internal tissues.

Vaginal rejuvenation, which includes labiaplasty and vaginoplasty, reshapes, trims and alters the appearance of the vagina and labia. It not only offers aesthetic enhancement but can renew your self-confidence exponentially.Various reconstructive surgeries can secure genital organs back into their original position with a relatively short recovery period. We even have the technology now to transform your genitalia to a virginal state if you so choose.

• Incontinence: Fecal and bladder incontinence are usually a result of internal organ trauma from childbirth. If you’ve been avoiding sex because you’re worried about accidents or being seen in adult diapers, we offer solutions ranging from simple exercises to surgical repair.

• Post hysterectomy issues: Removal of reproductive parts does not mean the end of intimacy. In fact, a high percentage of women report that they enjoy sex even more after a hysterectomy so whether you’ve undergone a partial, total or radical procedure, sex doesn’t have to become a memory.

Your hormones may be out of whack for several weeks and depression, whether psychological or triggered by abrupt hormonal changes, may occur. The extent of your surgery will determine how your estrogen and testosterone levels will be affected. You may possibly enter menopause and experience hot flashes, insomnia, and other symptoms. These temporary after-effects should abate with time. If not, and you are still disinterested in sex, talk to us. Once we determine if hormonal levels, medication, scarring, or other problems are causing your low libido, our FPMRS urogynecologists can help determine treatment options.

If loss of sexual desire is a concern for you, call us to book an appointment at 770.720.7733.

September 29, 2017

What is Tubal Ligation?

Commonly referred to as “getting your tubes tied,” tubal ligation is a permanent surgical procedure that is performed to prevent pregnancy. More formally, it’s also known as female sterilization. In recent years, the term “tubal sterilization” is most accurate, since the technical definition of the word “ligation” refers to a specific surgical technique that is no longer used in most sterilization surgeries.

Whatever the term you prefer, the procedure involves closing off a woman’s fallopian tubes to prevent eggs from traveling down to the uterus, and prevents pregnancy.

When Can Tubal Ligation be Performed?

Tubal ligation can be done in conjunction with childbirth, since the advantage is that it can be performed at the same time as a C-section or within 48 hours of a vaginal delivery. Many surgeons prefer to do the surgery after birth because you’re already in the hospital, and your abdominal muscles are still relaxed from having just given birth.

If you decide later on that a tubal sterilization is the procedure for you, it can also be done as an outpatient procedure separate from childbirth via interval tubal ligation. This process uses a laparoscope, a thin tube with a camera lens and light on the end. The procedure involves general anesthesia to prevent any pain or discomfort.

What to Expect During the Procedure

If you have an interval tubal ligation as an outpatient procedure, either a needle is inserted or an incision is made through your navel so your abdomen can be inflated with gas (carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide). Then the laparoscope is inserted into your abdomen.

In most cases, your doctor will make a second small incision to insert special instruments. Using these instruments passed through the abdominal wall, your doctor seals the fallopian tubes by destroying segments of the tubes or blocking them with plastic rings or clips.

If you have a tubal ligation after vaginal childbirth, your doctor will likely make a small incision under your navel, providing easy access to your still-enlarged uterus and fallopian tubes. If you have a tubal ligation during a C-section, your healthcare provider will use the same incision that was made to deliver the baby.

What to Expect After the Procedure

If your abdomen was inflated with gas during the interval tubal procedure, the gas will be withdrawn. You may be allowed to go home several hours after the procedure. If you have the procedure in combination with childbirth, the tubal ligation isn’t likely to add to your hospital stay.

You may have some discomfort at the incision site afterwards. Other symptoms you may experience include:

  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Gassiness or bloating
  • Shoulder pain

You may take acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) for pain relief, but avoid using aspirin, since it may increase bleeding. Your doctor will most likely permit you showering or bathing 48 hours after the procedure, but will advise against straining or rubbing the incision for a week.

You should also avoid strenuous lifting and sex for one to two weeks, but can resume your day-to-day activities gradually as you begin to feel better. Your stitches will dissolve and won’t require removal.

If you have any concerns that you aren’t healing properly, it’s important to call your doctor to see if you need a follow-up appointment. Additionally, contact your health care provider immediately if you experience:

  • A temperature of 100.4 F (38 C) or greater
  • Fainting spells
  • Severe abdominal pain that’s persistent or gets worse after 12 hours
  • Bleeding from your incision that’s persistent or gets worse after 12 hours, despite use of pressure and bandages
  • Discharge from your incision that’s persistent or gets worse

Who is the Ideal Candidate for the Procedure

Tubal sterilization is considered a permanent surgery, so it’s a good option only if you’re completely sure you don’t want any more children.

If you’re not entirely sure if you’re done having children, you might consider other less permanent forms of birth control. While you may have heard of women who successfully get their tubal sterilizations reversed, it isn’t guaranteed to be effective, and involves a second invasive surgery.

Additionally, because tubal sterilization is a surgery, your doctor may advise against the surgery if you’re obese, have chronic health conditions such as heart disease, or if you’ve had complicated abdominal surgeries in the past.

Complications from Tubal Ligation Procedures

If you think you may be pregnant after your tubal ligation procedure, you should contact your health care provider immediately. While tubal ligation is highly effective in preventing most pregnancies, it isn’t an absolute in preventing pregnancy. An estimated 1 out of every 200 women will become pregnant after tubal ligation.

Complications related to tubal ligation include an increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy, which happens when a fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tubes instead of traveling to the uterus. An ectopic pregnancy can be dangerous, and can cause a rupture in the fallopian tube, resulting in internal bleeding.

Considering Tubal Ligation? Start a Conversation

In 95% of cases, tubal ligation is an effective permanent form of birth control. Before deciding if this procedure is the best fit for you, it’s important to consider all the possibilities and know your options. If you think tubal ligation might be the right permanent birth control option for you, we invite you to contact your doctor to start a conversation.

September 28, 2017

Imagine this: You’re pregnant and wake up with a horrible backache, or have lingering pain from a previous injury. You think, “I may still have some hydrocodone that my doctor prescribed for me, that might do the trick.” Stop–before you take any medicine, it’s imperative that you learn the dangers of opioid use during pregnancy or if you’re considering starting a family. Why? Opioid Use Disorder is on the rise in pregnant women, and many have no idea of the potential dangers.

Opioid use during pregnancy has increased dramatically over the past ten years. In fact, according to a recent United Nations report, Americans use more than 99% of the world’s hydrocodone. These startling facts are the reason more and more OB-GYNs are alerting patients to the serious complications associated with opioid misuse and opioid disorder.

While many people are familiar with hydrocodone, there are lot of different drugs that fall under the category of opioid. Many of them are prescription medications used for pain relief, often prescribed after surgery, dental work, or an injury. In addition to hydrocodone, other opioids include oxycodone, hydromorphone, codeine, methadone, propoxyphene, and buprenorphine. You may be surprised to learn that heroin is also an opioid.

The Dangers of Opioid Use During Pregnancy

Opioid Use Disorder is another name for opioid addiction. Symptoms of opioid addiction include using more than the amount of the drug that is prescribed for you; having work, school, or family problems caused by your opioid use; and feeling a strong urge or desire to use the drug.

Taking opioids during pregnancy can cause serious complications for the baby, including a drug withdrawal known as neonatal abstinence syndrome after the delivery. NAS occurs when your newborn baby, who is no longer receiving the drug from your bloodstream, may have withdrawal symptoms for days to weeks after being born. Symptoms of the syndrome include: shaking/tremors, crying, fever, poor feeding, diarrhea, vomiting, and sleep problems.

Other complications for babies related to opioid use during pregnancy may include:

  • Spina bifida
  • Hydrocephaly (excessive fluid in the baby’s brain)
  • Glaucoma
  • Gastroschisis (a hole in the abdominal wall from which the baby’s intestines stick out)
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Placental abruption, growth problems, preterm birth, and stillbirth

Opioids: If You’re Pregnant

It’s very common for women to experience pain during pregnancy, such as pelvic pain, low back pain, or migraines. At your first pregnancy well-check visit, your doctor will provide you with a list of approved medications that are safe to take during pregnancy.

If you’re experiencing pain during pregnancy, it’s very important to have an honest and thorough discussion with your doctor, especially before deciding on a pain management option.

This is because there are many unknowns surrounding safe opioid doses for pregnant women. Because of these unknowns, even if you use an opioid per the exact instructions from your healthcare provider, it still may cause NAS in your baby.

Additionally, if you’re pregnant and are on opioids, it is not recommended to stop taking them without talking to your healthcare provider first. Attempting to quit “cold turkey” or without any warning can cause severe problems for your baby, including preterm labor or death. The most important step is to talk to your doctor about your opioid use, and together, come up with a plan to keep you and your baby as healthy as possible.

Treatment for Opioid addiction during pregnancy involves medication-assisted therapy, or opioid-assisted therapy. Long-acting opioids are given to reduce the “cravings”, but they do not cause the pleasant feelings that other opioids cause. Examples of these medications are methadone and buprenorphine. Treatment for opioid addiction also includes drug counseling, which helps people avoid and cope with situations that might lead them to relapse.

Opioids: Trying to Conceive

If you’re trying to conceive or are considering getting pregnant and are currently using an opioid medication, use effective birth control until you’re no longer taking the medicine. Let your doctor know all of the medications you take to make sure you are as healthy as possible before getting pregnant.

At Cherokee Women’s, it’s important to each of our physicians to have open, honest communication with our patients. If you’re concerned about opioid use during pregnancy, contact our office to schedule an appointment to discuss your concerns with one of our physicians.

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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