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Category: General

March 13, 2018

Although our physicians at Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists are experienced in treating all pelvic issues unique to women, we do not concentrate solely on the physical aspects of your genitalia. We recognize that health issues can be comprised of overall physical, mental and social factors and take all that into account, offering holistic approaches to the many problems that have plagued women since the beginning of time. One of these holistic solutions is the O-Shot, also known as the Orgasm Shot.

Women have always suffered from a plethora of physical ailments unique to their gender-so much so that an entire branch of medicine, Gynecology, has been devoted to their exclusive issues. Painful intercourse, urinary incontinence, vaginal dryness, and sexual disinterest are only a few of the problems we see on a daily basis. Though medicinal and surgical intervention is always available, many women today prefer a gentler and more natural approach. The O-Shot has been known to alleviate or entirely correct many of these problems in a less invasive, natural and extremely effective way.

What is the O-Shot?

The O-Shot is a non-surgical injectable procedure administered in-office, using your own processed growth factor cells harvested from your blood. It is then re-injected into an area of the upper vagina and near the clitoris, resulting in healing regeneration of the orgasmic zone, triggering the power of your own body’s natural healing properties.

How is This Done? 

After a vial of blood is taken from you, it is centrifuged, separating concentrated plasma and platelets from the rest of the blood. This process produces platelet-rich plasma (PRP), to which your physician applies an additive to boost the activation of your growth factors. Then, the platelet-rich serum is reintroduced into your body after swabbing the area with a numbing anesthetic.

Platelets normally swim around in your blood vessels, always on guard for any disruption or damage. When they sense one, they rush to the injury site, join together in a chain to ‘hold down the fort’, by forming a clot or plug. Then, they send out a type of S.O.S.to healing stem cells to hurry over and start repairs in the form of collagen production.

The O-Shot mimics this sequence by introducing a multitude of platelets into the body. The additive mixed in earlier sends that signal a false alarm of sorts- to lure the stem cells over. Stem cells, recognizing so many of your own platelets in one place are fooled into thinking there’s an injury and immediately respond, doing what they’re designed to do, which is to begin producing collagen and new tissue, replenishing vital elasticity, skin cells, moisture, plumpness, sensitivity, and strength to the area. 

PRP is not a not a novelty or fad. This technique has been used for many years to heal wounds, to treat sports and other injuries— has even proven effective in dentistry.

What Can the O-Shot do for Me?

The O-Shot can benefit women a great deal. By spurring the area of the body where it has been injected into healing itself, the O-Shot immediately begins to work. It starts correcting different feminine issues that have developed over time due to aging, childbirth trauma, depleted collagen, tissue damage, skin cell death, etc., physical changes which can evolve into such problems as:

  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Sexual disinterest or low libido
  • Vaginal Dryness
  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Failure to achieve orgasm
  • Desensitization
  • Painful intercourse
  • Stress incontinence
  • Urge incontinence

The O-shot, in tandem with your own biological healing factors, can then ease or altogether eliminate these troubles, resulting in:

  • Accelerated desire for sex
  • More powerful orgasms
  • Corrected or minimized urinary incontinence leakage
  • More youthful and supple vaginal lip appearance
  • Increased tautness to the vaginal opening
  • Less or no need for artificial vaginal lubricant
  • More frequent and regular orgasms
  • Less or no pain during intercourse
  • More sensitivity and arousal during clitoral stimulation
  • More ease in attaining orgasm
  • Possibility of reducing or stopping previous drug intervention
  • Possibility of less frequent or complete cessation of pelvic-related infections

How Long do the Effects of the O-Shot Last?

Individual results vary, but often noticeable change begins immediately and can last up to 18 months. Depending on how severe your issue is, we may recommend a booster procedure in about 4 to 8 weeks, and a maintenance shot in about a year so that there is no diminishment of ongoing benefit. There is also no recovery period necessary. You can resume all normal activities immediately after leaving our office. Furthermore, the whole process will cause you little or no discomfort.

Who is a Good Candidate for the O-Shot?

Almost every woman between the ages of 25 to 65 is a good candidate. There are virtually no exceptions, but we can only recommend this procedure 100% after you disclose your full medical history so we can be sure there are no foreseeable problems exempting you. Usually, however, most women prove to be excellent candidates.

Why Should I Choose Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists for my O-Shot Treatment?

At our establishment, we pride ourselves on our holistic approach to female wellness. We treat you as a whole, taking into account any metabolic or hormonal problems you may have. Even diet and lifestyle can compromise or your body’s ability to heal or regenerate tissue. We address any psychological or emotional issues as well so that we can help restore your overall health, head to toe and inside and out. We do not just focus on your pelvic area. We examine all your alternatives and only recommend the best one for your unique situation.

Drs. Litrel and Haley have spent their entire medical careers striving to learn all there is to know about a woman’s anatomy and the myriad of factors that can affect its performance and functions. They are board certified, double accredited urologists with certification in OB-GYN and Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery (FPMRS), the latter requiring years of study, training, hands-on experience, and meeting rigid proficiency demands specified by the American Board of Medicine (ABMS). Dr. Haley has been trained and licensed in Aesthetic Injectables for over a decade. Together and separately, these professionals are knowledgeable in every aspect of the problems exclusive to women throughout their lifetimes.

Administration of the O-Shot requires focused expertise, strict adherence to FDA guidelines, and astute knowledge of anatomy for optimum results. Our accomplished practitioners offer this skill on a daily basis.

February 28, 2018

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been used for decades to correct age-related hormonal imbalances in women. HRT treatments are comprised of both estrogen and progesterone. Depending on your individual needs, hormone replacement therapy can be administered in many ways including; oral, patch, topical, or vaginal treatments.

Hormone replacement therapy is commonly used to treat side effects associated with menopause such as hot flashes, irritability, and even vaginal dryness. Although more research needs to be done, HRT has been shown to be safe and effective when used for short periods of time.

The long-term benefits of hormone replacement therapy are not yet fully known but can include the prevention of bone loss leading to osteoporosis and lower cholesterol levels. However, the risks may outweigh the benefits for many women. There is still much to learn about the different variations of hormone replacement.

HRT Risks Heart health is important for women

It was previously thought that HRT could actually reduce the risk of heart disease but, it may not be as good for our heart health as was once thought. Long-term use of HRT can cause potentially deadly blood clots which can lead to stroke or heart attacks.

After mixed clinical trials, the American Heart Association has recommended that cardiovascular hormone replacement therapy not be given to women solely with the intent to prevent heart disease. Women who have previously had a stroke or a heart attack should not begin taking hormone replacement therapy.

Other Risks associated with hormone replacement therapy may include (but not limited to);

  • Certain Types of Cancers
  • Gallbladder Issues
  • Negative Effects on Mood

Continued research is necessary to fully understand the relationship between hormone replacement therapy and the possible benefits and risks.

Who Should Not Take HRT

Even when used short-term HRT can have an adverse effect on some women. Women with any of the following conditions should seek medical advice before starting hormone replacement therapy to ensure their overall well-being:

  • A history of breast cancer
  • A history of cancer of the uterus
  • Liver disease
  • Blood clots in the veins or legs, or in the lungs (Including blood clots during pregnancy or when taking birth control pills)
  • Cardiovascular disease

Alternative Treatments

Nobody should have to live with painful menopause symptoms. If you’re having bothersome menopausal symptoms but are worried about hormone replacement therapy, talk to your healthcare provider about your options.

Hormone replacement therapy is a widely available option for women seeking to get relief from menopausal-related symptoms but there are alternatives. Here are some of our favorites.

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement

Bioidentical hormones are chemically identical to those found within the human body. They are often used as an alternative to traditional hormone replacement therapy to correct hormonal imbalances. Bioidentical hormone therapy is said to treat such menopausal symptoms as fatigue, bloating, and low sex drive.

Natural Alternatives

Fruits and vegetables with high levels of phytoestrogen (yep, that’s plant-based estrogen), such as soy, red clover, and flaxseed can be used to treat mild to moderate menopausal symptoms.

Additionally, there are many herbal remedies that can help treat side effects associated with hormone deficiencies. One herb, in particular, black cohosh, has shown promising results when it comes to treating hot flashes, insomnia, and vaginal dryness.

Healthy Lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through proper diet and exercise is one of the best ways to manage many menopausal symptoms. Energy levels, mood, mild pain can all be managed through exercise. And, it’s good for your bone and heart health too!

Of course, diet and exercise may not be enough for everyone. You’re encouraged to talk to your doctor about additional treatment options are right for you.

Schedule an appointment with one of our physicians to determine what may be right for you. A friendly member of our staff will be more than happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you have about hormone replacement therapy and your heart.

February 26, 2018

You’ve done everything right! You dieted, exercised and finally lost all that extra weight you’ve been carting around. Or maybe you religiously followed all your doctor’s instructions to remain safely trim and as healthy as possible while pregnant. Yet, no matter how hard you worked at it, you’re stuck with that loose dewlap-looking fold of skin hanging around your tummy. It just won’t go away! You’ve researched and considered many available options, but realize your only remedy is probably a tummy tuck. You’re almost ready to commit to having one, but you still have questions.

At Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, we understand and are more than qualified and happy to answer all your concerns, both in this forum and during your free consultation.

What is a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a procedure that surgically removes superfluous skin and fat around the abdominal area distended by pregnancy, former surgery, obesity, accelerated weight loss, age, or heredity. It also repairs the slackened or separated muscles (diastasis recti) caused by these factors. In some cases, depending on their location, some abdominal marring such as cesarean section scars and stretch mark can even be eliminated. The result of an abdominoplasty is a firm, flat stomach and a more appealing profile without those unwanted bulges or bumps.

Are all Tummy Tucks the Same?

No, there are several different types of tummy tucks. The one is best for you depends entirely on your individual needs and desired results. Our experts will advise you accordingly, but the following are the three most common abdominoplasty methods:

  • Standard or Full Tummy Tuck: This procedure addresses the area both below and directly above the navel (umbilicus). Under sedation, a predetermined incision, based on the amount of excess skin to be removed, is made horizontally between the hips. Another is made around the umbilicus, which is carefully excised for repositioning afterward. The abdominal skin is then pulled back. Damaged muscles are tightened and tissue is removed. Liposuction, if required, is performed, Remaining skin is tightly pulled together and closed. The belly button is then replaced in a centered position. The standard tummy tuck is usually the method used when there is a large amount of surplus skin and/or muscle weakness.
  • Mini Tummy Tuck: This method is less invasive and only concentrates on the area of the lower abdomen beneath the belly button. It is ideal for slimmer patients with a slight bulge. Muscles are tightened and extra skin is removed, but there is no need for navel extraction and consequent readjustment.
  • Circumferential Lower Body Lift: This is the most invasive tummy tuck procedure and the one that yields the most dramatic results. It not only encompasses the entire abdomen but also targets the lower back and hips, resulting in a total upper body reshaping. It requires both vertical and horizontal incisions, allowing the surgeon better access to more compromised muscle and excess tissue. Then liposuction is used to draw out fat located around the hips and lower back for a more defined silhouette. The belly button is replaced as in a standard tummy tuck before closing.

Because this is a more intense surgery requiring a longer period of recuperation, patients must be in extremely good physical health.

Am I a Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck? 

You are a good candidate if you:

  • Are in good health
  • Are a non-smoker
  • Are between 25 and 60 years of age
  • Have good skin elasticity and muscle tone
  • Have a great deal of loose, flabby skin: There must be enough skin to perform a standard tummy tuck so that the resulting scar does not become stretched and unsightly after healing. If you only have a small pocket of skin, the preferred choice is usually a mini tummy tuck.
  • Realize that abdominoplasty is not a weight loss procedure or miraculous overnight makeover.
  • Are committed to weight and good nutrition maintenance, a healthy lifestyle, and regular exercise
  • No longer plan to become pregnant: Unexpected pregnancy after a tummy tuck is not harmful to a baby, but additional surgery to correct subsequent loose skin may be needed.
  • Are within 15 to 20 pounds of your ideal weight with no plans to lose more.

Who Should Not Have a Tummy Tuck? 

An abdominoplasty is a low-risk elective plastic surgery, but surgery nonetheless. Full medical history disclosure is needed, including a list of all prescribed, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, herbs and supplements you use. Additional preoperative tests must be performed. Information from all sources is used to ensure that all precautions are taken to determine that you can safely tolerate the procedure. Possible reasons that make you a poor candidate are:

  • An intolerance to the anesthesia
  • Lung, heart, kidney, liver, or connective tissue issues
  • A tendency to develop keloids or other thick scarring problems (hypertrophic scarring)
  • Healing difficulties caused by certain medical conditions such as diabetes, coronary artery disease etc.
  • A compromised immune system
  • Obesity
  • Poor circulation
  • A tendency to form blood clots.

What is the Recovery Time After a Tummy Tuck?

Your surgeon is usually the best person to answer this question, based on individual factors and type of surgery, but typically the recovery time is 2 to 6 weeks. This is usually the time allotted before the patient can return to work unless the job involves heavy or rigorous activity. Otherwise, the recuperation may be longer.

Will I need to Stay Overnight After a Tummy Tuck?

Most tummy tucks do not necessarily require an overnight hospital stay, but some physicians–and patients–prefer it. You are usually physically able to leave within two hours.

I’m a Busy Mom. Can I Resume Care of Children After a Tummy Tuck?

It is crucial that the repaired muscles heal after an abdominoplasty. Any undue stretching of can cause tearing and stitch separation. Not only can this cause complications, but the desired abdomen flattening will not occur, rendering the whole process ineffective. You are usually cautioned not to lift anything over 10-15 pounds, and then, carefully. A wiggling toddler or baby can seriously jeopardize your healing process. Alternative, temporary accommodations, such as daycare or in-home help should be arranged.

What Precautions Should I Take After a Tummy Tuck?

Just as your doctor will explain exactly what preoperative preparations you will have to make, your aftercare needs will be explained. Some instructions you can expect are as follow:

  • You will be prescribed pain medication and antibiotics with detailed instructions, and must not drive while taking it. Someone must drive you home.
  • You will have bandages and drainage tubes that will require scrupulous care and attention. You may be asked to document drainage output to establish that you are healing properly. (Drainage from the incision site is normal, beginning with blood and some clotting. Discharge will slowly clear in color.)
  • You will be told to avoid baths and hot tubs and be advised to take showers facing away from the stream.
  • You will be restricted from heavy lifting and strenuous activity.
  • You may be given compression garments to wear for about 6 weeks.
  • You will have to refrain from sexual activity until your surgeon gives you the okay. (Some oral contraceptives taken with antibiotics may be less effective, so alternative birth control is recommended.)

You will also be told to watch for signs that may indicate a problem. Call your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • Redness or swelling at the incision site (numbness is normal)
  • Any fever over 101 degrees
  • Foul smelling drainage or discharge
  • Severe postoperative depression
  • Blackening of the skin
  • Excessive pain not alleviated with medication.

Why Should I Choose Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists for My Tummy Tuck?

You naturally want the most experienced and accredited surgeon to perform something as important as a successful tummy tuck. Our Drs. Haley and Litrel are board certified urologists who are doubly accredited in OB-GYN and Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery (FPMRS). The latter certification was earned by meeting highly stringent criteria set forth the by the American Board of Medicine. Acquisition requires years of training and experience and enables them to perform all cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries dealing with women’s health, wellness, and self-image.

Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists is also affiliated with the new Northside Hospital Cherokee where your procedure will take place. This state-of-the-art institution provides our surgeons with impeccable surroundings and the most up-to-date technology known to modern science, ensuring that you will receive the highest quality care available.

The decision to have a tummy tuck is a serious one requiring much consideration and personal reflection. With proper professional intervention, investing in an abdominoplasty can be a permanent solution to an otherwise unyielding cosmetic problem, providing self-confidence and a sense of pride in your outer appearance for decades to come.

For a free consultation with one of our double-board certified physicians, call (770) 721-6060 to make an appointment.

February 20, 2018

As National Heart Health Month comes to a close, we’d like to touch on a disease that affects an estimated 44-million of women every year. Cardiovascular disease is the number-one killer for women across America. You may be surprised to learn 1-in-3 deaths of women is caused by this deadly disease.

Heart disease differs from woman to woman. Warning signs can be hard to spot and even non-existent. That’s why it’s important to take every possible measure to live a heart-healthy lifestyle especially if you have one or more risk factors.

Cardiovascular disease can include diseased blood vessels, structural problems, or blood clots. Over time, heart disease can cause strokes, heart attacks, arrhythmia, and more.

Who’s at Risk? 

The truth is cardiovascular disease can adversely affect anyone. However, there are several factors that can put you at a higher risk. A whopping 90% of women have at least one or more risk factors for heart disease.

Today, we’ll go over several key risk factors women should be on the lookout for. While some factors cannot be controlled such as age, race, or genetics, there are steps you can take to lower your chances of getting heart disease.

Women from all walks of life should get an annual well-woman exam and maintain an open dialog with their physician. If you have a family history of heart disease or any of the following risk factors, your doctor should be aware.


Most women don’t start to think about heart disease until they’re older. And, while it’s true that age can play a major role in your heart health, it doesn’t always have to. Did you know, the combination of birth control and smoking increases young women’s risk for getting cardiovascular disease by 20%?

Family History

Family history plays a key role in your heart health. High blood pressure and cholesterol levels can pass from one generation to the next and can increase your risk.

You may be at a higher risk for getting heart disease if:

  • Your father had a heart attack before the age of 55.
  • Your mother had a heart attack before the age of 65.
  • Your mother, father, sister, brother or grandparent had a stroke.


Yes, heart disease affects all women but your ethnicity can put you at a significantly higher risk. For example, Hispanic women are more likely to develop heart disease 10-years earlier than Caucasian women. Forty-eight percent of African-American women 20-years and older have cardiovascular disease.

High Blood Pressure/Cholesterol

Having high blood pressure for long periods of time puts added strain on your heart. After a while, it scars and damages the arteries leaving you vulnerable to heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, and more.

High cholesterol levels can potentially harden and line the artery walls over time causing unwanted blockages. These blockages can lead to blood clots, heart attacks, and stroke.


We all know just how bad smoking is for us. It causes cancer, makes us gain weight, and increases irritability but did you know it affects your heart too? Take a look at how smoking puts you at greater risk for cardiovascular disease.

  • Nicotine makes your heart rate and blood pressure levels skyrocket.
  • Carbon monoxide in tobacco rob your heart, brain, and arteries of oxygen.
  • It damages your blood vessels and makes your blood sticky, making blood clots more likely.
  • It lowers your tolerance for physical activity and decreases HDL (good) cholesterol.

Women who smoke are 25% more likely to get heart disease than men who smoke.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Physical inactivity can lead to blood clots, high blood pressure, heart attack, and strokes. People who don’t have regular to moderate physical activity are 30-40% more likely to be at risk for heart disease.


Even if you have no other health conditions, being 20% overweight can put you at a greater risk for cardiovascular problems. Carrying extra weight (especially in the waist area) puts extra strain on your heart. It can also increase your risk for other heart disease causing factors such as increased cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and induced diabetes.


Adults who have diabetes are 2-4 times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke. Over time, high glucose levels can damage blood vessels and the nerves that control the heart. The good news is, diabetes can be controlled through medication, as well as diet and exercise.

Signs You’re Having a Heart Attack

When it comes to actual warning signs, men and women differ a good deal. While men typically have very specific symptoms such as tightness or extreme pain in the chest, women have more subtle symptoms.

Some signs you may be having a heart attack include (but are not limited to);

  • Indigestion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Dizziness/ lightheaded
  • Discomfort in the jaw, upper back, or arms
  • Prolonged excessive fatigue

Listen to your body. If you think you may be having a heart attack, stay calm and seek immediate medical attention.

Steps to Take Towards a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle

Okay, you may not be able to go back in a time machine and lower your age, but there are several steps you can take towards a healthier life.

  • Be more active. For every hour of regular exercise you get, you keep heart disease at bay and gain approximately two hours of additional life.
  • Lose Weight. Losing as few as 10-pounds can decrease your risk for getting heart disease.
  • Avoid Smoking. After only one year of non-smoking, your risk for cardiovascular disease is cut in half.
  • Lower Cholesterol Levels. Lowering your cholesterol by 1 point decreases your risk for heart disease by 2%.
  • Reduce Blood Pressure. About 7 of every 10 people having their first heart attack have high blood pressure.

Implementing a healthier lifestyle through diet and exercise can add years to your life. Consider making small changes to your daily routine and keep heart disease at bay.

Schedule an annual well-woman visit today to learn more about your risk factors for getting heart disease. Together, you and your doctor can create an action plan for preventing and maintaining healthy heart health.

February 19, 2018

Lately, you’ve noticed that the rosy glow to your face is slowly disappearing, and a grayish tinge is replacing it. Your skin seems droopy. People regularly ask if you’re more tired than usual, even though you feel fine.

Upon closer scrutiny in the mirror, under bright, unkind lighting, you are shocked to realize that signs of aging are beginning to make an appearance around your eyes, mouth and a few other places.

Well, you’ll have none of that! You’re still too young, and you’re not about to look older than you feel, so you do some research, ask around and hear about something called Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy –otherwise known as a Vampire Facelift. Though it sounds intimidating and, let’s face it, a little creepy, it’s a surprisingly simple, unique procedure with some amazing benefits.

What is a Vampire Facelift?

A vampire facelift is a process where your own blood is drawn, treated, combined with a filler and then reintroduced to targeted areas via injection. This procedure is called Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy, and it can, indeed, revert your skin back to its previous, youthful, glowing appearance.

How Does PRP Work?

Collagen, which is the body’s most plentiful protein, replenishes dead skin cells and provides skin elasticity and strength. As you age, you lose collagen, which is why your skin tends to become loose, stretched, and less supple, just like an overused rubber band that needs an extra twirl around your Saturday morning ponytail to keep it from falling into your eyes while you clean.

Blood contains growth factors called platelets. In Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP), a vial of blood is drawn from your arm and put through a centrifuge for several minutes. This isolates the plasma and platelets together from the rest of the blood so that they are concentrated and no longer diluted by the rest of the blood.

A special additive spurs the plasma to release their growth factors. It is then thickened with a hyaluronic acid filler. (Hyaluronic acid is a natural gel-like molecule found naturally in the body which provides moisture, hydration, and lubrication) Upon injection to the area that will be treated, increased collagen growth is stimulated, replenishing what was lost over time.

What are the Benefits of PRP in a Vampire Facelift?

Platelets play a key role in the body’s healing and clotting process. When a wound occurs, they’re the first to arrive on the scene. They develop a stickiness and latch on the hurt cells, which in this case is the injection site. They then band together, in essence, ‘joining hands’ with each other to fashion a protective web of sorts, both in and over the wound. This forms a weak wedge or plug to stem the flow of blood.  They then emit chemicals to ‘call’ or attract stem cells over help begin stronger clotting—like radioing someone for backup. The body then begins to develop extra collagen to heal the wound.

In PRP therapy, injecting the site with so many plasma rich platelets that the body already recognizes as its own, dupes it into thinking that, since there are so many platelets at the ‘accident site’ the damage must be excessive. It assumes extra collagen is needed and produces it. That additional collagen, along with added filler used in the Vampire Facelift procedure, pushes out the hollows and wrinkles, smooths out the skin, and continues to produce healthy skin for months to come. For women between the ages of 25 to 70, this results in:

  • Almost immediate younger looking, firm skin with renewed elasticity
  • Continuing improvement in appearance over time as growth cells and blood supply continue to be stimulated
  • Diminishment of crow’s feet and other fine lines around the eyes, mouth lips and forehead
  • Healthier looking color and texture
  • Hydrating replenishment of papery looking, sun-damaged and loose skin
  • Fuller, more taut skin around the neck
  • Less visible scarring
  • Improvements to hollowed or darkly circled eyes
  • Overall improvement lasting for up to a year-even more
  • A more radiant, healthy-looking

What’s the Difference Between a Vampire Facelift and a Vampire Facial?

You may not need a full Vampire Facelift if you only have moderately visible lines that you want to correct. In that case, a Vampire Facial, which only uses the platelet-rich plasma without any added soft tissue dermal filler may adequately take care of the problem.

How Can Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists Help?

Any injections into the body require skill, knowledge, focus, concentration, and expertise. Only an accredited professional should be consulted to perform such procedures. At our clinic, Dr. Haley and Litrel are doubly accredited urogynecologists. They hold degrees in OB-GYN and Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery (FPMRS). Dr. Haley has over a decade of experience in injectables, having obtained his certification in the field in 2007. Our physicians’ intense combined training makes them a superb choice for all your women’s health and cosmetic needs. They are committed to doing their utmost to ensure the health, confidence, well-being, and beauty of their patients, one woman at a time.

For a free consultation or to schedule an appointment for a Vampire Facelift, contact our office.

Lack of sexual desire. The inability to become aroused or orgasm during intercourse. Painful or unpleasant sex. These are all symptoms of sexual dysfunction and if you’re experiencing any of them, you’re not alone. Nearly 43% of women report at least some degree of poor sexual function.

Sexual dysfunction affects women of all ages. However, it can be particularly brutal for women entering menopause thanks to hormonal imbalances. If you’re simply no longer interested in sex or have trouble staying lubricated before or during intercourse, you may want to consider the O-Shot.

Aptly named, the O-Shot or ‘Orgasm Shot’ works to improve overall sexual health so you can take your life back. It’s a simple minimally-invasive procedure that safely and effectively restores your ability to climax by improving lubrication and sensation.

How Does It Work? 

Before your O-Shot treatment, you’ll undergo a simple blood draw. One of our specialists will then spin, clean, and process the blood into platelet-rich plasma (PRP) while you wait in-office.

The PRP is then injected directly into the clitoris and inside the vagina. The process stimulates the growth of new cells and encourages the formation of new collagen, blood vessels, and nerves. In turn, the injection sites become more sensitive.

A topical numbing agent is placed on the injection sites prior to your treatment to minimize discomfort. There is no downtime associated with the O-Shot and patients are free to go about their daily activities immediately following the procedure, including intercourse.

Unlike other similar procedures, the O-Shot uses your own body’s natural healing process. Dermal fillers used for vaginal rejuvenation provide short-term results and are quickly absorbed and expelled from the body. Surgical methods are costly, time-consuming, and have longer recovery times.

What To Expect

Because the O-Shot uses a biologic process, some women may experience improvement almost immediately while it can take several weeks for other women to notice results. Once the O-Shot takes effect, you should experience better sexual function for up to a year or more.

After your Orgasm Shot, you can expect improved sexual desire, better lubrication, and the ability to climax more often. Stronger, longer-lasting orgasms can also be accomplished with O-Shot injections. Most women don’t need more than one O-Shot injection, however, you may want to consider an additional treatment 3-4 months if desired results are not achieved.

No significant side effects have been reported with the O-Shot. Some patients expressed temporary spotting, swelling, and hypersensitivity after their vaginal rejuvenation procedure. Any adverse side effects should dissipate within 1-3 days.

Am I A Good Candidate?

The ideal candidate for the O-Shot include women who are seeking a non-surgical way to improve their sexual health. With a short, in-office appointment women can achieve long-lasting results without the downtime.

You may be a good candidate if you have one or more of the following sexual concerns:

  • Vaginal Dryness
  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Lack of Sexual Desire
  • Inability to Become Aroused or Orgasm
  • Pain During Intercourse

Menopausal and post-menopausal women can especially benefit from the O-Shot. New collagen, blood vessels, and nerves that are formed help restore your sexual health to its previous good health.

Women who go into the procedure with realistic expectations are more likely to be happy with the results of their O-Shot procedure. During your consultation, your doctor will be able to explain the procedure in detail so you can make an informed decision about what’s right for you.

Ready to improve your sexual health with the O-Shot? Schedule a consultation with Cherokee Women’s Health today to inquire about getting the O-Shot for yourself. One of our friendly staff members will be happy to confidently answer any questions you have about how you can treat your sexual dysfunction

With the soaring popularity of fillers, cosmetic surgeons have been inundated with questions, including how long the effects last, and who can safely receive the injections. At Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, these and other queries come up on a daily basis, and we’re more than happy to take the time to answer them, both here and during your free consultation.

What Causes Skin Volume Loss?

We all have a substance called subcutaneous fat. It is directly under our skin, separating it from muscle. Sometimes, we spend a lifetime trying to get rid of it, because it’s what makes our tummies, buttocks thighs and other places bulge undesirably. However, among other important functions, it serves the purpose of giving our outer layer of skin volume, smoothness and contour.

As we age, this fat diminishes, most noticeably in areas like the face, neck, and shoulders. The backs of hands and feet can be affected too. This decrease brings the muscles visibly closer to the surface. Continued use of the muscles, now without the buffer of fat, causes droopiness and sagging. Combined with the additional loss of collagen, which contributes to the skin’s elasticity, the formation of wrinkles, creases, folds, and hollows begins. This results in a drawn and tired facial appearance.

What are Fillers? 

A cosmetic filler is an injectable, FDA- approved substance consisting of soft tissue. It is designed to take the place of the reduced subcutaneous fat. Skin puckers and grooves normally occur due to natural aging, sun damage, and repetitious facial expressions such as laughing, squinting, concentrating and grimacing.

Fillers restore plumpness and lost fullness to these facial furrows. They smooth out areas around the eyes, nose, mouth, cheeks, and chin where laugh lines, crow’s feet, and other wrinkly or papery looking skin typically form. They can also be used to refine facial flaws and irregularities including scarring from acne or minor injuries.

Fillers can also improve the look of the hands, décolletage, and earlobes where bones might protrude, or where skin may have a deflated appearance. They can even provide cushioning relief to regions of the feet exposed to chafing and discomfort from footwear. The entire procedure is similar to reinflating a softened beach ball to make it firm, contoured, and smooth again.

What are Fillers Made of, and Are They Safe?

Because of strict guidelines set forth by the FDA, and the conscientiousness and surgical skill of qualified, accredited physicians like those at Cherokee Women’s Health Specialtists, fillers today are safer than ever.

In the past, fillers consisted of animal-based collagen. This collagen caused allergic reactions in the recipients. Today, synthetic fillers are made of hyaluronic acid (HA) which is modified and bacterially produced. Hyaluronic acid is found naturally in the body. It is a gelatinous molecule that works to keep your joints and skin lubricated-in essence, oil for the body. As you age, your body produces less of this substance, depriving your skin of moisture and causing it to become dry and wrinkled, the same way lettuce becomes limp if it’s not sprayed regularly in a grocery store. Because hyaluronic acid is not alien to the body, there is less chance of any unpleasant reaction.

How Long do the Results of Fillers Last?

It is impossible to pinpoint exactly how long the aesthetic benefits of any dermal filler can last. Longevity depends entirely on a myriad of factors and cannot be predicted or guaranteed, but the norm is 2 months to one year. Variables that can affect duration include:

  • The area treated: The more actively the muscles are used in the treatment, (i.e. mouth versus cheeks), the shorter the effectiveness of the product
  • The amount and type of filler used: Each brand has different active ingredients which impact the product’s longevity.
  • Serum thickness: Thicker serum usually extends the filler’s
  • Injection technique: Fillers require specific methods of injection, (‘linear threading’, ‘fanning’, ‘serial puncture’, ‘cross hatch’ etc.), all of which our professionals are qualified to perform. Based on the necessary process, each syringe perforation may use a different amount of filler, thus affecting duration.
  • Body metabolism: Today’s fillers, especially those consisting of naturally occurring hyaluronic acid, are absorbed, go through the waste process and are eliminated the same way food is. Therefore, the duration of a filler’s effectiveness is also based on your metabolic rate.
  • Lifestyle: Active lifestyle and excessive exercise can cause the body to break down fillers more quickly due to increased metabolic rate. More frequent treatments may be required to maintain results.
  • Sun exposure: Sun accelerates the aging process which, in turn, necessitates more treatments.
  • Body chemistry: Each individual undergoing the procedure will process the filler differently based on such things as genetics, use of medication, diet, etc.

Who is a Good Candidate for Dermal Fillers?

Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists use fillers made by Juvederm. We rigidly adhere to all maker’s product guidelines. Our clientele falls into their recommended category of women aged 25 to 75. Additionally, the best candidates should be:

  • Non-smokers
  • Women who are diligent in practicing impeccable skin care
  • Women who do not expect their appearance to be so dramatically changed that they become unrecognizable.
  • Women whose general health is good and don’t suffer from any chronic or debilitating illnesses or immune conditions that may be compromised by receiving dermal filler injections.
  • Women who are not pregnant, breastfeeding or planning either while receiving filler treatments. (No conclusive studies exist regarding filler impact on pregnancy or breast milk)
  • Women who have no evident allergies to any filler ingredients.
  • Women without severe scarring or pigmentation
  • Women who have not recently had other facial treatments or plan to do so while using fillers
  • Women who do not regularly take medication that may cause problems when used in conjunction with cosmetic fillers.

Why Should I go to Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists for my Filler Procedure?

In one word–expertise! Fillers replace many of the highly-invasive rejuvenating plastic surgeries women had to undergo in the past to maintain a youthful appearance.

Because treatments are quick, virtually painless and need no convalescence, many inexperienced non-professionals are performing them with limited training in correct dilution, application, or anatomical knowledge. Women have been left with irreversible damage after being lured by the promise of dramatic, unrealistic results that come with a preposterously low price tag. In many cases, women have attempted the process themselves, using rogue, imitation products. The outcomes were disastrous-blindness, scarring, infection,-even permanent disfigurement, just to name a few.

At Cherokee Women’s Health, our practitioners possess the highest qualifications and are abreast of the most up-to-date cosmetic surgery developments available. Drs. Litrel and Haley are both board- certified urogynecologists with double accreditation in OB-GYN and Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery (FPMRS). The latter degree sanctions us to minister to all of your uniquely feminine requirements. Our proficiency in rejuvenation and reconstructive procedures tops the list of the many broad-based services we provide. Moreover, since 2007, Dr. Haley has been certified in injectables, giving him over a decade of skill, practice, and experience in this field.

The aging process does not have to be a visually undesirable one. Today’s facial cosmetic techniques can easily and safely match your outer appearance to reflect your inner youth. You can trust us to help you attain that goal with the safest and most meticulous precision, expertise, care, and commitment to your safety and well-being.

Call to schedule a free consultation with one of our double-board certified physicians at (770) 721-6060.

February 16, 2018

By James Haley, MD, FACOG, FPMRS 

The fountain of youth may be just around the corner. 

Actually, the truth is that there have been tremendous advancements in non-invasive cosmetic procedures. All-natural dermal fillers have been gaining in popularity the more their incredible benefits have become apparent. These products are made from natural elements already found in the skin, elements which happen to decline with age. Using these products as fillers produces a lasting positive benefit – simulating skin to rejuvenate itself without having to go through the pain and long recovery of plastic surgery. 

The Downfall of Traditional Facelifts 

A traditional facelift requires a substantial investment of money and involves a long recovery period, usually about 6 weeks. There are risks associated with anesthesia and undergoing surgery. We have all seen the pictures of celebrity facelifts gone bad, and you always run the risk of becoming disfigured or scarred in some way. When done properly, a facelift can have great results, but there is considerable pain and recovery time. 

Dermal fillers offer an obvious advantage over surgery in both the pain and recovery aspects, as well as the procedure itself only taking a short time. 

The Benefits of Dermal Fillers 

Natural dermal fillers are an excellent way to achieve rejuvenated youthful appearance – with virtually no pain and no downtime. In the aging process, skin loses elasticity and shape. The face begins to sag. Dermal fillers such as Juvederm are injectable gels made from hyaluronic acid, a hydrating substance that your body produces naturally. Injecting different types of these fillers under the skin immediately adds volume and reduces wrinkles and deep folds. 

Different types of fillers are formulated for each distinct purpose. Juvederm Voluma adds volume and contour to the cheeksreducing lines and giving the face an overall lift.  Juvederm Ultra adds volume to the lips and fills in the lines around the mouth. Juvederm Ultra Plus fills deep lines such as the nasolabial folds or marionette lines (the downturned lines from the corner of your mouth to the jawline). The results are not only instant, but can be quite dramatic 

Your face is the most visible part of you, and dermal fillers can help give you a more youthful and refreshed look.  Schedule a free consultation with experienced double-board certified physicians to achieve the health and beauty you desire – inside and out! (770) 721-6060. 

This article was originally featured in the February 2018 issue of Townelaker Magazine. To view an online version, please click here

January 24, 2018

Polycystic ovarian syndrome, commonly known as PCOS, affects nearly 1-in-10 women of childbearing age. PCOS is a hormonal imbalance where the ovaries or adrenal glands produce an excess of the male hormone, androgen. Fluid-filled can cysts grow on the ovaries due to the imbalance.

PCOS Symptoms

Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Irregular Menstrual Periods
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Cysts on One or Both Ovaries
  • Infertility
  • Weight Gain
  • Acne
  • Excess Facial or Body Hair
  • Patches of Thick Skin

Many of the above symptoms can be signs of something bigger. It’s important to schedule regular check-ups to maintain a overall healthy well-being. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you may be having in regards to your health.

If you experience severe pelvic discomfort or pain, seek medical attention immediately.

Causes of PCOS

While the exact cause of PCOS is still unknown, there are several key factors that are linked to the hormonal disorder.

  • Obesity – Polycystic ovarian syndrome is more common in women who are overweight or obese. Weight loss can have a positive impact on reducing symptoms.
  • Genetics – Women who have a close relative that has PCOS is more likely to be afflicted with the condition. Also some ethnic groups have higher risks of PCOS, including South Asians and Hispanics.
  • Lifestyle Factors – Sedentary Lifestyle, consumption of hypoglycemic index foods

Polycystic ovarian syndrome can be diagnosed through several methods. If you or your doctor thinks you may have PCOS, they will first perform a physical and pelvic exam. The next step would then be a pelvic ultrasound or laboratory tests.

Treatment for PCOS

Once it’s confirmed that PCOS is present, there are several treatment options available. Unfortunately, PCOS is not curable but with medical intervention, symptoms can easily be managed.

Depending on the severity of your symptoms and plans for children, you may be prescribed one or more of the following medications and lifestyle changes:

Exercise can help with PCOS symptoms

  • Exercise and low glycemic diet – Diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes can help control the symptoms associated with PCOS. If you are obese, weight loss is the preferred method of treatment. Talk to your doctor about what treatment options might be right for you.
  • Hormonal Based Birth Control. Birth control that contains both estrogen and progesterone are ideal for treating the majority of PCOS symptoms. Women who are not considering children in the near future can benefit from hormonal based birth control.
  • Anti-Androgen Medication. Although these medicines are not FDA-approved for all PCOS symptoms, they can be prescribed to reduce unwanted hair growth and acne.
  • Metformin. Over time, metformin can help lower insulin and androgen production. After several months, the medicine may help restart ovulation. Metformin has no effect on excess hair growth or acne symptoms.

Complications Associated with PCOS

Women who suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome are often at a higher risk for other health problems and potential pregnancy complications. Among others, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and certain cancers are all potential problems down the line. If you have PCOS, it is important to maintain regular doctors visits for preventative and diagnostic care.

Questions or concerns about your health? Schedule an appointment with one of our skilled healthcare providers today at our Woodstock and Canton locations.



If your doctor looked at your face discoloration that has been worrying you and quickly murmured the word, ‘melasma’, you have nothing to fear. It is not only treatable but oftentimes, it is temporary and in no way a health risk.

What is Melasma?

Melasma is a skin issue that most often affects women, but men can experience it too. Brown or brownish-gray blemishes, or inflamed, red patches (erythrosis pigmetosa faciei) begin to appear in a typically recognizable configuration and hue that physicians can easily identify in areas such as:

  • The jawline (mandibular pattern)
  • The cheek (lateral cheek pattern)
  • Nose, cheeks, upper lips and forehead (centrofacial pattern)
  • Nose and cheeks (malar pattern)
  • Upper arms and shoulders (acquired brachial cutaneous dyschromatosis)
  • The sides of the neck, usually after the age of 50 (poikiloderma of civatte)

What Causes Melasma? Melasma is a common skin condition during pregnancy

The cause is unclear, but there is speculation that hormonal factors, combined with heat, sun, and light exposure, may create an imbalance of cells in the body called melanocytes. These melanocytes normally create the skin pigmentation, melanin, which decides the uniform color and shade of your skin. When melasma occurs, it is thought that the confused melanocytes sense some sort of disruption and command the melanin to generate more pigment. This results in patches of off-color skin.

Who Gets Melasma?

Melasma is completely impartial. Anyone, male or female can get it, but it is more commonly found in:

  • Pregnant women: This form of melasma is known as ‘chloasma’ or ‘the mask of pregnancy’.
  • Women taking contraceptives: Because progestin and/or estrogen found in birth control pills fool the body into believing it is in a state of pregnancy, women taking these medications are also prone to chloasma.
  • Women taking hormonal replacement drugs or steroids
  • Women using intrauterine devices or other implants
  • Women using certain medications for cancer and other problems that may make them more vulnerable to solar rays (photosensitivity)
  • Women using essential oils or certain toiletries, hygiene, and cosmetic products such as soaps, deodorants etc. that may result in skin reactions (phototoxicity) when exposed to the sun’s rays.
  • Darker skin-toned women such as females of Middle Eastern, North African, Latin, Mediterranean, Asian, and Indian descent
  • Women whose backgrounds may include a family history of melasma
  • Women between the ages of 40 to 60 and beyond who have been regularly exposed to the sun.
  • Women suffering from hypothyroidism or other medical issues
  • Women suffering from stress.

How is Melasma Diagnosed?

Melasma is easily identifiable and usually only requires a visual diagnosis, especially if you are obviously pregnant, or if any of the abovementioned criteria apply to you. However, if there is any doubt on the part of your doctor, certain tests can be performed.

One is called a Wood’s lamp examination. This lamp emits a particular light that, when scanning a targeted mottled section, can enable your physician to evaluate the depth of skin affected by the suspected melasma. Treatment would then depend on those findings.

Once the number of skin layers affected by melasma is determined, the Wood lamp results are usually categorized into one of these three classifications:

  • Epidermal melasma which responds very well to treatment
  • Dermal melasma which can be difficult to treat
  • Mixed melasma which can be treated partially.

If the doctor is still not positive that you are presenting with melasma, an additional procedure of removing a small skin sample for further analysis (biopsy) may be required.

Is Melasma Dangerous?

Not at all. Melasma poses no physical health risks whatsoever. It is purely a visual cosmetic issue. Its impact is more emotional and psychological due to the fact that it is predominantly a facial discoloration that is always noticeable. Women with severe melasma often suffer from low self-image, social discomfort and even depression depending on the severity of the condition.

Is There Any Treatment For Melasma?

Absolutely! With pregnancy-related melasma, the condition often disappears by itself after giving birth. Drug modification or complete cessation of medication containing steroids, hormones, or other melasma triggers can eliminate the problem as well.

Minor cases can be addressed through home remedies made with items found in your pantry or spice rack that contain natural bleaching or exfoliating properties. Many recipes are available online and include such ingredients as:

  • Turmeric
  • Papaya
  • Oatmeal
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Almonds
  • Onion juice
  • Horseradish
  • Lemon juice
  • Sandalwood
  • Aloe Vera gel
  • Mulberry extract

Over the counter preparations can help too. Your doctor may prescribe oral medications or creams containing medicinal ingredients.

For more stubborn or resistant melasma, there are other, more aggressive options that your doctor may discuss with you such as:

  • Dermabrasion
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Topical glycolic or acid peels
  • Fractional lasers
  • Intense pulsed light (IPL)

Does Melasma Always Go Away Completely?

Unfortunately, not all the time. Usually, the gentler interventions mentioned are enough to eliminate the problem altogether or lighten it to a more acceptable level. Some cases of melasma, however, are difficult to correct. They may require several treatments, and even ongoing care to minimize large or extremely dark blemishes. Every case is different and only a specialist can determine your unique needs.

Is There Anything I Can do to Make Sure I Don’t Get Melasma?

There are definitely precautions you can take to lower your risk of getting melasma. You can:

  • Wear SPF 30 or higher sunscreen daily, reapplying it every 2 hours
  • Select make-up that also includes sunscreen
  • Avoid extreme exposure to the sun
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat, and make sure your neck, shoulders, and arms are covered or protected outdoors
  • Discuss all medications you are taking with your physician to see if any of them may make you more prone to developing melasma. Sometimes a simple adjustment can prevent the condition from occurring.
  • Avoid rough or abrasive cleansers and soaps
  • Apply moisturizer regularly if your skin is dry


If you have already been diagnosed with recurring melasma, or have been unable to eliminate all traces of it, there are now excellent camouflage cosmetics available that greatly reduce the appearance of darker discolorations. As well, if you are experiencing psychological repercussions that often accompany more severe cases. It may be to your benefit to join a support group that can help you share and possibly overcome these issues.

Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists Can Help You if You Have Melasma

At Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, our doctors can diagnose most cases of melasma. Honest, open, confidential dialogue regarding all your concerns allows us to give you the best possible attention and discuss treatment options you deserve.  We can help you. Melasma can be treated and controlled, and we are available to make that happen.

To book an appointment to discuss melasma with one of our doctors, call (770) 721-6060.

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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