Voted "Best OB-GYN" in Towne Lake, Woodstock and Canton Voted "Mom-Approved OBs" by Atlanta Parent magazine readers
July 12, 2017

Menstrual cramps have many treatments and potential remedies.Women have been debating for centuries on the best ways to treat their period cramps. Fortunately, you no longer have to rely on ‘old-wives-tales’ for dealing with pain associated with cramps. Instead, you can make informed decisions based on medical evidence.

While every woman’s body responds differently to each of the methods below, you’re certain to find at least one that works for you. Once you do, stick with it and take control over your life again.

Dull throbbing pain, sharp pains that take your breath away or even nausea and radiating lower back pain can be resolved by simple changes to your routine.

Lifestyle Changes to Treat Period Cramps

Making proper lifestyle changes can help lessen the pain associated with menstrual cramps. Adding diet and exercise to your daily routine is one of the best ways to alleviate pain and stress that comes with your monthly cycle.

Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to incorporate lifestyle changes into your routine so that you’ll be able to get through your period with reduced cramping.

Foods for Cramps

Some of the best foods to help treat cramps due to PMS are loaded with healthy fats and lots of water. Before and during your period, your uterus begins to contract and prepare to dispel its lining. During this time you’ll experience cramping but there are certain dietary changes you can determine the level of pain you feel.

When shopping for foods that will lessen the severity of your menstrual cramps, try some that contain higher levels of the following:

  • Vitamin E
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • Vitamin B-1 (thiamine)
  • Vitamin B-6
  • Magnesium

Let’s go over a few specific foods that are ideal for eating during PMS and throughout your menstruation that keeps you feeling as good as possible. Foods that are low-fat and high-fiber are going to be your best bet.

  • Whole grains
  • Lentils and beans
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Dark leafy vegetables
  • And of course, don’t forget to load up on lots of water!

Remember, avoiding alcohol and tobacco during your period is another great way to reduce hurting from cramps. Comfort foods that contain high levels of salt or fat can also have adverse effects on cramps.

Exercises for Cramps

Some studies have shown that physical activity can combat hormone-like substances that can cause cramps. Many exercises can also help alleviate muscle tension and reduce inflammation which can lessen the severity of your period cramps.

Any exercises that deal specifically with your ‘core’ are ideal for stretching and relieving painful cramps. For example, there are many yoga poses that don’t have to be strenuous to be effective.

Physical activity also releases endorphins that make you feel good overall. So, why not? Take a spin class or walk to work during your period.

Other Home Remedies for Menstrual Cramps

There are several things you can do at home before seeing a doctor to get your menstrual cramps under control and take your life back. Today we’ll go over a few traditional methods, along with a couple alternative ways to reduce pain associated with cramps.

  • Over the counter medicine. Taking anti-inflammatory pills or medication designed to reduce pain such as Ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin), Aspirin (Tylenol), or Naproxen (Aleve) can combat your PMS symptoms.
  • Apply heat. Heat works in several ways to reduce your pain. It relieves muscle tension and relaxes your entire body. Take a long, hot bath, or apply a heating pad/patch to your lower abdomen for optimal results. Many experts agree that heat may be just as effective for treatment of cramps as over the counter medication.
  • Elevate legs. Lay on your back or side with a pillow supporting and elevating your legs from the knee up.
  • Try pads instead of tampons. During the most painful times of your menstrual period, you may want to consider using a pad as opposed to a tampon to prevent additional pressure.
  • Acupuncture or acupressure. Many women swear by these treatments for their period cramps. Always, consult an expert when attempting alternative treatments for cramps such as these.

It’s important to remember, there’s no one way to treat cramps for every woman. Find the treatment that works for you and stick to it!

When to See a Doctor for Your Cramps

While most women won’t need to see a doctor for their cramps, there are several instances that require attention. For example, if your period cramps are so unbearable that they are affecting your daily life, it may be time to speak with your doctor.

Generally, lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise or over the counter medicine provide enough relief that you will never need to see your OB/GYN. However, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible if you’re experiencing any of the following issues.

  • Cramps that last longer than your period.
  • Menstrual cramps that take over your life.
  • Cramps that become progressively worse.
  • Home remedies are having no effect on the severity of cramps.
  • Women over the age of 25 who recently started to have severe cramps due to period.

Your doctor may find that the cramps you have are related to an underlying disorder. In most cases, they will offer you a prescription drug for pain, or a hormonal birth control to reduce symptoms. However, for severe problems, surgery may even be required to correct the issue.

Final Thoughts

Experiencing monthly cramps that take over your life isn’t something that you should have to deal with. Use some of the above home remedies to alleviate stress and pain due to cramps and take back your life.

If you’re concerned about the severity of your cramps before or during your period, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our staff is more than happy to answer any questions you may have and schedule an appointment with your OB-GYN.

July 11, 2017

It is usually safe for a couple to have sex during pregnancy.It’s completely normal to be worried about protecting the health and safety of your developing baby. Many couples, especially first-time parents, worry about how pursuing intimacy in their relationship will affect the little one growing inside mama.

Which brings us to the age-old question. Is sex safe during pregnancy?

The simple answer is yes, for normal pregnancies sex while your pregnant is fine. However, there are a few things you should be aware of before jumping into the sack.

Change in Your Libido

While some women crave sex during pregnancy, it’s the last thing on other women’s minds. Pregnancy can affect your body in ways you’d never expect. So, based on your hormonal functions, you may not be in the mood.

Some things that can have an effect on your libido early on during pregnancy include:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Breast tendency

Later in your pregnancy, things such as weight gain, and back pain can dampen your enthusiasm for sexual intercourse.

Keep in mind, your partner can be affected by your pregnancy as well. Their desires may be toned down to fatigue, or simply anxious about hurting the baby during intercourse.

When is Sex Safe During Pregnancy?

For the most part, sex during pregnancy is completely safe for everyone involved. Your developing baby is protected by both the amniotic fluid in your uterus and the strong muscles of the uterus itself.

Sexual activity won’t affect the baby in the least.

You may be wondering about alternative forms of sex as well. While some alternative sexual activities are completely safe for both you and baby, others might be more detrimental to your health.

  • Oral Sex. When receiving oral, make sure your partner doesn’t blow air into your vagina. In some rare instances, doing so can block a blood vessel (air embolism) which can be harmful to both mother and baby.
  • Anal Sex. Vaginal sex should be avoided directly after anal sex to prevent infection-causing bacteria from spreading from the rectum to the vagina. Occasionally, pregnant women may find anal sex uncomfortable due to pregnancy-related hemorrhoids.

If you are pregnant and plan to have sex with someone you are not in a monogamous relationship with, using condoms is recommended to protect against possible transmission of STDs.

Any sexual position that you feel comfortable is completely safe. However, towards the second trimester, you’ll likely feel more comfortable in positions that are not directly putting pressure on your back.

When is Abstinence Recommended?

During your final weeks of pregnancy, your doctor may suggest abstaining from sex. Both female orgasms and semen can stimulate contractions. This is due to the release of a chemical called prostaglandins which is said to trigger contractions when you’re close to your due date late in the third trimester.

If you have a history of pre-term labor or have any of the following conditions your doctor will likely recommend practicing abstinence during the remainder of your pregnancy.

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Leaking amniotic fluid
  • Carrying multiples
  • Placenta is covering (partially or completely) the cervical opening

Sex with a partner that has been diagnosed with an STD or STI should be avoided due to possible risk of your or your baby contracting the STD. At the very least, it’s important to use protection as always when any sexual activity with a person that has been diagnosed with any STD.

Final Thoughts

While usually, sex is safe during pregnancy. However, there are certain conditions that may require abstinence. Experiment with a mixture of positions throughout your pregnancy that offer the most support and comfort during sexual activities.

Don’t hesitate to give us a call to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Our caring staff is always available to answer any questions or concerns via phone regarding sexual intercourse during your pregnancy as well.

July 10, 2017

The first gynecology appointment is important for teenage girls.Visiting the gynecologist is an important part of the aging process for young women. Your doctor will give you vital information on how to stay as healthy as possible as well as giving you an overall checkup.

There are three main reasons that parents should take their young girls to a gynecologist.

  • Information: During your visit, you’ll learn about your body and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle whether you’re sexually active or not.
  • Prevention: Your doctor will look for signs of underlying issues that could affect you later in life.
  • Treatment: If you’re experiencing problems with your menstrual cycle, pain, or reproductive problems, your OB-GYN can look into why the problem is occurring and find a treatment.

A gynecology appointment can be nerve-racking for young girls who don’t know exactly what to expect. Being nervous is completely normal. However, once your exam is over, you’ll likely be wondering what all the fuss was about.

When Should You Schedule Your First Appointment?

Typically, a first appointment is recommended by OB-GYNs for girls between the ages of 13 and 15. This gives the doctor plenty of time to answer questions regarding sexual health, menstruation, and other concerns confidentially. (For young girls under the age of 17, we need a referral from a pediatrician.)

What to Expect

Doctor explaining to a teen what to expect from her first GYN appointment.At the beginning of your first gynecology exam, your doctor will sit down with you and just talk. It’s important to be open and honest when speaking to your OB-GYN so that they can give you the best medical care possible.

They will ask you questions regarding your health. Among others, some items you can expect to be brought up include:

  • Your menstrual cycle
  • Sexual activity (Including oral, vaginal, and anal sex)
  • Acne
  • Weight
  • Sexuality
  • Birth control
  • STIs (Sexually transmitted infections)
  • Emotional ups and downs

If you’re concerned about confidentiality, ask your doctor beforehand. In most cases, everything you disclose can be kept between you and your doctor.

Your first gynecology appointment will consist primarily of two exams. Both are important to your overall health.

Unless your OB-GYN feels it is vital, a pelvic exam will not be part of your first gynecology exam. Generally, pelvic exams are recommended starting at the age of 21.

Remember, if you feel uncomfortable during any portion of your gynecological visit, you can ask for a nurse or family member to be present as well.

General Physical Exam

During the general physical portion of your visit, your OB-GYN will give you a routine checkup-similar to what any doctor would. This part of the exam is designed to catch any general health problems that can easily be corrected. Doing so, some of the things your doctor will record include:

  • height
  • weight
  • blood pressure

The general physical exam is usually performed before the external genital exam. It allows the patient to become more comfortable with the doctor so they can be prepared for the next portion.

External Genital Exam

Although many young women stress about this part of the exam, it usually only lasts a few minutes. Not only does this part your first gynecology appointment let your doctor know how you’re physically doing, but it gives you much-needed knowledge about your own body.

Your OB-GYN will examine your vulva to ensure your overall health is in order. They may offer you a mirror so you can see it as well. You’ll learn the names of different parts of your body and where they are located.

Again, if you don’t feel comfortable doing this portion of the exam alone, you’re free to ask for a nurse or family member to be present.

Vaccinations You May Receive

Your doctor may ask you (or your parents) if you’ve been vaccinated or immunized to protect against certain diseases.

The following vaccinations are given on a routine basis to young women ranging in age from 11-18 and may be administered during your gynecologic exam.

  • Tetanus–diphtheria–pertussis (Tdap) booster
  • Human papillomavirus vaccine
  • Meningococcal vaccine
  • Influenza vaccine (yearly)

In addition to routine vaccines, special vaccines may be given to young women who are at an increased risk for certain diseases. These include:

  • Hepatitis A virus vaccine
  • Pneumococcal vaccine

What to Talk About During Your Appointment

Remember that your appointment gives you a  safe place to talk about anything and everything regarding both your physical and emotional state. Use this opportunity to speak confidentially to your OB-GYN for accurate answers.

Before going to your appointment, think of a list of questions you’d like to ask. Your doctor has heard it all, so if something is concerning you, don’t let your embarrassment or nervousness get in the way of your well-being.

Final Thoughts

Parents and young women should go into appointments with as much knowledge as possible. Your first gynecology appointment doesn’t have to be scary if you know what to expect.

The thought of a gynecologic exam can seem weird or uncomfortable at first but it’s a normal part of taking care of yourself as a woman.

Call to schedule an appointment with an OB-GYN today and one of our helpful staff members will be happy to assist you. Feel free to ask any questions regarding your first visitation beforehand so you can be as prepared as possible.

June 22, 2017

cwhs officePatients travel from across the country to Canton, GA, in north metro Atlanta to have surgery with Dr. Michael Litrel at Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists.

We are committed to ensuring your experience with us is safe, comfortable and convenient so we have provided the following information to assist out of town patients with transportation, accommodation and what you can expect before and after your surgery. And because you may have some downtime between your pre-op appointment and your surgery, we’ve also included links to stores and activities in the Canton area.

Please follow the instructions to prepare for your surgery with Dr. Litrel if you live outside the Canton/Atlanta area.

Contact Our Office
The first step for out of town patients is to contact our office to schedule a phone consultation with Dr. Litrel. If you have photos to provide for the consultation, you’ll be given a secure designated e-mail address to send the photos so that Dr. Litrel can review and understand your surgical needs.

Following your consultation, you’ll be contacted by our scheduling team to set up a preoperative examination appointment and your surgical date. 

Traveling to Canton
If you are flying to Atlanta, we recommend that you fly into Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, located about one hour from our Canton office. Once you arrive, you may choose from several transportation options. We have provided helpful links for you below.

Car Rental
Shuttle / Limo Services
Uber / Lyft

hampton-inn-and-holiday-inn-photosYour Accommodations
While staying in Canton, we recommend Hampton Inn or the Holiday Express Inn, where you will receive a reduced rate on your room during your stay, as a patient of Cherokee Women’s Health. It’s conveniently located off I-575 and within just three miles of our office, Northside Hospital Cherokee, several restaurants, shopping areas and more.

Hampton Inn
710 Transit Avenue
Canton, GA 30114

Holiday Inn Express
713 Transit Ave
Canton, GA 30114

Your Pre-Op Appointment
Your pre-op appointment will typically take place the day before your surgery. During this appointment, Dr. Litrel will examine you, explain again what to expect during your surgery, discuss what your recovery will be like, and answer any questions you may have. Rest assured, you will be able to contact Dr. Litrel with any issues or questions before you arrive – and after you depart.

Checking Into Your Hotel After Your Pre-Op Appointment
The check-in time at both Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express is 3 pm. However, as a patient of Cherokee Women’s, they may be able to accommodate an earlier check-in. If desired, please give them a call.

When checking in, be sure to tell them that you are a patient of Cherokee Women’s and that you will be receiving surgery at either our office or at Northside Hospital Cherokee to ensure you receive the reduced rate.

If you’re unable to check-in immediately after your pre-op appointment, we’ve provided several links to restaurants, shopping and other nearby activities below.

After Your Surgery
We want you to be as comfortable as possible so after your surgery, you will return to your room where you can rest in private. If you have arrived for your surgery alone, a Medical Assistant will provide transport from our office to the hotel. That evening, our nurse will come by to check on you. The following morning, Dr. Litrel and his medical assistant will do a post-op visit to ensure everything is going well and answer any additional questions or concerns you might have.

Canton Restaurants, Shops and Activities
You may want to get out and explore during your downtime so we’ve provided the following list for your convenience.

A wide range of restaurants are located within a mile or two of your hotel. For upscale dining, Downtown Woodstock is just ten minutes away, featuring award winning restaurants such as Century House, Vingenzo’s and Salt Factory Pub. If you prefer to stay even closer to your home away from home, Cracker Barrel is a one-minute walk from the hotel.

outlet-shoppes at atlanta photoShopping – Target, Kohl’s, Belk and Publix are just a few of the stores that are minutes away from Hampton Inn. The Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta is a short 10-minute drive south on I-575, and Downtown Woodstock just beyond offers a pedestrian-friendly downtown district. There you’ll find unique galleries and shops nestled among outstanding restaurants, bars and eateries.

Parks and Attractions
Greenprints Trail in downtown Woodstock begins in Woodstock’s Sculpture Garden at Elm Street and takes you through tree-lined green space through “Woofstock” Dog Park and beyond to the scenic local Noonday Creek. Elm Street Cultural Arts Village offers award-winning musicals, concerts and local improv talent.

Heritage Park has beautiful, open walking trails and is located just past our office, next to the YMCA.

Tanglewood Farm is a 10-acre petting zoo with more than 150 rare, miniature and heritage breed farm animals in a Wild West Town setting.

Gibbs Garden is 220 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens surrounded by forest, ponds, streams, waterfalls and bridge crossings. It is located about 30 minutes from Hampton Inn in nearby Ball Ground.gibbs-gardens photo

For more activities and information about Canton and the surrounding areas, visit Georgia Tourism and Travel.

Thank you again for choosing Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists. Please call us at 770.720.7733 to let us know if there is anything further that we can assist you with.

woman eating healthy before getting pregnantYou’re considering getting pregnant! Mentally, you’re beginning to commit to the idea, so one of the first few questions you might ask yourself is, “What can I do before getting pregnant? How can I be sure my baby will be healthy? Is there anything I can do ahead of time to make sure everything goes right?”

While the physical part of creating new life is pretty simple to comprehend, but many women don’t actually consider that there are ways to prepare their bodies for reproduction well ahead of time. Even if you’re not ready to conceive right away, there’s lots you can do before getting pregnant, and most of it is pretty basic.

When you leased your very first apartment, you wanted everything to be just right. Before you even moved in, you eagerly imagined how you would decorate it. You carefully selected the best furniture and matching accessories you could afford. You thought of where you would put your bed and bought food for the refrigerator and pantry. Everything was positioned just right for the new home you were to live in.

When you get pregnant, your body is going to be your baby’s ’apartment’ for approximately the next 280 days. Your womb (uterus) will be its bedroom, the amniotic sac will be its bed and the umbilical cord will be its fridge and pantry. Why not prepare your body to give your child the best possible home until its first ‘lease’ is up? There are steps you can take to make that happen.

Long before the actual union of sperm with egg, there are numerous measures you can take to optimally prepare your body. You can make gradual, positive lifestyle changes in the months preceding pregnancy. Some of these include:

Diet: If you haven’t done so yet, begin incorporating more fruits, fiber, and vegetables into your daily meals. Cut out excess fat, sugar, and caffeine. Eat junk food in moderation. Eliminate as many additives and preservatives as possible from your food by carefully reading labels and avoiding those with a long list of ingredients that you need a Hubble telescope to read or a scientific dictionary to translate.

• Exercise: Getting into the habit of walking even a block or two regularly can strengthen bone, muscle, circulation, tissue, blood and organ function, benefiting not only your own overall health but that of your future baby as well.

• Lose weight: If you are overweight, slowly shedding those extra pounds and achieving your ideal weight during the months before conceiving ensures a much better chance of becoming pregnant and carrying full term. The same holds true if you are underweight and need to bulk up a little. A healthier weight will also allow for an easier labor and delivery.

• Eliminate toxins: It’s no secret that smoking is dangerous to both you and those around you, so it stands to reason that it can be disastrous to the fetus growing inside you as well, Smoking while pregnant can deprive the fetus of oxygen, compromise heart rate, and result in premature birth or low birth weight. It can also increase the chances of miscarriage, birth defects, and stillbirth. Studies show there is a higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in babies whose mothers smoked. Even exposure to secondhand smoke can have an adverse effect on your baby. Quitting before conception should be one of your top priorities. This also applies to excessive alcohol intake and any recreational drug use. Prescribed or over the counter medications should be discussed with our doctors before you become pregnant.

• Birth control: Ovulation can be calculated easier when you have had at least one normal menstrual cycle before getting pregnant. Though it’s not absolutely necessary to stop taking birth control months before you plan to get pregnant, this is something that should be discussed at your preconception counseling session with us, especially if you are currently using a long-lasting form of birth control, such as progestin, which may inhibit fertility for several months.

• Preconception counseling: Preconception counseling can evaluate, test for, diagnose, and determine any problems that may be a setback to a full, healthy and safe pregnancy for both mother and child. Your preconception counseling session with us will delve into a much more thorough list of steps you can take to make your future pregnancy as safe, smooth and healthy as possible. Ideally, it is best to book an appointment with us to discuss your plans approximately three months before you wish to conceive. At Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, we are committed to giving you the best possible preconception care available to women today in order to ensure the optimum health of both you and the baby you are planning to have.

These are only several of the many things you can do before you decide to get pregnant. Our comprehensive staff includes Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgeons (FPMRS), urologists, nutritionists, OB-GYNs, physical therapists and midwives. Their combined decades of experience and expertise can guide you through the preconception process, pinpointing any problems that may inhibit or be detrimental to your pregnancy. They can correct any physical abnormalities that may be hindering the process as well. Your reproductive health and the wellness of your future baby is our primary concern. No question is too trivial or embarrassing, and you will be treated with the utmost respect and confidentiality.

To book an appointment, please call our clinic at 770.720.7733.

June 12, 2017

Genital herpes is an STI that can be contracted by any sexually active person. Herpes is very common throughout the United States. In fact, nearly 1 in 6 people ranging in age from 14-49 have genital herpes.

It can be passed from one partner to another through oral, vaginal, or anal sex. You, or your partner, may not even be aware that the herpes strain is being transmitted.

Although both men and women are at risk for STI, women are at a much higher risk. This is because the virus is more easily sexually transmitted from men to women than women to men.

There are two types of herpes; HSV1 (Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1) and HSV2 (Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2). Each spreads through skin to skin contact, however, only HSV1 known to cause cold sores or fever blisters as well.

Herpes is highly contagious and can be transferred to one partner from another through the fluids excreted from a blister or sore. Even if you are not showing signs of an outbreak, herpes can still be passed from partner to partner through the skin.

Genital Herpes Symptoms

Most people don’t know they have genital herpes. Symptoms can be minor or even non-existent if you have herpes.

The most commonly known symptoms or genital herpes include painful blisters or sores around the genitals or anus. The can appear as a single sore or be clustered together.

Often, genital herpes goes undetected. Many people mistake HSV2 for other minor skin conditions such as a pimple or ingrown hair.

While there are not always clear signs that you may have herpes, there are symptoms associated with genital herpes that you should be aware of besides outbreaks. Take a look at some of these lesser-known signs that you could have herpes.

  • Flu-like symptoms (especially during the first outbreak)
  • Smelly discharge
  • Genital dryness or itchiness
  • Burning when urinating
  • Bleeding in between periods

If you or your partner have any of the above symptoms, you should consider making an appointment with your healthcare provider.

Diagnosing Genital Herpes

Often, your healthcare provider will be able to diagnose you just by looking at the affected area. Once you are suspected of having genital herpes, your doctor will take a sample and test fluid from a sore.

Blood tests can also be performed to determine if you have genital herpes and are showing no signs. If you suspect you or your partner have contracted the herpes virus, ask your doctor to test you as soon as possible to prevent further spreading.

Treatment for Genital Herpes

There is no cure for genital herpes. However, there are ways to manage the virus. If you are diagnosed with genital herpes, your doctor may provide you with daily medication. This medication can help prevent and shorten outbreaks.

In the early stages of herpes, you may have up to 4 or 5 outbreaks a year. Generally, you’ll experience more outbreaks early on. Even though herpes is something you will need to deal with your whole life, outbreaks should become less often over time.

Prevent Getting Genital Herpes

While genital herpes does not usually cause serious health problems, it is still important to take proper safety precautions when having oral, vaginal, or anal intercourse.

Herpes can be passed from person to person without even knowing it, which is why it’s especially important to take precautions against possible transmission.

So, what can you do?

  1. Abstain from sex. Abstaining from sexual contact is one of the best ways to prevent contracting genital herpes and other STIs.
  2. Commit to a monogamous relationship. Because genital herpes can go undetected, you may want to consider scheduling a doctor’s visit for both you and your partner.
  3. Use condoms correctly. Although, not 100% effective, condoms can prevent spreading of genital herpes in some cases. Be aware, genital herpes can still be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact while having intercourse.

Prevent Transmitting Genital Herpes

If you or your partner have genital herpes, you should talk to your doctor about preventive measures to ensure you do not infect your partner.

Because genital herpes is so contagious, you should avoid touching sores or blisters. Otherwise, you may run the risk of infecting other parts of your body. Always, wash hands thoroughly if you come in contact with a sore.

For those who have multiple outbreaks a year, your doctor may prescribe a medication called ‘daily suppressive therapy’ which can lower the risk of your partner getting genital herpes.

It’s always important to maintain open communication with your sexual partner(s) about any STIs that you may have and agree on options moving forward.

Final Thoughts

Knowing your body is the first step in preventing or transmitting genital herpes. If you or your partner notice any symptoms such as unusual sores, you should both schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Getting tested regularly along with being open and honest with your healthcare provider is essential to maintaining a healthy sexual lifestyle

Don’t hesitate to give us a call with any concerns regarding genital herpes or other STIs. We’d be happy to confidentially answer any questions you may have or schedule an appointment with your doctor.

June 3, 2017

Banking umbilical cord blood can benefit children as they grow.Expectant parents can be overwhelmed with everything that goes into preparing for a new child. It’s important to understand your options ahead of time. Donating cord blood can be easily achieved and potentially help others.

What is Cord Blood?

Cord blood is simply the left inside the umbilical cord and placenta after your baby is born. Cord blood contains hematopoietic stem cells which are important in treating certain diseases. Unlike most other cells in the body, hematopoietic stem cells have the ability to mature into different types of blood cells within the body.

Benefits of Blood Cord Banking

There are numerous reasons expectant parents may want to choose to collect and store cord blood. Both bone marrow and cord blood have benefits, namely the potential to contain life-saving hematopoietic stem cells.

Cord blood transplants have helped over 30,000 people with the correction of inborn errors such as metabolism, hematopoietic malignancies and genetic disorders both in the blood and immune system.

Currently, it is also being studied for regenerative medicine and infectious diseases.

Today we’ll take a look at a few reasons cord blood is more advantageous than receiving hematopoietic stem cells than from bone marrow.

  • More matches available. Stem cells from cord blood are more versatile and can be given to a wider range of people than those that come from bone marrow.
  • Can be stored. Unlike bone marrow that needs to be used right away, cord blood can be frozen and store for future use.
  • Helps to strengthen the immune system. Cord blood has been shown to strengthen the immune system for patients going through cancer treatment. Bone marrow has not.
  • Less painful for the donor. Donating cord blood is less risky and less painful than donating bone marrow.
  • Less chance of rejection. Bone marrow has a larger chance of being rejected by the recipient than cord blood.

What Should You Consider Before Donating?

There are two types of facilities that can collect and store umbilical cord blood; public and private. When considering blood cord banking, talk to your OB/GYN or midwife about the differences between the two so you can make an informed decision.

Both public and private blood banks are required to follow the same rigorous screenings and infectious disease testing meeting the standards of the U.S. Food and Drug administration.

Here are some of the differences between each to give you an idea of what might be right for you.

Public Cord Blood Banks

The first public cord blood bank was established in 1991, however, now there are now many spread throughout the US that collect and store cord blood free of charge. Many are funded through government grants, public donations, and compensation for cord units used for transplant.

Public blood banks primarily store blood for use for anyone; related or not. However, if you have a family member who has a disease that could potentially be treated with a transplant, some public banks will store that blood for free as a directed donation.

Because ethnic minorities are not as well represented in cord blood banks, donating to one can increase the chance of all ethnic groups finding a match.

Private Cord Blood Banks

Private cord blood banks were not established until 2005 and are widely marketed for ‘biological insurance.’ Private or family banks are funded through processing and annual storage fees. Before you go into labor, you’ll be asked to sign a contract for the collection, processing, and storage.

If you plan to store your cord blood for your baby later in life or directed donation for a family member or sibling, you may want to think about a private bank.

It should be noted, however, that the scientific evidence is lacking when it comes to cord blood helping the same individual. In fact, stored blood cannot be used to treat the same person in many instances because most conditions already exist in his or her own cells which is why biological insurance is often not recommended.

How Does Blood Cord Banking Work?

Once you’ve chosen whether you’d like to donate to a public or private blood bank, you’ll need to let your doctor know as soon as possible. Collecting cord blood is not routine obstetric care or medically indicated.

Many hospitals have collection kits on-hand but on occasion, it can take up to 6 weeks for the hospital to receive one from the bank if an order needs to be placed.

Blood can be collected before or after the placenta is removed. The fresher the blood is the better. Cord blood is collected by puncturing the umbilical vein with a needle and gravity fed to a bag. Even with 40mL of blood needed to ensure there are enough blood cells for transplantation, the process generally takes around 10 minutes.

After blood is collected it will be ‘typed’ and tracked for quick delivery the moment someone is in need of it.

Keep in mind, there are some circumstances during labor or delivery that can prevent the collection of enough cord blood.

Your OB/GYN will not compromise the obstetric or neonatal care to obtain cord blood. Nor should the collection of cord blood alter the routine practice or timing of the umbilical cord clamping.

Final Thoughts

Talk to your doctor to learn more about understanding your options when it comes to donating cord blood. Blood cord banking is not a routine procedure in obstetric or neonatal care, so it’s imperative that you let your OB/GYN know before you go into labor if you decide to donate.

Don’t hesitate to call with any further questions you may have or schedule an appointment regarding blood cord banking. Education is key, and our staff is always happy to help provide knowledgeable advice.

June 2, 2017

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. Nearly all sexually active people contract it. If fact, nearly 79-million people are estimated to be currently infected. Each year, another 18-million people will be diagnosed with it. So, what is it?

HPV is a treatable STI that many sexually active adults encounter.HPV or Human Papillomavirus has over 100 unique types, many of which have no symptoms. These types are broken down into ‘low-risk’ and ‘high-risk.’ High-risk types of HPV usually have little to no signs and can cause serious health risks such as cancer.

Signs and Symptoms of HPV

Almost all sexually active people get HPV sometime in their lifetime. It is most commonly passed from partner to partner during vaginal or anal sex. However, it may be transferred during oral sex or intimate skin-to-skin conduct as well.

In many cases, certain types of the Human Papillomavirus will go away on its own. Other high-risk types may show zero symptoms and can lead to serious health issues such as cancer.

If you or your partner are experiencing any of the following symptoms for low-risk types of HPV, you should consider scheduling an appointment with your healthcare provider.

  • Genital Warts-Soft, fleshy bumps
  • Irritation or discomfort
  • Itching or swelling
  • Bleeding with intercourse

You should be aware that HPV can be passed from one partner to another even when there are no signs of symptoms. If you suspect you or your partner have HPV, preventive measures are recommended.

How is HPV Diagnosed?

Most people that have a high-risk type of HPV don’t even know they have it. Depending on the type very little signs are shown in the beginning stages. The longer the virus stays in your body, the bigger the chance that you’ll be at risk of developing health problems.

It is especially important to have regularly scheduled Pap Smears before real damage to your health can be done. Pap Smears do not directly test for HPV, however, they can detect abnormal cells in your cervix, that are often caused by HPV.

If your doctor diagnoses you with HPV, they may request that you get tested more regularly to ensure you are healthy and cancer free. Having HPV and getting cancer don’t always go hand in hand but it does put you at a higher risk for getting cancer down the line.

Being pro-active in treating an occurrence of HPV and regularly scheduling follow-up screenings and appointments with your OB/GYN can prevent serious health problems in your future.

Preventive Measures for HPV

The safest and most effective way of preventing HPV is a vaccine. Vaccines such as Gardasil can protect women from getting HPV by helping prevent the transmission of certain types of HPV.

Vaccines are more effective when given prior to exposure of Human Papillomavirus or sexual activity. HPV vaccines are recommended for both boys and girls starting at around the age of 11 or 12. A second dosage approximately 6 months to a year later is ideal.

Gardasil or other forms of HPV vaccination should be administered to young women throughout the age of 26 and in young men throughout the age of 21.

Even if you aren’t vaccinated, there are ways that sexually active people can lower their risk for contracting HPV or passing it to their partner.

  • Use Latex Condoms. While condoms are not 100% effective, they can help limit skin-to-skin contact when used properly.
  • Commit to Monogamous Sex. You are less likely to contract HPV if you and your partner are in a single partner relationship.
  • Abstain from Sex. If you’ve recently be diagnosed with HPV, talk to your doctor about recommended abstinence.

Final Thoughts

Women who are concerned they may have or be at risk for contracting HPV should consult their doctor. Regular Pap Smears are important in catching HPV early and preventing it from causing more serious health issues.

If you’ve already been diagnosed with HPV, keep an open dialog with your health care provider. Together you can come up with a plan to be pro-active in treating it and screening for cancer in the future.

May 30, 2017

You asked, we answered!

Cherokee Women's Health has created a medical weight loss program specifically for women.Cherokee Women’s Health is now offering a medically based weight loss program that actually gets results. Not only will we put you on the right path to shedding pounds with simple lifestyle changes, but we’ll give you the skill set you need to keep weight off for good.

How Medical Weight Loss Works

We base your weight loss on YOUR needs so you can have a weight loss program tailored just for you. Our program is designed specifically for women by our MDs who specialize in women’s health.  Because of their specialty, they are well equipped to identify specific hormone issues that may make losing weight more difficult.

If you’re ready to commit to a lifestyle change that lets you eat your favorite foods while still giving you results, this might be the program for you. We’ll walk you through the process step-by-step to set you up for success.

Lifestyle Programs Tailored for YOU!

Our lifestyle based program focuses on the simple concept of learning the ratio of calories your body burns to portions of your favorite food, rather than cutting out the meals you love completely. We also give you the knowledge you need to maintain your weight loss and break the cycle of harmful yo-yo diets.

Weight loss is personal thing. Each person has their own reasons “WHY”, but the health benefits are universal.

  • Lowers the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
  • Lowers the Risk of Diabetes
  • Increase Energy Levels

We offer several weight loss packages designed around your needs to help you get the best results and achieve a life-long change.

Our program give you the knowledge, support, accountability and medical supervision to achieve your weight loss goal to better help you maintain your goal weight for life.

What does our program offer?

  • Weekly Fat Fighting Injections
  • Natural appetite suppressants or FDA approved appetite suppressant
  • Pharmaceutical Grade Dietary Supplements
  • HCG therapy
  • Body Fat Analysis
  • Dietary and Exercise Support and Counseling

Call Today to Schedule Your Free Weight Loss Consultation! 770-720-7733

hCG has not been demonstrated to be effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity. There is no substantial evidence that it increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or “normal” distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets.
May 23, 2017
Dr. Kawami Clay

Dr. Clay

Dr. Kawami Clay will join the CWHS team this summer. Learn more about what inspired her to become an OB-GYN and what she enjoys most about working with her patients.

Dr. Clay was born and raised in Mississippi and came to Georgia for her undergraduate and graduate degrees. After spending about eight years in Georgia, and completing her residency during that time, she moved back to Mississippi to spend time with family. She soon realized that she missed Georgia, and eventually moved back to the area.

When did you know you wanted to practice medicine or did you always know you wanted to be a doctor?

My grandmother was a diabetic and I remember being 7 years old and having to give her insulin injections. That’s when I knew that I wanted to practice medicine. I liked knowing that I helped her and she felt better. When I was in high school, I shadowed my uncle, who was an OB-GYN, for a few years during the summer.  Those summer confirmed that I wanted to treat women and provide them with excellent healthcare. My Uncle was a great mentor to me during this time. I was always around him, and the knowledge kind of came to me secondhand.

How is your work different from what you envisioned when you were younger? How is it the same?

I’m not sure if it’s different, really. It’s definitely the same in that I’m helping patients every day, providing care that will make them feel better, make their situation better, and resolve their health issues. At the same time, I get a warm fuzzy feeling knowing I’m helping them.

What was it about obstetrics and gynecology that interested you?

I was interested in working with women and providing them good health care. I knew early on from working with my Uncle that I wanted to focus specifically on women’s health. On the side of obstetrics, delivering babies is always a plus. It’s such a happy time, and being a part of that always makes me feel good about my work.

Dr. Clay with Dr. HaleyAre there any specific areas within OB/GYN that you specialize in or that interest you?

I am especially interested in minimally invasive surgery, also referred to as Laparoscopic Surgery. Laparoscopic surgery means smaller incisions and quicker recoveries for our patients.

What do you enjoy most about working with your patients?

I enjoy the relationships with the patients. When you really get to know a patient, for example, when you start taking care of them during their pregnancy, you develop a special relationship that continues to grow over time. Then, after the baby comes, they come back to see you (for an annual checkup, or to solve a problem) and you’ve gotten to know them as a person. That relationship is so important to allow patients to open up and tell you what’s really going on, like talking to an old friend. It provides better healthcare when the physician and patient can have an honest dialogue about the issues so they can solve them together.

What is your patient philosophy of care?

I have a sister; a mother. I have girlfriends. My patient philosophy is when I walk into a patient room or operating room, I try to treat every patient as a family member. Every patient deserves respect and great health care, and when I encounter a patient, I try to give it to them as I would my sister, or my mother, or one of my very close friends.

What is the best way anyone could compliment you about your work?

I am very bad about not letting things go. My sister will call me and say, “You’re still at work? You need to go home!” It’s a compliment, really; other people recognize I’m working hard, but I have a tendency to keep working and not stop. It’s hard when you relate to and care about your patients, you find yourself really going the extra mile for each and every one to make sure they’re getting the best care.

You came back to Georgia after spending time in Mississippi after graduating. What brought you back?

I lived in Georgia for four years during my undergraduate and four years during residency, and had some of my most memorable experiences here. I missed the arts and culture, festivals, sports and history and heritage of the area.

Dr. Clay spends some quality time with of our #northsidebabiesWhat do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I like to travel when I get a chance (mostly domestic), and I enjoy spending time with my family. I have a 2-year old godson, and I enjoy attending all of his special events and birthday parties.

If you weren’t an OB/GYN, what other profession would you like to have?

I think I would want to be a writer. I love to write, and love to read, and I don’t get to do much of either anymore. But I really enjoyed writing in high school and college. I could really see myself taking a stab at it if given the opportunity in another life.

Cherokee Women’s is so excited to have Dr. Clay join our team. Please join us in giving her a warm welcome!

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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