Voted "Best OB-GYN" in Towne Lake, Woodstock and Canton Voted "Mom-Approved OBs" by Atlanta Parent magazine readers
August 2, 2016

Dr. Crigler photo
As an OB-GYN who’s a vegan, husband and father, Dr. Crigler shares his views on diet, exercise, and bringing patients a great health experience. Working in the field of women’s health – as does his wife Lauren – he talks about how they’ve shaped each other’s practices, and how he turns off his “clinical side” at home.

12 Symptoms, One Fix: How Can Patients Experience Better Health?

Q: From your recent blogs, it’s evident that you and your family maintain a proper diet as the foundation for your health. Does going vegan have any advantages for female reproductive health, and if so, what are they?
Dr. Crigler: A plant based diet has multiple benefits for women’s health, including decreased risk of breast, ovarian and colon cancer. Meat and dairy have both been associated with increased risks of each of these cancers. Even for our pregnant patients, a vegan or plant based diet free of dairy and meat can be very healthy for both baby and mother. As we recommend taking prenatal vitamins for all women, supplementing vitamin D and B12 is more important with a vegan diet. This diet has also been associated with a decreased risk of preeclampsia. It also results in a purer breast milk with no added hormones and less risk of food allergies for the infant.

In addition to female health improvements decreasing the cancers I spoke about, I want to mention lupus, acne, high cholesterol, irritable bowel syndrome and heart disease as conditions that are likely improved with plant based diet changes.

Dr Crigler doing situps with patient photo

Dr. Crigler doing situps with his patient and baby!

Q: What percentage of the health problems you deal with regularly would you guesstimate might easily be solved through nutritional changes and exercise? Can you give some examples?
Dr. Crigler: 100%. Plant based diets will assist in losing weight, decreased systemic inflammation of the body, decrease incidence of type 2 noninsulin dependent diabetes, decrease constipation and risk of hemorrhoids (for our pregnant patients) and help decrease exposure to exogenous hormones often found in meat and dairy products. Exercise helps maintain ideal body weight, increase insulin sensitivity (reducing gestational diabetes) and also helps keep mom in shape for the laboring process. After all, they don’t call it labor for nothing! Northside Hospital Cherokee has a good online maternity resource- that’s one place to start.

Q: Now that you’ve been in private practice for several years, are there additional areas of knowledge in women’s health care you would like to explore to better help your patients?
Dr. Crigler: Many of my patients ask me about sexual health including pain with intercourse, decreased sexual desire, inability to climax and vaginal dryness. While a very sensitive topic, this is very important for the health of a relationship and the mental and physical health of the patient.
I plan to explore dietary, natural, non-invasive medical devices, pharmaceutical, and surgical ways to help patients address these important concerns.

Q: Every doctor has his or her own approach to making a patient feel comfortable. How do you personally try to put your patients at ease to encourage open, honest dialogue?
Dr. Crigler: I try to imagine how I would want my two sisters, mother or wife to be treated during a gynecologic visit. I sit down and I listen. I realize these conversations are quite personal and that I may be the only person in the position to address these issues. I attempt to destigmatize these topics; such as painful intercourse, fecal or urinary incontinence or inability to orgasm.

Q: After each patient appointment, what do you want the patient to have or to have experienced when they leave?
Dr. Crigler: I want them to feel they were given the opportunity to express their concerns, they were listened to and that I truly care about helping them. I want them to come out with a better understanding of their health condition or problem and be confident in the treatment plan that we make together.

Q: Can you share an example of a patient where one appointment made a difference in their health decisions or treatment?
Dr. Crigler: I saw an 80 year old diabetic, arthritic patient with complete pelvic prolapse who still lived on her own, cooked for herself, and really valued her independence. Two doctors at other clinics recommended different surgeries that would likely take weeks to months to recover from and put her at risk of infection. I saw her as a 3rd opinion and offered her a pessary to hold everything in place. We happened to have the exact size she needed in stock and she left that day with a cure to her prolapse, no recovery time and I am sure made it home in time to cook her own dinner.

Husband and Father:
A Wide Perspective on Women’s Health

Q: There are many similarities between your profession and your wife’s, in that you both deal with the health and maintenance of the human body by reducing pain and restoring function—you, medically and she, therapeutically. Is that a coincidence, or did one of you inspire the other to select your specialty?
Dr. Crigler: We met in our anatomy class in medical school, so we were already on a path to helping people in the medical field. Our emphasis on the role that diet and exercise play in health, pain, function and disease prevention was mutually inspired with the help of several documentaries and books for inspiration.

Q: How much impact and input do you have on each other’s professions? For example, does your medical knowledge help your wife Lauren understand her patients better—and does Lauren’s input of what her patients go through during therapy (ie; pain, struggle, mental issues, etc.) help you approach your own patients with more enlightenment?
Dr. Crigler: Our professions impact each other’s quite a bit. We talk about the impact of medication, food and therapeutic exercise in all kinds of conditions. Medical doctors tend to emphasize freedom from symptoms while physical therapists emphasize increased function. We both have several techniques that help meet both of those goals for a more holistic treatment plan. We enjoy learning from one another and most definitely provide better care for our patients due to all of these free consults.

Q: Other than the usual ‘how was your day?’, do you normally leave shop talk at work, or do you find it makes for interesting conversation at home?
Dr. Crigler: I might discuss interesting or challenging cases with Lauren, especially if I am looking for a different perspective or physical therapy ideas. When I am on call, I usually just report any number of babies I delivered that night. She gets excited about every one as she reminisces about her deliveries. It makes not having me home worth it when she knows that another woman was having a life changing experience.

Q: After dealing with patient health issues all day, do either of you find it difficult to turn off your clinical sides?
Dr. Crigler: That’s funny. The very first thing I hear when I get home is “daddy, daddy, daddy, huggy, huggy”. After the hugs and kisses, I get to hear about their superheros and construction sites for about 30 minutes until we wind down for bath and our bedtime routine. Having my sons so excited to see me makes it pretty easy to put on my daddy hat and leave work behind…until they go to sleep that is.

Q: You mentioned that you had the privilege of not just seeing your sons being born, but also delivering them yourself. Do you remember your first thoughts as they both came into the world, or did you remain in ‘doctor mode’ until the whole process was over?
Dr. Crigler: I was in residency while both my sons were born so while I had delivered a couple of hundred babies already, I was still nervous. I did my best to play both the supportive husband and skilled obstetrician role at the same time during the labor. As they were crowning, I did tear up in amazement that we had made this miracle, and then simultaneously, as trained, remembered “protect the perineum”, in hopes to limit any vaginal tears. After delivery, I placed them both on my wife’s chest, cut the cords, and then went into complete husband-daddy role. 

Snapshot: Medical Rescue

Q: Almost every medical TV show and movie shows the star physician out somewhere on his day off enjoying a dinner or other relaxing activity. He’s minding his own business, when suddenly some drama occurs that requires the help of a doctor. Has this ever happened to you?
Dr. Crigler: Just last weekend my family and I went up to Cave Spring, GA to take the kids to the springs and cave. On our way back, it was raining and we rode by a serious collision on the opposite side of the road that appeared to have just happened. I immediately pulled into the closest gas station and left the kids and Lauren in the car to run across the median to help out. Fortunately, only one person was injured and she was talking. She did have a large laceration on her head, complained of neck pain, was very anxious and had evidence of a concussion. With the help of a couple of other Good Samaritans, we comforted her, stabilized her neck, and controlled the bleeding until EMS arrived. I then ran back, soaked, to my family as we rode carefully home, thankful everyone was safe and healthy.

May 3, 2016


By Britton Crigler, MD, FACOG

ThermiVa is a ground-breaking office treatment that helps women address common problems with their sexual health. As an OB-GYN, I’ve seen symptoms such as incontinence, difficulty or pain with sex, and vaginal dryness interfere with my patients’ lives.  The natural aging process, childbirth, and menopause affect vaginal function. ThermiVa is a new technology that has become the standard for in-office, non-surgical vaginal rejuvenation – with no downtime.

Harnessing the power of thermal energy, ThermiVa helps to reduce or eliminate a wide range of the unpleasant symptoms of aging. I’ve witnessed my post-menopausal patients, as well as those who miss their pre-baby body, regain confidence when treated with this innovative system.

I’ll say this directly: ThermiVa means you do not have to accept the effects of aging. It helps you reclaim a more youthful vulvovaginal structure – while lessening any unpleasant symptoms you may be experiencing.


ThermiVa is a temperature-controlled radio frequency system, designed to tighten the internal and external tissues of the vagina. The procedure, which is non-invasive and non-surgical, uses a slim “S” shaped wand to deliver gentle heat to areas of the vagina. This heat restores and tightens vaginal tissue both internally and externally.

A unique feature of the treatment is that you control the level of heat for a comfortable and virtually painless experience. ThermiVa treatments stimulate your own body’s production of collagen, even helping to heal tissue or nerve damage sustained during childbirth.

A typical treatment takes place in the office. It requires no anesthesia, so you can go about your day afterward. There is no stinging or burning: the effects of the procedure are mostly painless.  A bonus feature is its affordability; it’s suited for many lifestyles.


ThermiVa treats the external and internal tissues of the vagina. The result is tighter, smoother skin and a restoration of the vagina’s functionality. ThermiVa is not just an aesthetic procedure: it combats losses and damage from aging or childbirth. I’ve seen symptoms ranging from vaginal laxity to stress incontinence to vaginal dryness, be reduced or eliminated with ThermiVa treatments.

These benefits greatly enhance your basic quality of life – no longer do you have to deal with the negative effects of menopause. Some of the powerful benefits of ThermiVa include:

Vaginal Tightening: Patients suffering from vaginal looseness find that ThermiVa improves vaginal tightness as it shrinks the tissues of the vagina, lending itself to a better sex life.

Vaginal Lubrication: Women who have lost interest in sex due to pain and dryness will find that ThermiVa increases their natural lubrication – making daily life and intercourse more comfortable without any added hormone treatments.

Urinary Leakage: ThermiVa treatments, coupled with Kegel exercises, can help strengthen the vaginal walls. Tighter vaginal walls can help to stop inconvenient or embarrassing urinary incontinence, along with a reduction in urgency and frequency.Dr. Crigler photo

Labia Majora Rejuvenation: ThermiVa treatments result in smaller, smoother, less “saggy” skin. Patients often experience more comfort with sex and less embarrassment with their appearance.

With ThermiVa, you can reclaim your body and enjoy your life to the fullest. At Cherokee Women’s Health, my colleagues and I specialize in delivering ThermiVa to obtain the most benefits from the procedure for our patients. Call or make an appointment to discuss questions and concerns about thermal energy treatments.

You can restore your confidence and youth with ThermiVa!

February 3, 2016

Dr. Crigler photo

An Interview with Britton Crigler, MD, FACOG 

What made you want to become a vegan? 

My wife and I made the decision together. She was a vegetarian in the past, and studied nutrition in college, so she has an understanding of how meat is processed and the affects it has on the environment and our health. I grew up in a southern cooking meat and potatoes family so if I can make the change, anyone can!

Our path toward a plant-based diet started on a medical mission trip to Ecuador while I was in medical school.  I volunteered at a women’s health hospital while Lauren volunteered in the physical therapy department of a military hospital.  We lived with a family for a month and were fed a mostly plant-based diet.  In Ecuador, a typical meal consists of vegetable soup, a cooked whole grain, one or two cooked vegetable dishes and maybe a small (3 ounces or so) side of meat. They had very limited access to fast food chains and processed foods. Their small portions of meat may have stemmed from lower economic means, but they were eating healthier meals than most Americans! That’s when the idea of limiting our meat and dairy intake first began. During my residency in Tampa, we decided to switch to a completely plant-based diet.

Dr. Crigler photo

What’s the key to making dietary changes such as switching to a vegan diet work? (Especially in a family with two small children?)

One key step is to recruit people around you to help you make the change:

It’s important to include the whole family. My kids eat everything we eat: carrots, broccoli, spinach, hummus, whole grains and legumes. We expose them to everything we eat, so they eat different types of cuisine including Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, South American and African. (I am also lucky that I have a wife who cooks really well and tries new dishes!) We eat a larger variety of food now than we did before we switched to a plant-based diet.  That exposure to different foods in childhood is important, although I think my 3-year-old son would be a fruitatarian if he were given the choice. My oldest son is five and in kindergarten so we pack his lunch.  It takes my wife about five minutes each morning, which we consider to be a small investment in our child’s health. We’re also not really strict if they attend a birthday party and eat cake or something like that.

Another key is: don’t keep unhealthy food in the house.

Eating a whole food plant-based diet is relatively easy for our family because healthy food is the only option we have.  There’s no processed food in our house, so we don’t have an opportunity to eat it!

My other advice is to make changes that are sustainable to your budget.

We focus on buying food we know we’ll eat, and we tend to waste very little food. Choosing things like dried beans, legumes and whole grains will last much longer in your pantry and are a lot cheaper than buying meat every week.

Dr. Crigler's children photo

February is American Heart Month. What are some of the easiest ways women can take better care of themselves with a focus on their hearts?

Lowering cholesterol has a huge positive impact on heart health, and anyone can decrease their cholesterol by avoiding or eating less animal products. Also, cardiovascular exercise at least 3-5 times a week for at least 30 minutes can really improve heart health. The key is to choose an activity that you enjoy so you’ll want to continue. The added usage of technology like Fitbits and pedometers can help encourage you to move more and make small changes every day.

What’s the best way to go about choosing a physical activity?

You need to choose an exercise type and intensity level that’s right for you (if you’re arthritic, for instance, long distance running may not be the best option). Whether it’s biking, running, swimming, or something else, making attainable goals can help to improve your motivation. Then update your goals as your reach them. Also, having somebody to hold you accountable is helpful. It can be a friend, spouse, workout partner or personal trainer. My brother-in-law is a real inspiration to me. He has run at least a mile every single day for the last eight years, rain or shine. His dedication is a reminder to me to always stay active, no matter what. (Fun fact: My brother-in-law is a track coach and was inspired by my wife to begin his running streak.  She beat him in a 5K and he started his streak the very next day!)

Dr. Crigler and wife photoYou and your wife Lauren are big fans of running to keep physically fit. Do you have any marathons or other events you’re planning on participating in this year?

We did the Atlanta half marathon for the past two years and will continue this tradition for as long as we can. We also really enjoy supporting local 5Ks so I’m sure we’ll be running with our jogging strollers through a few of those.

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

I want my patients to feel comfortable and cared for like a member of my family.  Our patients often share some of the most significant events of their lives with us.  So, to have them tell me that they felt cared for means the world to me.  Also, when they send their family members and friends to me, it’s a huge compliment.

What was the most unusual job you ever had? 

I was a nanny for a six-month old through his second birthday right after college, in between college and medical school (it helped pay my rent). I was also a lifeguard and waited tables. Waiting tables was a skill that turned out to be helpful as far as being able to multitask and keep track of all the patients we have in one day. (We’re sensing a theme here – Dr. Litrel said the same thing about his time waiting tables!)

If you won the lottery and never had to work again, how would you spend your time?

Traveling. I’d love to visit Australia, South America, and Europe; pretty much everywhere.


Would you rather skydive or hang glide? 

My wife would never let me skydive, haha. I think I would prefer hang gliding anyway. I think I’d like the sensation of flying as opposed to just falling. Hang gliding also lasts longer and you’d get to see more stuff.

What category on a quiz show would you select at the best chance of winning?

After medical facts and cool baby names, probably anything related to cars. Either “Name That Car” or “Random Facts About Sports Cars.” (I drive an electric car because I’m a bit of an environmentalist, but a guy can dream!)

June 2, 2015

Up Close and Personal with Dr. Crigler

A near tragedy in Dr. Crigler’s life helped lead him to become a doctor. “When I was seven, I was involved in a car accident with my father and grandmother. I was injured quite badly and needed almost 100 stitches for my wounds. But the most significant thing was that I had an out of body experience. I actually saw myself from the outside, outside of my body. I think this was one of the factors that made the experience so intense, and made an impression on me how on important it is to care for the body.”

Medicine was also in Dr. Crigler’s blood, with a father physician in family practice, and a mother who was a pediatric intensive care nurse. And it was in medical school that Dr. Crigler met his future wife Lauren. “Lauren and I met in Gross Anatomy. Our cadavers happened to be right next to each other. When people ask how we met, we like to joke that Lauren was attracted to me because I looked better than the dead guy on the table.”

Dr. Crigler states that he enjoys laparoscopic surgery and the precision it demands, but that caring for his obstetrics patients continues to be a unique source of joy. He recalls the first ultrasound he performed on a woman who had spent years trying to get pregnant. “When we saw the baby on Doppler, I will never forget how she looked – it was like a light lit up her face.”

crigler-spotlight-flyerTo schedule an appointment with Dr. Crigler, please visit Cherokee Women’s Health or call 770.720.7733.

June 1, 2015

Dr. Crigler photo

Dr. Britton Crigler writes about the importance of cervical cancer screening:

I ran my fourth half marathon in January of this year in Atlanta in preparation for eventually completing my first full marathon. My wife Lauren and I were running together, racing to the finish line, and we noticed a young man face down on the side of the road with one other person kneeling beside him. At first I thought he had just tripped or was dehydrated. We stopped and eventually were joined by a flight nurse, ER physician, and EMT who were all running the marathon as well. After inspection, we realized this athlete was in his mid-20’s and had a laceration on his head. He was not breathing and did not have a pulse. We started CPR and after about five minutes –which felt like an eternity–his pulse returned and color started returning to his face. My wife and I felt lucky to be a part of helping this man survive. Watching him reminded me how delicate life can be, and I was reminded that there is a limit to the things we can plan, prepare for and control.

A Passion for Preventative Medicine

My passion for preventative women’s health was one of the reasons I chose to be an OB/GYN.  During medical school, we are trained to look, listen and examine to diagnose a problem. This is the most challenging part of medicine. (Google can only get you so far.) Once a diagnosis is made, a medication, lifestyle change, or surgery will usually fix the problem.  If the diagnosis is cancer, especially when diagnosed in the later stages, treatment plans are not so simple. There is no quick easy fix, no simple cure, and no easy way out. Some cancers like ovarian cancer are typically diagnosed in the later stages because there are few early symptoms.  Treatment with chemotherapy and surgery can prolong life but rarely result in a complete cure.

Breakthroughs in Medicine Provide Prevention for Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is completely different from other cancers, as it’s preventable. First, the cervix can be seen directly by your OB/GYN or primary care physician without invasive testing using a Pap smear. Pap smears are very effective at evaluating abnormal cells that may develop into cancer. This is why it’s so important to schedule a regular exam with your OB/GYN. (Over 60% of patients with cervical cancer have never had a Pap smear.) Known risk factors for cervical cancer include persistent infection by HPV. In fact, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States.

In the past several years, a breakthrough in medicine has provided a way to fight back and prevent cervical cancer. High-risk HPV strains including 16 and 18 have been associated with the majority of cervical cancers. Other HPV strains including 6 and 11 are associated with genital warts or growths on the vulva, cervix or penis. The Guardisil vaccine provides patients a way to actively protect themselves from these four strains of viruses. Additionally, the Cervarix vaccine will protect against the two strains that cause cervical cancer. It is recommended for male and female individuals between the ages of 9 and 26. These vaccinations protect young men and women before there are exposed during sexual activity. Most insurance companies, including Medicaid, will pay for the vaccine. (If you don’t have medical insurance, there are still ways to pay for the vaccine. Talk to your healthcare provider about your options.)

The HPV vaccine offers promise and protection from a known direct cause of cervical cancer. With it, we can fight and prevent a cancer that has taken the lives of too many women. Please don’t hesitate to contact your OB/GYN, pediatrician, primary care physician, or local health department with questions or concerns about these vaccines. There are also plenty of online resources available for parents and caregivers. We have included some helpful resources below:

National Cervical Cancer Coalition
World Health Organization – HPV and Cervical Cancer Facts
The HPV Connection – The Oral Cancer Foundation

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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.”
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