Author: Dr. Jimmy Sparks

Iron and Folic Acid–Diet Concerns for Women’s Health

The top nutrition/diet concerns we hear from you at your well-woman visits include weight management and bone health (calcium and vitamin D). Occasionally we answer questions about dietary or weight loss supplements. We usually recommend that the best source of the nutrients you need each day is a well-balanced diet! (Read Dr. Stradtman’s past blog about dietary supplements).

We realize, however, that a woman’s typical diet—even when she tries to eat well—may not be meeting the special nutritional needs she has at certain times in her life. Besides calcium and vitamin D (discussed…

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All Women need to Know Something about this very common Viral Infection—Genital Herpes

Because of the high prevalence of genital herpes among adult women, all women should have some understanding of this illness.  Estimates indicate about 1 in 5 adult women have genital herpes. At least half of those who are infected have no symptoms and are completely unaware that they carry this virus. While contacting the virus has little impact on many women, a first outbreak can cause significant illness for some. Recurrent episodes may be painful and stressful. The infection is contagious, and can be a serious and sometimes fatal illness in a newborn.

For these reasons, having some basic facts…

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My Story: A Candid View of Dr. Judi Favor

To be clear, this is Dr. Favor’s story, but not in her words. She would not write her own story. Even so, those of us who have known her for thirty years (Dr Sparks, Dr. Brown, Dr. Stradtman and Mrs. Edmonds) thought her patients might enjoy reading a little bit about what inspires the dedicated care she provides. She relies on her faith, humility, and a strong sense of purpose to guide her work and everyday life.

Dr. Favor did not come from a family of physicians. Lowndes County, Alabama had only a part-time physician when she was…

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My Story–Difficult Healthcare Decisions and Medical Second Opinions

In the coming months, our blog will feature a new series of posts called “My Story.” In them, our physicians will share a personal story or something from their daily practice that our patients may find helpful. Last month Dr. Whitehead offered some thoughts about how her childhood in Botswana continues to influence her commitment to women’s health education. In the following post, Dr. Sparks discusses his own recent surgery and what he learned about facing a confusing healthcare decision…

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“Healthy” Resolutions for 2019…Some Gentle New Year’s Advice!

Among our favorite New Year’s resolutions are those related to a healthier lifestyle.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that obesity, tobacco use, and lack of physical activity together cause approximately one-third of all deaths. You can probably guess that my thirty-something years of caring for women when they are healthy and when their health is in jeopardy have not given me the magic key to solving these problems. But as the new year begins, I would like to share a few thoughts…

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ObGyn Update: Are Heavy Periods Interfering with Your Normal Life?

A woman whose menstrual periods are so uncomfortable, frequent, or heavy as to interrupt her usual activities is not comforted by the fact that this is a very common women’s health problem. The medical name for abnormally heavy periods is menorrhagia. Although about a third of women experience this problem at some time, heavy bleeding is not normal. Changes in your normal menstrual cycle are always a reason to talk with your ObGyn. Besides being very disruptive to your life, heavy menstrual bleeding can sometimes signal a more serious problem…

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Confused about Pap Tests?

Preventive Care for Birmingham Women
A few generations ago, cervical cancer took the lives of more women than any other cancer. Today, it is a largely preventable disease. Beginning in the 1940s, the Pap test became available to women. A swab is used to collect cells from the cervix. The sample is then examined to look for abnormal cells, either cancer or pre-cancerous cells.

By the 1990s, research determined that human papilloma virus (HPV) causes cervical cancer. This discovery opened the door to new preventive opportunities. The HPV vaccine, given to preteens and young adults, can provide strong protection…

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For Our Expectant Families–Birth Planning 101 and 102

We proudly announce a new service at Sparks & Favor PC to help you sort through the overload of pregnancy and childbirth information. Whether you’re pregnant for the first time or just want a refresher, we are now offering Birth Planning 101 and 102.
What is Birth Planning 101 and 102?
Our program is designed to help you navigate the maze of choices about your pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Its focus is to provide you with the information you need to maintain a healthy pregnancy and help you prepare for a delivery that will be a cherished, family-centered…

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Shingles and the New Vaccine–Preventive Health Info from Your Ob/Gyn

The shingles vaccine has been well-accepted by older adults—most likely because so many people are familiar with the misery that the itching, burning rash causes. Now there is a new vaccine against shingles, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending it for most healthy adults over age 50.  As Ob/Gyns we also focus on women’s preventive health. We welcome your questions about this and other preventive health issues. Here is a list of common FAQs about protecting yourself against shingles.

What is Shingles (herpes zoster)?

Shingles is a painful rash that most often…

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What I learned in the NICU

In 1978 I had just completed medical school and moved from Birmingham to Washington DC to begin my OB/GYN residency training. Within a few weeks, I felt fairly confident on labor and delivery. I had already accomplished several dozen deliveries as a medical student. But my training program required each OB resident to spend a month in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. We were expected to learn basic newborn emergency care to support an infant in the delivery room until a pediatrician arrived. The NICU is an overwhelming place, certainly for parents, and even for a young doctor. Back…

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