Author: Dr. Jimmy Sparks

Women’s Cancer Care

Another Reason We Entrust the Care of Our Patients to Brookwood Women’s Hospital

In 1973, Brookwood became the first hospital in Alabama to provide healthcare for women in an environment devoted entirely to their unique needs. In the decades since, Brookwood has remained steadfast in its commitment to provide the latest advances in women’s services. The hospital invested in the new technology known as robotic surgery near its beginning (2009). Over the next decade, Brookwood achieved headlines as national leader in women’s robotic gynecologic surgery, surpassing 7000 women’s cases! These thousands of women returned home…

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What Women Need to Know about “Bio-identical Hormones, Custom-Compounded Hormone Therapy and Hormone Pellets–FDA Advises Caution

Nearly twenty years have passed since the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) announced serious safety concerns involving hormone replacement therapy during menopause. Since then, we have come to understand that these early conclusions were based on an incomplete understanding of the study’s data. Unfortunately, the announcement caused panic among American women. Nearly half of them gave up hormone replacement within a few months. Women whose menopausal symptoms reduced their quality of life resigned themselves to suffer in silence.

With better information, women have now reached a more balanced understanding of the benefits and possible risks of hormone replacement therapy…

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From Dr. Sparks: “Will the Pill Make Me Gain Weight?”

One of the most frequent questions we answer in the office concerns the potential side-effects of birth control pills and other hormonal contraceptives (rings, implants, hormonal I.U.Ds, etc.).  The pill carries a small increased risk for certain health problems (deep-vein thrombosis, heart attack, and stroke), and no method of birth control is one hundred percent effective in preventing pregnancy. Yet, in the fifty-plus years that the pill has been prescribed in the U.S., it has proven to be a very safe and effective contraceptive method. In fact, American women find it safe, effective, and…

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Women and Cancer—Are You Old Enough to Worry?

Slightly more than 1 in 3 American women will develop cancer in her lifetime. Cancer is the second leading cause of death for women (after heart disease). True, it usually strikes during or after middle-age. About 77% of cancers are discovered in people 55 or older. But even if, as you are reading this, “middle-age” seems a long way off; consider that your ability to influence many cancer risk factors begins much earlier in life. Some of the facts I mention here are well-known, but you’ll also find some new insights if you read on…

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Dr. Sparks’ COVID-19 New Year’s Resolution

As we wished you good health and happiness at this time last year, we could not have imagined what 2020 would hold. But the New Year always brings hope, and with weekly shipments of vaccine arriving in Birmingham, we have much reason to be hopeful. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we are not there yet. Let our resolutions for this New Year include continuing to protect ourselves and others until we have all been vaccinated against COVID-19. We can do this for three or four more months and give thanks that it…

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Should Our Pregnant and Breastfeeding Patients Receive a COVID-19 Vaccine?

The short answer is—we don’t know. When the FDA Advisory Committee meets on December 10th to decide the matter of Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer COVID vaccine (and a week later for the Moderna vaccine), they are likely to specify whether pregnant and breastfeeding women (along with young children and the very elderly) will be included.
What factors will influence their decision…

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Dr. Sparks Discusses Back-to-School Health Concerns

As students return to Alabama college campuses facing the risks and restrictions of COVID-19, please consider that the greatest risks to the well-being of young adults are not COVID-related. They happen year after year. This year we have lost about 285 young people, ages 15 to 24, who were Covid positive at the time of their death. But every year, a subgroup of these young people (college students age 18 to 24), lose nearly six times as many friends and classmates to alcohol-related accidental deaths. Many thousands more suffer life-altering unintentional injuries including sexual assault…

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Considering a Hysterectomy? Is it…


By age 60, about 1/3 of American women will have had a hysterectomy. Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the uterus (womb), in order to treat a gynecologic problem. We suggest surgery to our patients when it offers health or quality of life benefits that outweigh the risks of having surgery. On the other hand, a woman herself will sometimes tell her doctor that she is ready to consider a hysterectomy when the doctor has not recommended it.

In either situation, the decision to have surgery requires…

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Women’s Health Update: Mood Changes During the Menopause Transition

Click here to learn more about mood changes many women experience during the menopause transition.
This brief video from the North American Menopause Society discusses the relationship between menopause and increased feelings of depression, anxiety, or other mood symptoms. It offers some guidelines about whether these feelings may be menopause-related, as well as a discussion of treatment options…

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Confused About When to Begin Breast Cancer Screening?

Click the image below to see the full infographic…

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