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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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Are You Protected from Measles?

The Alabama Dept. of Public Health has withdrawn its confirmation of a case if measles originating in Jefferson County.
As measles outbreaks continue to occur in several states—the most in 25 years—patients have begun to ask me whether they are protected or whether they should receive another vaccination. Although the Alabama Dept. of Public Health has not yet recorded a case of measles originating in our state, AL.com reported that a traveler with confirmed measles did visit several locations in Alabama last week.

Public health officials are appropriately concerned. Up to 95% of persons who are exposed…

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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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A Milestone in Women’s Surgery

We were amazed and delighted a few weeks ago when the Women’s Medical Center at Brookwood Baptist announced its 8000th robotic surgery, adding that approximately 6000 of these were hysterectomies. In fact, Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (manufacturer of the da Vinci robotic technology), published last fall that Brookwood is Birmingham’s leader in GYN robotic surgery.

How time flies! At Sparks & Favor, we were interested in the new technology from nearly its beginning. Dr. Sparks recalls those first cases in 2009. He wondered whether women would accept the new “robotic” technique. He assured them that the robot did nothing…

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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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A Chat with Dr. Whitehead–for Birmingham Girls!

Brookwood Women’s Services is again offering this excellent program (Saturday May 4th, 9 AM), and Dr. Whitehead is looking forward to participating. Click here to find registration information.
From my childhood in Botswana (my parents were missionaries), I am deeply aware of the difference reproductive-health information can make in the lives of women and girls. The HIV/AIDS epidemic devastated Botswana. Women, particularly young women ages 15 to 24, are still suffering in greater numbers than men, and progress has stalled. The fact of their limited opportunity, especially in education, makes them vulnerable. Nearly half of them cannot…

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Introducing Our New Website! A Wellness Resource for Birmingham Women

Our site, (the web-address has not changed), is an important resource for our current patients and also for women looking for a new obstetrician or gynecologist in Birmingham. We work to keep it up-to-date and informative. If you are a regular visitor to the site, you will notice a bright, fresh look. More important, we have tried to make it easier to find the information our patients use most frequently. The new site is more responsive across a wide variety of mobile devices!

If you have never landed on the Sparks & Favor site or not explored…

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From Dr. Favor–Myth: Men are much more likely to die of heart disease.

Did you know that HEART DISEASE IS THE #1 KILLER OF AMERICAN WOMEN?
Yes, it’s true. According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease takes more women than all cancers combined. Yet surveys show that only about half of you are aware of that fact. February is American Heart Month.
THE GENDER GAP IN HEART ATTACK DEATHS
The risk of death after a heart attack is higher in women than men.
Medical research has not been clear about why this occurs. Women are likely to be older than men when they suffer a first heart attack because estrogen…

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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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