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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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Family Risk for Breast or Ovarian Cancer

Although breast cancer risk increases throughout a woman’s life, younger women can also face breast cancer. Experts do not recommend routine screening for breast cancer (mammogram) before age 40. But some women–those with hereditary risk factors for breast or ovarian cancer–may be advised differently.

We want to help our patients recognize risk factors in their family’s medical history. Your annual well-woman exam is an ideal time to review your family history. If your updated family history suggests higher risk, your Ob-Gyn physician may recommend genetic testing for abnormal changes in certain genes (BRCA 1…

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Am I Getting Enough Protein?

As we juggle work and family responsibilities, most of us try to keep an eye on the scale and on good nutrition in general.  But making good nutritional choices gets more confusing with each new diet fad that crosses the Internet. Keto? Paleo? Whole 30? South Beach? Atkins? …Really?

Most of these plans restrict carbohydrates, some more severely than others. The “allowed foods” list is weighted toward high-protein choices. Low-carb plans appeal to the common belief that most of us need more protein. Unfortunately, many people will substitute fats or high-fat protein sources for the carbs they…

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Our Mammography Technologist Discusses 3D Mammography

 

Most of our patients (beyond that “certain age”), have met Mrs. Charlene Aitken, Sparks & Favor’s Mammography Certified Radiologic Technologist. Mrs. Aitken’s professional experience spans three decades. This month, we celebrate her 20th year promoting breast health for our patients!

To kick-off two important events—Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the launch of our new 3D mammography system—we have asked Mrs. Aiken to answer a few questions.
Q: What drew you to specializing in mammography?
A:  I am passionate about mammography because it’s such a powerful tool. I tell my patients that this simple…

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An Announcement from Dr. Sparks

As many of Dr. Sparks’ patients have already heard, beginning October 1st, he will be limiting his practice to gynecology. He looks forward to directing his full-time focus to his patients’ gynecologic care needs and to his long-time interests in minimally-invasive gynecologic surgery, screening and risk-reducing strategies for women’s cancer risk, the menopause transition, and osteoporosis. In 2009, Dr. Sparks was one of the early Birmingham gynecologists to begin using the minimally-invasive procedure known as “robotic surgery.” He is still amazed at how his patients benefit from this technology. More women are able to…

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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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Dr. Favor Discusses Recent Outbreak of Whooping Cough in Greater Birmingham

Especially for new and expectant parents
August always a busy time for families rushing to purchase school supplies, arrange bus and carpool schedules, and perhaps slip in one more family outing before settling into school-year routines!  Not coincidentally, August is also National Immunization Awareness Month—a reminder that updating Alabama blue immunization forms is one of the items on most back-to-school checklists.

This week, a press release from the Alabama Department of Public Health shows us again how important immunizations are to our families’ health. From its announcement:

“The Alabama Department of Public Health’s (ADPH) Immunization…

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Ask Your Ob-Gyn—Dr. Sarah Whitehead Answers Questions about Endometriosis

What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis in a condition in which tissue normally found in the lining of the uterus begins to grow in other areas of a woman’s abdomen. It is normal tissue, not a cancer, but it can still cause great discomfort and other medical problems. Endometriosis is very common, affecting about one in ten women.

The misplaced endometrial tissue can become attached to the ovaries, fallopian tubes, the outside surface of the uterus, the bladder, bowel, or other places in the pelvis.
What problems does endometriosis cause…

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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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