By Jeanne Novas, MD 

While we all worry about Covid, don’t delay your preventive care, especially Colon Cancer Screening. March was colon cancer prevention month.

The age has CHANGED:  As of October 2020, U.S preventative services task force recommends all patients start colonoscopy cancer screening at age 45, not 50.  That means insurance should pay for these earlier screens, finally!!  Screening typically stops after age 75-85.  Also, you can directly call to schedule a colonoscopy with a Gastroenterologist.  You do not need to see a primary care doc first, or the GI doctor.

If you are low risk, no symptoms, start at 45.  Many higher risk patients should start earlier, age 40 or 10 years before relative diagnosed: family history of polyps/cancer, African American race, smoking, rectal bleeding, obesity, anemia, diabetes, abdominal pain, constipation/diarrhea/stool changes, other cancers.  High fiber diets protect your colon.  Red meats/processed meats with nitrates increase your risk.  “Colon cleansing” does not really prevent bowel cancers or undesirable symptoms.

COVID-19 Update April 2021

Jeanne Novas MD

Vaccines are now open to all residents 16 and older in Illinois!  We encourage you to get your vaccine!  Those of you who have had Covid in the last 90 days or less may want to wait. Side effects (more than just arm pain) from the vaccine are stronger in women, and now have been reported to occur in 50% of recipients, higher by the second shot.  These side effects are annoying but do not take you to the hospital – -typically treated with Tylenol®. 

If you are pregnant, consider the shot in your second trimester.  Side effects would be better tolerated than by mother and baby. Antibodies go to baby across the placenta, and in breast milk.

We are still restricting visitors to your office appointments except for 1 visitor for your 4 main ultrasounds in your prenatal care.  The hospitals allow only 1 visitor, who now can come and go.  All staff and patients are temperature and questionnaire screened, all staff have generally been vaccinated or have antibodies.

 By Jeanne Novas, MD 

Let’s begin with the new guest limitations at the hospitals: Moms will be allowed only one visitor during their birth and after. They will ID banded and there is no substituting. For now, a certified Doula is also allowed. We just heard New York MANDATED hospitals allow 1 visitor, so important for moms in labor! Please be aware visitors are often restricted almost every year during the flu season. Be aware we have 2 hospitals to choose from if there are any changes. We definitely DO NOT recommend home deliveries because of these policies. The American College of OBGYN has confirmed data that home deliveries result in higher maternal complications and newborn deaths and complications.

The hospitals have narrowed their entry points away from the ER and are screening all entrants, including all staff. Visitors are limited. Routine health care is canceled – no mammograms, colonoscopies or elective surgeries for now. Tours and classes are canceled, but the hospital is working on providing online group classes. We will keep you posted. The labor and delivery units are separated from the rest of the hospital and all have isolation areas. They are taking thorough measures in sanitizing and ventilating to protect you and your newborn.

 By Jeanne Novas, MD 

Menopause can be a great time in life - be sure to get good health care and advice on treatments of menopausal symptoms from your OBGYN.  Our office also can guide you in weight loss during this time.  Both are complex issues that are better treated by your doctor.

Women tend to gain 1-2 pounds per year as they approach and go through menopause.  Both weight problems and menopause are a hormonal issue.  Insulin resistance, adrenalin release from stress and lack of sleep and frequent sugar/carbohydrate intake seem to be the culprits. There are many diets and theories, and we gain and lose and gain back weight - nothing seems to work.  Here are some points that may help:

 By Jeanne Novas, MD 

As the COVID-19 evolves and quarantine measures escalate, we continue to care for you in-office and hospital, and per phone (847) 304-0044 press #1 for the nurse. After hours, you can have our service page the doctor with questions regarding flu and COVID-19.

We are taking special measures for your safety:

Enhanced cleaning and wiping down surfaces, no sick/coughing employees and patients in office, social distancing, recommend patients limit children and others attending their appointments. Our hospitals are well prepared for cases, including a drive-thru testing facility open at Good Shepherd Hospital. Call us for guidance: You must have fever/cough, have direct exposure, and/or travel to endemic areas to be tested by IDPH rules, and need a negative flu and respiratory panel before receiving COVID-19 testing. The American College of Surgeons is suggesting that “elective” surgeries be reconsidered as per patient and doctor. We do not currently see any reason to cancel elective care UNLESS YOU ARE SICK, but we will keep you posted. If you have traveled, please reconsider elective health care visits for 2 weeks after. We would urge you to continue your annual visits, procedures, and care with us per routine until further notice.

 By Jeanne Novas, MD 

During the Pandemic we have faced a lot of stressors: fear of illness for ourselves and loved ones, job insecurity, being apart from loved ones, financial stress, child care and school issues, stress on marriage. Poor mental health is an indirect complication from the Pandemic.

In addition to moderate exercise, yoga, vitamins, proper sleep and diet to improve mental health, counseling is very important. Most therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists are performing virtual visits. Let us help you guide your counseling care. One group nearby is called Thrive, a counseling center specializing in women's needs including postpartum depression and anxiety, Gottman method marital counseling, children's mental health, post traumatic stress disorder, grief and loss counseling. Thrive offers services covered by insurance and some lower-cost options for those with higher deductibles. They also offer group therapy in certain situations.

Thrive Postpartum Couples Family Logo Primary Web 01Call our office for guidance. We can advise you on a proper provider for care, and can consider medication. Or call Thrive for an appointment 224-698-9792 (

Jeanne Novas, MD, FACOG

 By Jeanne Novas, MD 

This year has been a severe flu year. Our local hospitals are restricting classes, tours and visitors. Many patients are hospitalized with influenza. Our hospitals are specially equipped to handle infectious cases.

In order to contain both flu and COVID-19 we recommend the following:

Wash hands frequently, use hand sanitizer and sanitary wipes especially in bathrooms, cover your cough, don’t touch your face. Avoid contact with others, handshaking. Throw out used napkins/tissues. Restrict travel for at least the next month especially with risk factors, pregnancy, including conferences and events. Masks are more for health care workers to protect them and to prevent transmission to others if you are coughing. Check the CDC (Center for Disease Control) website for latest info.

 By Jeanne Novas, MD 

Your sexual health is important in all times of your life.

Young women in their late teens and early twenties are delaying intercourse compared to years ago. In pursuit of careers/education, they may not feel the drive for sexual relations. Nothing is wrong with those choices. We, of course, encourage condom use with a new partner to prevent STDS and encourage a monogamy/love relationship. Chlamydia is a common STD amongst this age group. Don't mix alcohol, drugs and sex. Young women should start a sexual relationship because they want to and not in order to please the partner or feel pressured – EVER!

Many women enjoy sex more in their thirties, and/or before childbearing. Once they have children, stress can interfere with sex life. It is important to "find time" to have date nights/get babysitting to spend time with spouse/partner. Vaginal delivery can "weaken" the pelvic floor, so be sure to discuss at your exam and consider pelvic floor exercises. Watching your weight, sleep, nutrition and exercise can help sex drive at all ages.

Julie Dohr MDby Julie Dohr, MD

With the legalization of Marijuana in many states, there has been an increase in patients reporting cannabis use during their pregnancy. What are the risks? How much do we know?

Cannabis use is associated with an increased risk of premature delivery and can negatively affect the baby’s growth. Placental abruption, where the placenta separates too early, is more common with cannabis use. Also, when the baby is born, there is a greater chance of the baby needing to go the intensive care unit.

Vidhi Gadson MDVidhi Gadson, MD

Stress Incontinence is not funny!

Studies say that doing Kegel exercises throughout your pregnancy may help prevent stress incontinence, which is the most common type of urinary incontinence. Stress incontinence occurs when pressure on the bladder is increased, causing a urine leak. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can also cause stress incontinence. Other factors play a role in the development of incontinence during and after pregnancy.

These include:

  • Family history of incontinence
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Gaining excess weight during pregnancy

Although it isn’t always possible to prevent urine leaks during pregnancy, there is a lot you can do to potentially reduce the frequency and severity of leaks, such as:

Dympna Coll MD Dympna Coll, MD 

HPV is a virus that can cause genital warts and various types of cancer. HPV can spread through any type of sexual contact with someone who has HPV. Because HPV often has no signs or symptoms, a person can have the virus and pass it on without knowing.

HPV has been associated with cervical, vaginal, vulvar, anal, penile and throat cancer. Despite the known association between HPV and these cancers, the rate of vaccination in the United States remains low. The American College of Pediatrics and The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommend routine vaccination of girls and boys at age 11-12. The vaccination can be given as early as age 9 and up to age 26. It is more effective if given before becoming sexually active.