May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It serves to educate and raise awareness of mental health conditions and to help eliminate the stigma associated with them. It can also serve as a reminder to take time to assess ourselves and what we can do to improve our mental health, some of which may be impacted by a hormonal imbalance. With over 15 years of medical experience, Dr. Melissa (Mel) Irvine, DNP, understands the role hormones play in our bodies and how they can affect our mental and physical health and well-being.
“Everyone will experience a mental health issue at some point in their life, the most common being some form of anxiety,” said Dr. Mel. “Some issues like depression, insomnia, and fatigue, can also be symptoms of hormonal imbalance. It’s a good idea to have your levels evaluated by a sexual medicine expert to see if a deficiency could be an underlying problem.”
Dr. Mel is a Clinical Sexologist, who says adults are commonly placed on antidepressants with underlying issues going unchecked even though hormonal imbalance can cause or worsen the exact same symptoms of insomnia, mood fluctuations, fatigue, lack of motivation and more.
Hormone levels begin to decrease for both men and women as part of the aging process. Dr. Mel performs a thorough evaluation of blood work, including a hormone panel for estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and thyroid health, as well as a physical examination during a patient’s first appointment to truly understand their needs and develop a comprehensive plan for treatment to restore optimal health and overall quality of life.
“Providers are missing the boat on this, even in young people with anxiety, depression, panic attacks and stress,” said Dr. Mel. “Hormones stabilize our moods. They do not take away stress but help us to cope. Few medical professionals do hormone panels to see if a deficiency is compounding or causing the problem.”
Dr. Mel believes a collaborative approach is best for treating mental health issues and the best way to ensure a hormone imbalance or other condition is not adding to the problem. “I welcome the opportunity to work with medical providers to provide the best outcome for our patients. Comprehensive care is how we will optimize health and wellness, and this should include recommendations for proper diet, nutrition, hydration and sleep hygiene,” said Dr. Mel.
Sometimes we simply need to get back to basics. Mental and physical health are greatly impacted by how we care for ourselves on a daily basis. This includes proper nutrition, effective supplements, and routines for daily exercise and sleep. A majority of chronic conditions can be attributed to poor habits and exacerbate mental health issues.
“In medicine we’re good about addressing symptoms with prescriptions and therapies, but at what point do you address the underlying issues like hormonal deficiencies or the need for supplements to support those hormones, and what about the effects of exercise?” said Dr. Mel. “The underlying physiological causes and the symptoms should be treated together to optimize outcomes for patients.”
The theme for Mental Health Awareness Month in 2022 is Tools 2 Thrive. Dr. Mel believes one of the best tools we have is education. “I am very passionate about empowering and educating individuals so they can be advocates in making the best-informed decisions regarding treatment options and improving their overall quality of life,” said Dr. Mel.
A hormonal imbalance will seep into every aspect of your life, but it is treatable. Dr. Mel takes pride in providing high quality personalized care to meet the sexual health needs of both men and women and offers solutions that have a positive impact on their lives overall. Schedule an appointment at drmelirvine.com, or by calling 239-351-5663. Dr. Mel Irvine formerly practiced at Revitalize and has now opened a new practice at 9250 Corkscrew Rd., Ste. 5 in Estero.
About Dr. Melissa (Mel) Irvine, DNP
Dr. Mel has been in the medical field for over 15 years and is a board-certified Nurse Practitioner. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Brenau Women’s College, in Gainesville, Georgia. She received her Master of Science in Nursing at The University of Alabama at Birmingham and her doctorate degree at Florida Gulf Coast University. Dr. Mel is passionate about empowering and educating women so they can be their own advocates and make the best-informed decisions regarding treatment options and quality of life. As a Sexual Medicine provider, she takes pride in providing high quality personalized care to meet the sexual health needs of both men and women. Her interest in Sexual Medicine took her to San Diego where she completed a preceptorship with the leading Sexual Medicine provider in the U.S., Dr. Irwin Goldstein. She is an avid learner and regularly attends educational trainings and conferences to stay up to date on the latest and most innovative treatment options available.