FORT MYERS, Fla. (Oct. 4, 2022) – A woman will spend 30 to 50 percent of her life in menopause. This is every woman’s reality and October is observed as World Menopause Month, helping to raise awareness of menopause and the support options available for improving health and wellbeing. Dr. Melissa (Mel) Irvine, DNP, has over 15 years of experience in managed hormone replacement therapy and lifestyle changes to improve the menopause experience and a woman’s overall health.
“Optimizing the menopause experience is three-fold: nutrition and exercise, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and accountability of the patient,” explained Dr. Mel. “We need to start taking accountability for our own health. Changes happen before, during and after menopause. We need to recognize symptoms and seek help early on, and we need to be taking care of our health long before menopause begins.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Menopause Society designated October 18 as World Menopause Day with the 2022 theme of Cognition and Mood. Mental and physical health are greatly impacted by our habits, including proper nutrition, effective supplements, and routines for daily exercise and sleep. Most chronic conditions can be attributed to poor habits and exacerbate health and mood issues.
“Menopause, and aging in general, can be made easier through lifestyle changes and hormone replacement therapy, but ultimately it is up to the individual to eat properly, exercise, and follow recommended treatments to improve their overall health,” said Dr. Mel. “When a hormone imbalance is left untreated, it can increase risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, depression, anxiety, and other chronic conditions.”
Dr. Mel says depending on the study you look at there are up to 200 hormones in the body, and that sex hormones’ levels begin to decrease for both men and women as part of the aging process, whereas the others can be maintained almost by diet and exercise alone. For example, in most cases, insulin levels can be maintained naturally through lifestyle choices. Medical interventions that address the results of poor lifestyle habits that often lead to obesity and other chronic conditions such as diabetes, can also exacerbate the symptoms of menopause.
By the time most people seek medical care, pills alone aren’t going to help. It’s unfortunate and we need to start being accountable for our health early on. Everything we eat affects our hormones in some way, and we get to choose to affect them positively or negatively. A woman who goes on HRT needs to be able to digest, metabolize, and absorb hormones efficiently. This often requires lifestyle changes to get the full benefit of hormones.
“We get many of our hormones through food, and we are not eating the way we should. Most people exceed the 25 grams of sugar we should consume per day in their morning coffee! People are literally eating themselves to death. You can get all you need from plants and animal protein. The key is being well-rounded in your diet and stopping before you overeat,” said Dr. Mel. “The medical system, food industry and government are not the answer, they are part of the problem. Please do your research and be accountable to yourself. The answer lies within the individual and people need to start grasping that and taking control of their own health.”
Menopause and other hormonal imbalances can affect every aspect of your life with symptoms being compounded by poor lifestyle choices. Dr. Mel performs a thorough evaluation of blood work, including a hormone panel, and a physical examination during a patient’s first appointment to truly understand their needs and develop a comprehensive plan including lifestyle changes to restore optimal health and overall quality of life. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please visit drmelirvine.com, or call 239-351-5663. You can also follow her on Facebook for news, updates, and special offers.
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, 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 training and conferences to stay current on the latest and most innovative treatment options.