Hormones are chemical messengers that communicate throughout our bodies, so it’s no wonder a hormonal imbalance left untreated can affect every aspect of your life. Hormonal fluctuations occur as we age, but they are also compounded by poor nutrition and exercise habits. With over 15 years of medical experience, Dr. Melissa (Mel) Irvine, DNP, understands the role hormones play in our bodies and how to optimize levels to improve our mental and physical health and well-being.
“Medical providers are good at addressing symptoms with drug therapies, but at some point, we need to address the underlying issues like hormonal deficiencies and poor lifestyle choices,” said Dr. Mel. “Bad eating habits and a lack of physical activity can influence a hormonal imbalance. Underlying physiological causes and the symptoms should be treated together to optimize outcomes and improve overall health and wellness.”
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 health and quality of life.
Hormone replacement may be needed for some individuals, but there are natural things you can do to help manage your hormone levels. Dr. Mel educates her patients on the importance of proper nutrition, hydration, sleep and exercise for optimal health, including the role they have on our hormones.
“Hormone deficiencies are a natural part of aging in both men and women. However, it can be addressed to improve quality of life regardless of age,” explained Dr. Mel. “Vitamins help us metabolize hormones properly, and everyone should be on certain supplements. However, not all supplements are created equal, because they’re not regulated like the pharmaceutical industry. It’s important to do research. Dosing also matters.”
Dr. Mel typically recommends a multivitamin and vitamins D3 and C among other supplements based on individual need. For example, estrogen is involved in reproductive health for both men and women, and also influences blood sugar and bone and heart health. When estrogen levels are too low or too high and left untreated it can lead to chronic physical and mental health conditions. A poor diet high in fat and sugar can be linked to high estrogen levels and an increased risk of certain cancers.
Diindolylmethane (DIM) helps metabolize estrogen. It’s a compound the body creates when you eat vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts and is gaining popularity as a supplement to help ease conditions like acne, menopause and prostate issues. Following a healthy diet of seeds, vegetables, fish and lean meats can also help level estrogen and reduce the risk for some cancers. Add daily exercise to increase hormones that build and maintain muscle mass and reduce insulin and cortisol levels associated with cancer and other chronic conditions.
“Hormones effect every aspect of our health. It’s important we do all we can to maintain optimal levels, including making healthier choices,” said Dr. Mel. “Plan ahead. Most diets are broken due to the convenience of processed grab and go foods. If you plan ahead and prepare healthy meals and snacks and schedule regular times for exercise and sleep, you’re more likely to stick to it. Consistency is key.”
A hormonal imbalance will seep into every aspect of your life, but it is treatable. Dr. Mel takes pride in her approach to quality personalized care to meet the sexual health needs of both men and women and providing solutions that have a positive impact on their lives. She recently opened a new practice at 9250 Corkscrew Rd., Ste. 5 in Estero. Schedule an appointment at drmelirvine.com, or by calling 239-351-5663.
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.