Dr. Kelly Parcell: The Women’s Health Whisperer
Women’s health is a passion of mine. No matter a woman’s age, the demands on a woman from within her body and her environment, are high. The internal dynamic changes going on within her body include hormone fluctuations, nutritional deficiencies, hypoglycemia or insulin resistance, digestion issues, variation in energy, sleep cycles, focusing concerns, and emotional health. Women also have external demands as a mother, professional, athlete and wife such as expectations to perform well, look great, give and care for others, be sexual, excel at work, and take care of the home 100% of the time.
I have 20 years of expertise in Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) for women. I am one of the first doctors in Colorado utilizing BHRT for women in the form of compounded creams, sublinguals, suppositories and pellet implants as well as commercial bio-identical patches, pills and injections. I have been able to help women of all ages and in all stages optimize their health with this treatment over the years.
However, the truth is, hormones alone won’t work well if a woman’s foundational health is not taken care of. By foundational health I mean: digestion, nutritional status, stabilizing sleep, eliminating toxins, reducing inflammation, balancing blood sugar, getting regular exercise, stress management, and finding passion. Hormones won’t work alone. The fountain of youth is actually your foundational health status.
The foundation of my approach to women’s health is based upon a clinical hierarchy informed by naturopathic principles:
- Behavioral support
- Nutritional guidance
- Supplements to enhance and supplement baseline health
- Prescriptions when necessary
Women’s Health at NatureMed: What to Expect
Initial 90 minute visit: This visit is critical to our work together. I look forward to learning about my patients in this visit, not only their health concerns but also the background and history of their life and health. These details help me determine what testing and treatments are necessary short-term and long-term.
Physical Exam: Weight, Blood Pressure, and pertinent exam based upon the health complaints as basic medical practice. For those women who need it, I do offer PAP exams and breast exams however, most patients utilize their PCP/Insurance provider for this service. I do not do interventional gynecology.
Genetic testing: Although much is discovered in a good initial visit and history, today there has been so much advancement in epigenetics, that this testing can help me tremendously in optimizing a woman’s health and identifying preventative measures.
Comprehensive blood work: The blood workup that I require of patients involves not only the basics that you may get at your annual PCP visit, but more. For example: basic nutrients, comprehensive thyroid function, advanced screening for inflammation and anemia, blood glucose regulation (beyond just fasting blood glucose), advanced lipid profiles, and more. We have established good relationships with our labs and are able to offer very good pricing for those without insurance or with high deductibles.
Nutritional counseling: My specialty as a naturopathic doctor is food as medicine first. This is where it all starts. I will spend a lot of time helping women discover how to eat and what to eat to optimize health. There is no single best diet for everyone. Each patient is unique with genetic specialty, ethical beliefs, activity levels, food intolerances and more.
Exercise prescription and details: My background in coaching and competitive athletics coupled with a bachelors in Kinesiology give me an immense amount of knowledge in how to help women get fit. Although I do not exercise with patients, I do give specific exercise prescriptions to get women started or to shape the programs they already have. I enjoy working with coaches and trainers to help my patients achieve their physical performance goals.
Hormones and testing: Above any tests given are a woman’s symptoms. No matter their age or stage, we as doctors do not need testing to inform us on where a woman may be hormonally. There is a place for hormone testing but all hormone testing has its faults. A careful history and listening to patients is where medicine starts and in combination with testing will help to fine tune outcomes. I do use the DUTCH hormone test where appropriate as well as blood testing and some salivary testing.
Supplements: Although I do use supplements as alternatives to prescription drugs whenever possible as well as to support known deficiencies, I would say that I more often take patients off an overwhelming amount of supplements or help to tailor their supplement regime. The reality is that food and lifestyle come first. I target my supplement recommendations where they need to be in a way that works for my patient.
Prescriptions: Despite my medical training and due to the scope of practice limitations in Colorado for naturopathic doctors I cannot write prescriptions. I do work closely with an MD in our clinic to provide prescriptions to my patients. For BHRT of course these are always bio-identical preparations whether they are compounded or commercial products. For thyroid, I remain open to what is best for the patient, glandular thyroid preparations or the commercial products. Obtaining these items from my practice does require a visit with our MD on staff.