The Women’s Health Whisperer
Hear from Dr. Kelly Parcell
Women’s health is a passion of mine. No matter a woman’s age, the demands from within her body, and her environment, are high. The internal dynamic changes going on within a woman’s 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. These expectations could include performing well, looking great, giving and caring for others, being sexual, excelling at work, and taking care of the home 100% of the time.
I have over 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 addressed. By foundational health I mean: digestion, nutrition, sleep, eliminating toxins, reducing inflammation, balancing blood sugar, exercise, stress management, and finding passion. Hormones won’t work alone. The fountain of youth is actually your foundational health status.
My approach to women’s health is based upon a clinical hierarchy informed by the Naturopathic principles:
- Behavioral support
- Nutritional guidance
- Supplements to enhance and supplement baseline health
- Prescriptions when necessary
Upcoming Women’s Health Program: Vital Female
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 and blood pressure are recorded, and a pertinent exam is conducted based upon any health complaints as basic medical practice. For those women who need it, I do offer PAP and breast exams; however, most patients utilize their PCP for this as we do not bill insurance. I do not practice interventional gynecology.
Genetic testing: Although much is discovered in a good initial visit and patient 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. I discuss this with my patients during the visit.
Comprehensive blood work: The blood workup that I require of patients involves not only the basic fasting labs that you may have undergone at your annual PCP visit, but also includes:
- Complete blood cell panel of white and red blood cell indicies
- Comprehensive metabolic panel looking at liver, kidney, key nutrients, protein
- Advanced Lipids and Inflammation markers
- Complete thyroid panel
- Hormones: testosterone, estradiol, DHEAs, SHBG, DHT, cortisol and progesterone
- Vitamin D3
- Vitamin B12
We have established good relationships with our lab partners 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 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 beyond the blood test: 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 the patient is where medicine starts, and when combined 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 more often take patients off an overwhelming amount of supplements or help tailor their supplement regime. The reality is that food and lifestyle come first. I target my supplement recommendations 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 work closely with the 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.