Managing PCOS- Teen Years to Menopause [Expert Interview] - PCOS Diva
Managing PCOS- Teen Years to Menopause [Expert Interview]

WPCOS Podcast 35 Dr. Kirschlingomen diagnosed with PCOS are often told that they will suffer the symptoms their entire lives. Dr. Meaghan Kirschling and Health Coach Wendy Borhauer, founders of Beyond the Basics Health Academy, disagree.  Diagnosis is just the first step toward balance and healing. Whether you are a teenager being told you will “grow out of it” or woman in menopause, there are actions you can take today to begin healing. Listen in as we discuss:

  • Signs, symptoms and treatment of PCOS in adolescents
  • Why women with PCOS often feel better than ever during menopause
  • 3 foods to avoid in order to lose weight and balance hormones
  • Why and when you should detox
  • How your relationship with food affects PCOS, no matter your age
  • The supplements they recommend
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A full transcript follows.
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kirshling

Dr. Meaghan Kirschling, DC. APRN. RN. MS

Dr. Meaghan Kirschling, has both an allopathic and alternative medical background, receiving a Doctor of Chiropractic from Northwestern Health Sciences University, a B.S. in Nursing and Exercise Science from Valparaiso University, a Masters of Nutrition from the University of Connecticut Bridgeport, and a Masters of Nursing in Women’s Health from University of Cincinnati. Before coming to Synapse is 2006, she worked as a floor nurse for six years in the Organ Transplant Unit at the University of Minnesota Fairview Hospital. In 2010, she moved to Germany to be one of the first doctors to provide chiropractic services to military personnel overseas. At Baumholder Health Clinic, she helped create an integrative environment & worked closely with MDs, DOs, PTs, & others. She also was a faculty member for the University of Maryland during this time, & taught health science classes.

borhauerWendy Borhauer, CHHC

Wendy Borhauer is a Holistic Health Coach, who studied at Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York. Wendy has a background in training and mentoring, and a passion for health and nutrition which made a natural transition into health coaching. Wendy continues to focus her learning on hormones, toxins and organics. When Wendy met, Dr. Meaghan, the final piece of the puzzle was put into place, which became Beyond the Basics Health Academy.

For more information about Beyond the Basics Health Academy, Dr. Meaghan, or Wendy, visit their website.

 

 Full Transcript:

Amy: Hello, and welcome to another edition of the PCOS Diva Podcast. I’m Amy Medling. I’m a certified Health Coach, and I’m the founder of PCOS Diva. Today, we’re going to be talking about PCOS across a woman’s lifespan. We’re going to be paying particular attention to sort of the time frame that I think is forgotten often with PCOS and is not really talked about as we move beyond our reproductive years. That’s women that are in perimenopause and menopause.

 

I’ve invited Dr. Meaghan Kirschling and Health Coach Wendy Borhauer to talk about this subject. I want to welcome both of our guests.

 

Wendy: Thank you.

 

Dr. Meaghan: Hello. How are you?

 

Amy: I wanted to tell our audience just a little bit about both of your backgrounds. Dr. Meaghan has both an allopathic and alternative medical background. She’s a doctor of chiroprachtic, and she also has her BS in Nursing and Exercise Science, as well as a Masters in Nutrition and a Masters in Nursing.

 

Wendy is a holistic health coach, like myself. She’s also a graduate of the Institute of the Integrative Nutrition. Her focus is on learning hormones, toxins, and organics, and mentoring her clients through making appropriate lifestyle change.

 

Again, welcome both to the PCOS Diva Podcast.

 

Wendy: Thank you.

 

Dr. Meaghan: Thanks, Amy.

 

Amy: I also wanted to highlight your really fantastic website called Beyond the Basics Health Academy. Before we dive into our subject, I was hoping that you could tell listeners about that great resource.

 

Dr. Meaghan: Wendy and I have put together a website. It’s based on a lot of the same philosophies of PCOS Diva, where really education and information is key for a lot of people. We’re in a time where there’s a lot of people that know that there’s dysfunction in their lives. They’re not as healthy as they can be. They’re not necessarily getting the answers from even traditional medical, or that they’re not getting an actual disease diagnosis. They’re sort of stuck there in between.

 

What we’ve done is we’ve built a website that’s based on a podcast, blog, and then also courses to try to give people that bridge of information so that they can be their own advocate. They can be their own resource. Knowledge is power, and being healthy is very powerful. I think it’s really important that people take some of that into their own hands through education and what not. As people, this is Dr. Meaghan speaking right now, and one of the things you probably noticed is I have a lot of letters after my name from a lot of schools. I don’t think people have to go to as much school as me, or get as many student loans as I did in order to educate themselves and allow themselves to know more about how their bodies work, both during health, and then also when disease or dysfunction kicks in. We’ve really built a website I think with that in mind.

 

Wendy: Educating globally.

 

Dr. Meaghan: Yep. Then we have a sister company where we’re trying to find other providers that people can treat locally, so trying to bring together kind of a community across the board on different health topics. Women’s health is definitely one of the topics that we’ve really focused on. I think it might have to do with the fact that Wendy and I are both women.

 

Wendy: Yeah. Could be.

 

Dr. Meaghan: We work a lot with women. When we talk about women and women’s needs, there’s a lot of things that go into it, from hormonal balance to family structure, the friends we surround ourselves with, the environment that we’re in. We like to sort of tackle all of those in sort of a fun, but educational way.

 

Amy: I really would recommend listeners to check out that site. I know women with PCOS that have found me really love information about essential oils and PCOS, or just essential oils in general. You have some really fantastic podcasts. I noticed one of your recent ones is about frankincense. Definitely, please, go check that out. One of the reasons I invited both Wendy and Dr. Meaghan onto the podcast is they really approach health and healing from this holistic point of view, as Dr. Meaghan was explaining.

 

I find that practitioners that treat women with PCOS that are looking at the whole woman seem to have much more success. I think they’re much more relatable, and I think they’re perfect to join us as we talk about PCOS through a woman’s lifespan.

 

Maybe you could start, Dr. Meaghan, and kind of walk us through some of the typical signs and symptoms of whatever you’re seeing in adolescents that come to you. Then we’ll dive into that forgotten woman. What happens during that perimenopause and menopause time?

 

Dr. Meaghan: I think that’s so perfect, too, because PCOS obviously does have different manifestations throughout the lifespan. Usually these are women that right from the start, they have problems with their menstrual cycle. They know. Whether or not they get their menstrual cycle and then they don’t have it again for three years, or right around puberty they have excessive weight gain. Then they start to see the other signs and symptoms like facial hair or acne.

 

They a lot of times will go looking for solutions, but one of the solutions that’s given is, “Well, you’ll grow out of it.” Let your hormones balance themselves, and possibly in a couple years, you won’t be dealing with this. It’s sort of one of those things. When you’re young and you’re going through these kinds of things, then you just sort of think, “Okay, well, somebody of authority told me this. I’m okay. I’ll be fine.”

 

What happens then is that a lot of times I find that women don’t really take charge of PCOS until fertility comes to be an issue in that reproductive age. They’ve been told the old, “You’ll just work through this.” Some are very lucky to get a diagnosis and be told, “Okay, this is what’s happening. This is what we can do.” Even in that situation, I sometimes see, “Okay, well, we can put you on this. We can do that, and then we’ll deal with it when you want to get pregnant.”

 

Then what happens, though, is that we go through then and work with the woman with PCOS on fertility. I find that we take an approach with PCOS that we do with a lot of other things where one size sort of fits all. Instead of approaching these women and finding out where the insulin and blood sugar problem comes into play, and balancing that, and balancing hormones, getting progesterone up, decreasing testosterone, those hormonal imbalances that we see, we just sort of throw that checkbook fertility care at them when there is so much more that they can do: diet, lifestyle, all the things that you talk about on PCOSDiva.com. That is just such powerful resources, and things that really do make a difference.

 

If we can get to the root of the problem. If we can get to blood sugar and insulin, and balancing the body, getting the body back into a balance, then fertility and things like that are going to happen easier. They’re going to even have better results if they do need traditional medical, and fertility drugs, and things like that.

 

Then I see that usually then, it’s now on the radar, but then the women will go through. A lot of times I still see where PCOS is one of those diseases where it’s just sort of managed, if even that, for lack of a better word. People just live with it, or what they say, live within it. They’re sort of told, “Well, this is just sort of something you’re going to have to live with. There’s nothing really we can do unless we can give you some Metformin or sometimes Spironolactone or those kinds of medicines to try to change some of the pathways.” At the end of the day, once PCOS, always PCOS.

 

Really, what it comes down to, and you talked about this on the podcast coming out, podcast 100, Beyond the Basics that you’re on, is that one of the things is that, “Don’t accept that truth. Don’t accept that as the end all to be all.” Definitely, there are a lot of things that you can do, and there are things that you can do to get control of PCOS.

 

Then, moving ahead to perimenopause and menopause, I find that this is sort of the forgotten woman. There’s a lot of different reasons. One of the reasons, I think, is that PCOS really was not on the radar until about fifteen, twenty years ago. There are so many women that were dealing with this metabolic concern and this fertility concern and this hormone imbalance. What was happening is that they weren’t getting a diagnosis. They never even really knew that they had PCOS. Then they go into perimenopause and menopause. The one thing that I really see in this population is weight gain.

 

They have learned that they have to do specific things. This especially goes with the women that haven’t had the diagnosis of PCOS. Maybe they struggled a little bit with fertility, but they were able to get pregnant, so they didn’t think much of it. They had facial hair. They had acne. They just were told that was their norm. Then they go into perimenopause and menopause, and they get a lot of excessive weight gain. These are people that have learned that they need to eat really healthy, restrict sugars, restrict carbs, take out gluten and dairy, and those kinds of things. All of a sudden they’re gaining weight when that hormone shifts again, and their reserve is shut down.

 

Then what happens a lot of times is that they’ll go in, they might go into the OB/Gyn, too, because they might start to get more painful periods. They might start to get more heavy bleeding because those hormones shift in the body and the cellular response to hormone shifts. Then they’re all of a sudden told, “Well, this is just norm.” Again, this is their normal.

 

A lot of times, though, when they come to me and we start to take a look and we realize that we need to address them now as a perimenopausal woman and not a reproductive age woman, they’re hormone levels might not be off as much as a reproductive-age woman. It’s harder to diagnose, but you still will find changes in their insulin and their blood sugar, maybe their hemoglobin A1C, and their hormones, especially if we check the more functional approach like saliva or urine. Then to treat them then, in a PCOS way of really balancing out hormones and insulin and get phenomenal results. It’s a comprehensive, individual approach that I’m finding a lot of people aren’t taking and this does then become this forgotten population of PCOS women. They never got a diagnosis. They’re going into that stage of more silent hormones in the sense of their hormones are no longer going to be at the higher level that we might see that makes it diagnosable. At the perimenopausal and menopausal stage, they’re definitely finding that we need to address.

 

Amy: I don’t know, Wendy, if you can chime in. What are you telling, and I know it’s not the one size fits all approach, but maybe you could take a specific client that you could think about. What kind of lifestyle recommendations are you working with that client to help her lose the weight and balance the hormones in conjunction with what Dr. Meaghan is doing as well.

 

Wendy: To kind of jump off what Dr. Meaghan said as well is the diet. The diet is really such a core thing that you have to get your head around. Eating healthy makes a huge difference. Cutting out those carbs, minimizing the carbs. A lot of people have a really difficult time giving those up. Just get off of them as best you can, or eliminating them one hundred percent. Also, the dairy. I find women specifically, as we get older, as we age, dairy becomes more of an issue. I know more and more, dairy producers are taking out the hormones, but just eliminating dairy, eliminating gluten, eliminating carbohydrates. It really seems to make a huge difference for so many, not even just women, but for so many people, in general.

 

It really seems to take away the swelling, the inflammation, the brain fog, and it allows you to really, I think, then, figure out what any underlying symptoms are that you still may have. There are women that, once they eliminate or change their diet, they can focus so much better on “Is there still something else that needs adjustment? Is there something else that still needs to be addressed?” At that point, you can direct people to a functional medicine provider for additional recommendations or medications or essential oils, that type of thing. I think really, just so many things, eighty percent diet. I truly believe in eighty percent of how our body reacts is we have to put that good in, and it’s twenty percent exercise.

 

We find that women with PCOS are possibly even coming into menopause a little bit later because their cycles are different. Their hormones are a little bit more fluctuated and a little bit different. They may not even know that I’m starting to go into menopause or what’s actually going on here.

 

You know, nothing is ever normal for the PCOS woman. They always feel like they’re just a little bit outside of normal. So many women take for granted normal cycles and normal ovulation. I hate to categorize it as normal, but so many people take that for granted. For those of us who, we go five months without a period, or we get those horrible aches and pains and bloating and just the all over body inflammation. These are important things to be recognizing, be journaling about. I’m a huge proponent of taking down what are you eating every day. Within a half an hour or an hour, write them down. How does that make you feel? What is the difference? Do you note if it’s better or worse for you?

 

I think for me, it’s really more about clean eating, mindful eating, journaling. Then if, after you’ve made all those changes, once those changes are made, if there’s something else that still needs to be remedied or something that you can send them to a functional medicine provider, or maybe even work in conjunction with their primary care physician.

 

Dr. Meaghan: There’s two points I really want to sort of piggyback off with what Wendy said. Dairy in PCOS is something. I’d be interested to see what you say about this, Amy, and what you’ve found working with your clients. I find dairy is one of the big culprits of PCOS, and I do believe it has a lot to do with the mucus-producing effect of dairy itself.

 

Amy: Yeah.

 

Dr. Meaghan: It can lead to more cyst formation and just cause more of that mucus production that occurs in ovaries. Our ovaries and our reproductive organs are mucus-producing organs.

 

Amy: Interesting. Yeah, right.

 

Dr. Meaghan: Then also, the other thing that I want to say is that sometimes in this perimenopausal, menopausal stage, women’s hormones will finally feel balanced in a PCOS woman because they’re finally getting into a situation where some of their hormone productions changing that increased estrogen. That estrogen dominance is coming down. They’re not producing as much in the ovaries, so it’s decreasing that gap between estrogen and progesterone that we see so often in PCOS. Sometimes these women will start to feel hormonally balanced.

 

Wendy: Right, normal.

 

Dr. Meaghan: Yeah.

 

Wendy: Which is a bad thing, again, to say, but they do, and they’re like, “Oh, my gosh, now what’s wrong with me.”

 

Dr. Meaghan: Yeah.

 

Wendy: “This is a complete shift in how I’ve adapted to my life previously.”

 

Dr. Meaghan: Yes. So that is something that I see, too. Again, definitely everybody has their different journey, but I do see that every once in a while where women will come in and they’ll say, “I actually now feel a little bit more balanced and feel a little bit better now that I’m going through some of the cycle changes.

 

Amy: Yeah, and I think your point about dairy is so true. I think it’s also the casomorphin in the dairy, the protein, the A1 casein. It hits your digestion, and a part of it breaks off to become casomorphin. It acts like an opiate. I’ll tell you, it’s so hard for women to give up cheese because of that opiate-like effect. We become addicted to cheese.

 

I don’t know, Wendy, if you find this with some of your clients, but I think dairy becomes kind of a comfort. It’s almost like a warm hug. You sit down to a bowl of ice cream or crackers and cheese, and there’s something really comforting. That’s why I think for women, especially like in their forties, you kind of have to rediscover yourself. What are the things that really bring you joy and pleasure? Start doing those activities. Sometimes I think that the joy that you feel from really engaging in your life, you lose sort of that craving for dairy. I don’t know if that makes any sense.

 

Wendy: Perfect sense. So many times, and I’ve talked about this previously. So many things in our lives revolve around food, meals, as a social gathering. Think about Easter. Think about Thanksgiving, and about Christmas dinner, and Fourth of July picnics. We gear our lives so many times around these type of celebrations that food becomes memories. Food becomes just a social way of life. Yes, dairy, and the cheese and the crackers, and the hors d’oeurvres plates, and the ice cream celebration. Yes, it actually is something that you have to learn how to break away from that and realize that there’s more to that than just the underlying “food is giving you comfort,” because it’s really not. It’s the memories that you’re making.

 

Dr. Meaghan: I think so much of it has sort of, I call it, an abusive relationship with food, in the sense of we will be in denial that it’s causing us harm.

 

Wendy: Right.

 

Dr. Meaghan: We’ll be in denial that, “Yes, that cheese did feel so comforting going down, but three hours later” –

 

Wendy: “I was so sick.”

 

Dr. Meaghan: – “I didn’t feel good. I was sick.” The fact is that sometimes with these sensitivities, it doesn’t come until the next day, so you’re like, “It’s not the cheese.”

 

Wendy: Right.

 

Dr. Meaghan: “It’s not the cheese. It must have been the broccoli I ate last night. It could not have been the cheese.” That’s where that food journal does become powerful. You can start to see patterns. Okay, every time I eat cheese, I am sick the next day. Also, it’s something that I am at fault for is that there are a lot of times that we just have an abusive relationship with food. There’s a food that we love, and we don’t want to think that they’re not good for us. This time of year, those jellybeans couldn’t possibly be causing problems.

 

I just think that it is a matter of everybody’s different. It’s figuring out what your foods are, and then just realizing that you’re worth making those changes for yourself. There are other options than cheese. I always tell people, “I know that whenever you take out a food the first two weeks, it feels like, “What am I going to do? What am I going to eat?”

 

Wendy: What am I going to eat?

 

Dr. Meaghan: “I can’t have my grilled cheese, I can’t do this.” Then after two weeks it’s almost amazing how easy it is. You don’t even realize how much you miss it. I know that those changes at the beginning, I think the first two weeks you’re sort of in a denial stage. You’re sort of in that anger stage, like, “Oh, geez, I’ve got to find an alternative.” Then after that, you feel so much better that you don’t look back.

 

I know with my patients, I really focus on saying, “Okay, let’s do this for two weeks. Then let’s have a serious conversation about how you feel.” Usually after two weeks, you’ll at least see some positive, where if you come back two days later, they’re going to be like, “Nope. I’m not noticing anything. I’m not noticing anything, so can I go back to that cheese, or whatever food it is.”

 

Amy: Yeah, and I think that nothing tastes as good as feeling good feels. I know certainly for me that’s the case. Just to bring this part of our conversation full circle, there’s a lot of women that are saying, “Okay, I’m beyond my reproductive years, or I don’t want to get pregnant. Do I still need to go gluten-free? Do I still need to go dairy-free?” I think the three of us can agree that yes, because it causes a lot of inflammation. If you are feeling better on a gluten-free, dairy-free diet, then you really should stick with it for the remainder of your time. I know that I’m going to be sticking with gluten-free, dairy-free because I just feel better. I can enjoy my life better.

 

Wendy: Yeah, absolutely. You can’t think about it as deprivation. You need to think about it as how amazing, you know, a lot of people don’t really realize how bad they feel until they feel amazing, right? I’m sure you’ve noticed that with your clients as well.

 

Amy: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Wendy: Oh, I just feel fine. I feel fine. It’s just not that big of a deal, but once they finally have made that break and turn their brain into a completely different way of thinking. Now all of a sudden, they’re like, “I had no idea how badly it really affected me. Now I feel great, and I just don’t want to go back to it.” If they have a mishap and accidentally fall off, and they go, “Well, it will just be fine.” Then they’re really –

 

Dr. Meaghan: Yeah, and then they have a big reaction.

 

Wendy: Yep, and then I think that that kind of focuses people as well.

 

Dr. Meaghan: That’s a good thing to remember, too. If it’s in your diet every day, and you’re having that reaction every day, it’s a low-grade reaction in the sense of it’s easy to ignore. If you take it out, and then put it back in a couple weeks later, it is an in-your-face reaction.

 

The other thing I want to say, too, is the reason why I really do like to work and work a lot with perimenopausal and menopausal women to say, “Okay, I really do think that this metabolic concern of PCOS, this hormonal imbalance of PCOS, is something that you’ve had for a long time, really your whole life. It’s manifested over a long period of time. Let’s do these specific tests, and let’s test you.”

 

The reason why I think it’s so important is because I sort of believe that sort of that perimenopausal, menopausal age is that age where you really should be a butterfly coming out into a whole new life. You’ve raised kids. You’ve had your job. Those should be your glory years. Those should be the years that you’re feeling great, doing what you want to do, and just really flying high.

 

Wendy: Really, just to quote Amy, “You’re now at your Diva state.”

 

Amy: Yeah.

 

Wendy: Right? I mean, you really are. Everything about you. You’ve advocated for yourself for so long. You’ve raised your family. You’ve become this successful, positive, intuitive woman. You know yourself, and you’re finally recognizing who you are. Now you’re this Diva, and you need to own that period of your life. Be happy, and be fulfilled, and just be amazing.

 

Dr. Meaghan: That is one thing I think both Wendy and I sort of relay to people in this time frame is that one of the reasons why it’s so important is because probably one of the other reasons why this might have gone undiagnosed or untreated is because women are so good at taking care of other people, especially mothers.

 

I see this all the time. I can have a mother come into my office who can barely stand upright because she has the cold and the flu. She’s like, “Can you please help my child because he has an ingrown toenail,” or something like that. You spent so long with other people’s needs that I really think, especially at this time of life, to focus on yourself. The best years of your life are ahead of you.

 

Amy: I totally agree, especially being forty-four. I’ve been focused on that.

 

Let’s shift the conversation a bit. I wanted to talk about two things. I want to talk about toxins, and I know that we’re getting in their forties and beyond think that toxic load that we’re exposed to, all these endocrine-disrupting toxins, can really wreak havoc for the perimenopausal, menopausal woman. I know I’m working on a functional food-based detox program, but I’m just curious if that’s part of your dialogue with your perimenopause, menopausal patients?

 

Wendy: Yeah. Absolutely, for both Meaghan and I. It’s funny, Meaghan and I just had this conversation last night about doing an estrogen detox. Women of all ages, really, should be doing an estrogen detox. Some more than others.

 

Dr. Meaghan: But yearly.

 

Wendy: Yeah. Yearly is not maybe bi-

 

Dr. Meaghan: Spring and fall is another great time. Our bodies are sort of meant to detox in the spring and the fall. If you actually look at the way that our bodies go along with the cycles of the seasons, spring and fall. Spring cleaning should happen in your body, too. One of the things is I do highly recommend that both Wendy and I do a more comprehensive detox, estrogen-based plus getting the liver geared up and making sure the gut and everything else is working. A lot of times, after that, just still go ahead and recommend that people do this once a year, twice a year, depending on their schedule. Some people are like, “I really think I only want to do this once a year.” Well, that’s better than nothing, so I’m very happy with that.

 

Wendy: Meaghan and I, really, we’re huge advocates of cleaning out your house, cleaning out your cupboards, switching your life over from the BPAs to the more safe food storage methods. Meaghan is a huge fan of coffee enemas, and just all types –

 

Dr. Meaghan: Wendy will be someday soon. Wendy’s a soon-to-be fan of coffee enemas.

 

Wendy: Just detoxification in general because of all of the lotions and the perfumes and the products that we use on our body, everything that we’re constantly be assaulted on a daily basis, you must, must, must detox.

 

Dr. Meaghan: I actually have a very good, I think that this will resonate will a lot of people, story about, and I’ve worked with a couple patients like this because being in Minnesota, I have a lot of farmers. One of the things, I’m working with a family right now, and the woman has been going to somebody else for hormone replacement for a year and a half, and they’ve been doing an exceptional job. She came to me because she’s not really feeling any different. I just had a conversation with her. I said, “To tell you the truth, yes, there’s some things that I can fine-tune, but if I really look at the big picture, we’re missing the big picture.” I asked her, “Are you exposed to any environmental estrogens?” Her whole pathway was just sort of shut down. She said, “Yes, I am a farmer.”

 

I didn’t know it until I had asked her. She then said, “You know, the amount of chemicals, the Round-up, and the other estrogen-mimickers and hormone-mimickers that she’d been exposed to, she went through the list. Her whole pathway, like even the pre-cursor, the main thing that we were finding was that pre-cursor, which is DHEA, she wasn’t able to get her levels up, even with significant, actually prescription, DHEA.

 

That’s where I said, “Okay, I think the obvious thing here is that we don’t need to necessarily keep going after your hormones and these endpoints, we need to go after what’s shutting it down.” That’s a huge takeaway for a lot of people. I know not a lot of people are necessarily exposed to that level, but we are exposed to the foods. We are exposed to just environmental ones. It’s in our air. It’s in our ground, and we have lifetime accumulation.

 

We need to make sure then that we’re not just looking at, “Okay, let’s balance the hormones.” Let’s also deal with the things that we’ve been exposed to because none of us can live in a bubble that we need to cleanse and get rid of so that we’re not shutting down the pathways who are trying to also support us. I tell people, “There’s no reason to put on the gas while we put on the brakes. Let’s go after both.”

 

Wendy: Yep.

 

Amy: Yeah, that’s great advice. I like that analogy. I get a lot of questions about, from women, that, “Now I’m not interested in getting pregnant anymore. I’ve had my family. Do I still need to take supplements for PCOS now that I’m in my perimenopause, menopausal years?” I think a lot of supplements, they had names like OvaBoost or Ovasitol, those are two inositol supplements that come to mind. They’re focused on that kind of the term of ovulation.

 

What are your thoughts on supplementation for women in these years with PCOS?

 

Dr. Meaghan: That’s a great question. I’m glad you asked it, too, because it’s one of the major questions.

 

One of the things to remember, and I say this to people because I’ve gotten that about Ovasitol myself, is that they’re like, “Well, this sort of sounds like it’s if you want to ovulate and get pregnant.” Remember, too, though, a name is just a name. It’s more about the mechanism of action. I think it’s really important to remember that the main thing about PCOS, and one of the main underlying causes is that there’s that dysregulation in insulin and blood sugar and the cell receptor of insulin, which also puts you at increased risk for cholesterol and other metabolic concerns, weight around the middle, cortisol and that stress hormone.

 

Those are the things that we want to make sure that we balance out, especially as you go into a phase in your life where the hormones are going to dim down. A lot of times when those hormones dim down, sometimes those imbalances, then, start to shine through more. You do want to assess the imbalances. We want to then go after and balance them out. I love inositol. I think the mechanism of action and the research behind it is amazing. Berberine is another one that there’s a lot of research behind, and even compares it a lot to Metformin. Then there’s a lot of essential oils, and different things that you can do with essential oils. I know there’s lots of information on your page, too, about different essential oils you can use.

 

Even though the goal might not be fertility, the endpoint is still the same. We want your body to be in balance. It isn’t just the hormones. It is also the blood sugar, the insulin, the stress responses of cortisol. We want your body to be at peace. A lot of those supplements might have names that are geared toward fertility because there’s just a lot of women that that’s sort of their focus.

 

Wendy: Focus.

 

Dr. Meaghan: I don’t want to say it’s marketing, but it’s sort of the branding or way of getting to the population they want to get to.

 

Amy: Yep.

 

Dr. Meaghan: It doesn’t mean that that’s not your end goal, that they’re still not the mechanism that will support your body and help to balance you out.

 

Amy: You had mentioned women with PCOS are hitting menopause later, and we’re ovulating still. That’s what we want our bodies to do, so even if it is Ovasitol. One of the things is quality egg production, but that’s just one of the benefits of inositols. We want to be ovulating as long as we can because that’s how our bodies are designed.

 

Dr. Meaghan: Yes, that’s a perfect point, too. A lot of times, we only think of wanting ovulation when it will serve us a purpose of getting pregnant, but it serves as a purpose long after that. Yes, that’s a great point.

 

Wendy: Yeah, and it keeps you regulated, and we do want to keep the cortisol down. We don’t want our bodies in that constant state of stress because then we can’t ever just regulate and just relax and just be at peace. It’s still important to continue to take those supplements or those essential oils and just keep the body the way the body is just meant to be, in a relaxed state.

 

Amy: Well, I would love to dive into essential oils, but I think that I’m going to have to invite you to come on to another podcast where we just talk PCOS and essential oils. How does that sound?

 

Dr. Meaghan: That’s terrific.

 

Amy: That would be great. I would love for you both to leave us with a message of hope for women with PCOS in this stage of life.

 

Dr. Meaghan: I would say that my number one thing that I tell patients is, “Be your own advocate.” I’m a big, big, big promoter of be your own advocate. That means really, if you know something’s not right, no matter where you are in the stage of the game, the lifespan, what not, listen to your body. Nobody knows your body as well as you do. I have some great stories from women that have gone looking for answers. One of my favorites is the patient that said she went to a doctor and said, “This and this and this is going on.” He didn’t do any testing, and he looked straight at her and said, “Nothing’s wrong.” She turned back and said, “No, something’s wrong. You just don’t know what it is.” She turned it back on him, which I just, A, love that kind of sass, and B, I just love the fact about being your own advocate.

 

There is great resources and information out there. Build a team that you feel comfortable working with, and there are answers. Make sure that people are listening. I think that a lot of times we just don’t listen to other people. People have great stories to tell. I really, really promote that patient advocate, and be your number one supporter.

 

Amy: Absolutely. Go ahead, Wendy.

 

Wendy: For me, too, advocacy, I always preach advocacy. You are going to always be your own best resource to do what you think is right for you, but I also believe wholeheartedly in building your own support system. The more people that you have around you, that understand you and can get behind you and to help you, to lift you up, to empower you to be a better you, I think is a phenomenal resource to have as well.

 

We as women, we tend to be more nurturing. We have these relationships that we have good days and bad days together. I think that just the power of having your people, your tribe, around you is a huge benefit no matter where you are in life, and no matter what you’re going through.

 

Dr. Meaghan: Sometimes you need to detox people.

 

Wendy: Absolutely.

 

Dr. Meaghan: It might mean take some people off that phone list.

 

Wendy: Right.

 

Amy: Great, great advice. If a woman listening is interested in more information about your practice, how can she get in touch with you?

 

Dr. Meaghan: I would say the best place to start is BTBHA.com. It stands for Beyond the Basics Health Academy, but then BTBHA.com is usually the easiest place to find us, or you can spell it out. There is an “ask us” section, or you can send an email to info@btbha.com. Lots of information there, but that would probably be the best if you have any questions. There’s information on both Wendy and I on the site, and then how to contact us. I would say that would be the easiest and best way to find either one of us.

 

Amy: Okay, and I will definitely list that URL underneath the podcast in the notes section. We will have you back to talk about essential oils because that’s a very popular topic on PCOS Diva, if you’d like to join us again.

 

Dr. Meaghan: Yes, we definitely would.

 

Amy: Great. Well, thank you both for coming on the PCOS Diva podcast. Thank you, everyone, for listening. I just want to highlight that I have two great speakers lined up in the coming month, Dr. Mark Ratner. He is the medical director for Theralogix, and he’s going to be talking about inositols. He’s also a male fertility expert, so we’re going to talk a little about male fertility and how to improve that. We also have Dr. Rashmi Kudesia joining us again. She is a reproductive endocrinologist, and we’re going to be talking about IVF for the PCOS patient.

 

If you would like to subscribe to the podcast so that you don’t miss one, you can do that at iTunes. You can also check back at PCOSDiva.com. Thank you, everyone, for listening, and I look forward to being with you again soon.

 

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