Nicole Jardim is a leading expert in the area of menstruation and women’s hormones. During our interview, we explored her work addressing the root cause of period abnormalities. Rather than simply treating or masking the symptoms, she strives to find the root of the irregularities and repair the problem naturally. She gives practical advice about figuring out why your period may be irregular and suggests the type of proactive changes you can make to start ovulating regularly and get your cycle sorted out. Listen in as we talk about:
- what is a normal period?
- what can your period tell you about your health?
- how and why to chart your cycle
- the relationship between estrogen dominance and your cycle
- the effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in our environment on your period
- is the pill a solution?
A complete transcript follows.
Nicole Jardim is a Young Women’s Hormonal Health Coach and creator of Fix Your Period, a series of programs that empower women to reclaim their hormonal health in a fun and sassy way. She runs a successful 1-on-1 and group coaching business and has helped thousands of women from all around the world who are struggling with PCOS, infertility, amenorrhea, PMS and much more.
Rather than treating problems or symptoms, Nicole treats women by addressing the root cause of what’s really going on in their bodies and minds. She passionately believes that the fundamentals to healing any hormonal imbalance lie in an approach that addresses the unique physiology of every woman. This is essential to reclaiming and maintaining feminine vitality at any age. Sign up here for her free 3-part video training series, Take Control of Your Period, Take Control of Your Life.
Read Nicole’s blog post about natural family planning and charting your cycle.
Apps for charting:Kindara – this has the best temperature tracking chartClue – I like the layout and the fact that they deliberately don’t use pink!Glow – gives indicators about how fertile you are each day of your cycleiPeriod – great basic period tracking appMy Moontime – I love that it syncs with the moon cycles.SGS supplement:Thorne Research Crucera SGS – Take 100mg every other day for 30 days and pay attention to any improvement in your symptoms. This typically helps with symptoms of estrogen dominance, like bloating, breast tenderness and pain, menstrual headaches or migraines, PMS mood issues, heavier periods and breakthrough bleeding/spotting.
Amy: Hello. This is Amy Medling. I’m a Certified Health Coach and founder of PCOS Diva, and I welcome you to another PCOS Diva podcast. Today, I am really excited to have Nicole Jardim with us today. She is a young women’s hormonal health coach and the creator of Fix Your Period. It’s a series of programs that empower women to reclaim their hormonal health in a fun and sassy way. I love that. She runs a successful one-on-one and group coaching business, and she’s helped thousands of women from all around the world who are struggling with PCOS, infertility, amenorrhea, PMS, and much more. I love that rather than treating problems or symptoms, Nicole treats women by addressing the root cause of what’s really going on in their bodies and minds. She passionately believes that the fundamentals to healing any hormone imbalance lies in an approach that addresses the unique physiology of every woman, and this is essential to reclaiming and maintaining feminine vitality at any age. I love your mission and message, Nicole. Welcome.
Nicole: Thank you so much, Amy. I’m so honored to be here chatting with you today. Thank you.
Amy: I wanted to kind of talk a little bit since your expertise is periods and you had this wonderful program about fixing your periods. I thought we could talk a little bit about periods today, and I hear from women often on my Facebook page and just reaching out via e-mail, asking about their period issues. As we all know, women with PCOS, and this is one of the diagnostic criteria is women with PCOS struggle with absent or irregular menstrual cycles. They may be ovulating not as often as they should or they may not be ovulating at all. Then on top of that, and I know as a women in my 20s who was really struggling with PCOS, I had some crazy periods. I would bleed for months on end, I would have breakthrough cycle bleeding where I’d have brown spotting in my cycles, and just really kind of irregular type of periods, and I’m hearing the same thing from a lot of PCOS divas out there.
I would love for you to kind of give us an idea of what a normal period or what we would be really striving for, and then maybe we can kind of talk about what’s going on with these irregular cycles.
Nicole: Yeah. I just want to preface it by saying that I never got a formal diagnosis of PCOS or anything like that, but I really struggled, too, so I can definitely relate to a lot of what women are talking about to you. I think that we don’t really know what an ideal cycle actually looks like, so I’m happy to do a walkthrough of what that is. I think it’s really good for women to understand what it is that they’re working toward. Basically, what you’d be looking for with an ideal cycle is for it to be anywhere from 25 to 35 days and not having a lot of variation within that. If your cycle is typically 28 to 30 days, that’s okay, but if it’s 25 days one month, then it’s 35 another month, and then back and forth like that, that’s something to pay attention to. Ideally, I can solve within that 10-day window and be considered a normal menstrual cycle.
If your cycle is 24 days or less, then what you might have is something called luteal phase defect. I really don’t like that term, but that’s what they call it. Essentially, all it means is that your luteal phase, which is that second half of your cycle after ovulation happens, is considered too short. It would be too short to either get pregnant or potentially stay pregnant. If your cycle is longer, which is the case for so many women who have PCOS. If it’s 36 days or longer consistently, then we basically call it a regular cycle, they’re amenorrhea, which is basically a cycle that’s longer than 36 days consistently. If that’s the case, then that is, as you were saying, one of the diagnostic criteria for PCOS.
If you’re going back to that luteal phase, again, ideally you’re looking for a luteal phase or that second half of your cycle to be anywhere from about 10 to 14 days long, and that will tell you whether you’ve had a fertile cycle or not. In addition to that, if your luteal phase is longer than those 14 days, typically, consistently, then it could indicate PCOS, as well, because, again, that just means that you are having a longer cycle than what is considered a normal or basically, yeah, consistent.
Anyway, what I was going to say about the length of the cycle. If you are consistently having these cycles that are longer than 36 days, it means that ovulation is either not occurring or it is just happening at a very late stage in your cycle, and that’s why I think charting your menstrual cycle is really important so you can understand what’s going on. I feel like that’s one of the first steps for women who are trying to get answers if they have PCOS or potentially some other condition along with PCOS, is to really start to get a clear understanding of what’s going on so that you can then make really informed decision about what’s happening with your body.
Also, I wanted to mention, too. If you have what is called a long follicular phase. The follicular phase is really that first half of your cycle, right before ovulation happens. It could indicate that you have high levels of estrogen, and this could push out ovulation, so this could prevent ovulation from happening when it’s supposed to, so that’s another sign of PCOS, again, because it’s causing delayed ovulation or preventing it completely from happening just because of the hormonal imbalance. Ultimately, our goal is to have a good balance or ratio between estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen and progesterone are the two main female sex hormones, and they’re the ones that play the pivotal roles in menstruation every single month.
The idea is to have a balanced ratio between those two. If they’re off, then we start to see these kinds of symptoms, either periods that are long when we have an ongoing period, because that’s another sign of PCOS, as well, and that’s typically a sign of estrogen dominance, where estrogen is too high in relation to progesterone, and what happens is we then see these ongoing periods, so periods that last longer than what you should be having. Typically, a period should be anywhere from about three to seven days, but some women, as you were saying earlier, have periods that go on for weeks at a time, and that’s usually a sign of an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone, where estrogen is too high in relation to progesterone.
Sorry, I feel like I could go on and on about all of that.
Amy: Let me just step back. You were talking about charting, and then I wanted to talk about estrogen dominance, too, in more detail. The charting, I can tell you that charting my cycles was how I was diagnosed with PCOS after struggling for years. I started probably around, I remember being a freshman in high school in singing class and feeling a hair pop out on my chin, and then having the period issues. I think I was having some early signs of PCOS at 14, but I was not diagnosed until I was aged 30, when I was doing fertility charting through the Creighton Model of natural family planning, and it was actually a nurse practitioner that was teaching the method that actually suggested that I might have PCOS based on my charting.
That was really an integral part of my PCOS journey to really be able to understand what was going on with my body through fertility charting. Maybe you could talk a little bit about what methods you like. Are there any apps out there? What do you recommend to your clients if they want to start charting their cycles?
Nicole: Oh, my goodness, I love this question. It’s so great. I am completely obsessed with charting my cycle and getting everyone in my life and all of my clients to do that, too, for precisely the reason that you just described, that it’s so incredibly empowering to have such a clear picture of what is happening in your body every single month. Again, too, it can diagnose so many things. For me, I use the fertility awareness method, and I’m very familiar with the Creighton model, as well, and a couple of others, too. The fertility awareness method is what I’ve used for probably almost 10 years now, and essentially, what you’re looking for are three different things. You’re looking at your basal body temperature every single day. What that is, is just your temperature upon awakening, and you use a basal body thermometer, which measures to the hundredths of a degree, your temperature in the morning.
When you start to see a pattern, what you will see is after you ovulate, your temperature actually goes up. This is incredibly useful information for someone who has an irregular cycle, especially if they are potentially trying to get pregnant or are trying to regulate their cycles. I’ve had so many women say to me that they started charting and just start making changes to their diet and their lifestyle and all of these things along with charting, and what they see is their temperatures spike or their temperature shift gets closer and closer to the middle of those cycles, the middle of where a typical cycle would be. Anywhere from days 12 to 17, typically, for ovulation.
It’s very exciting for them because you can see measurable results, and I think that that is very helpful for us, when we’re on a health journey, right? We want to be able to see some kind of improvement right before our eyes. Otherwise, it can become a little disheartening when you don’t see those immediate results. You’re looking to your temperature and then you’re looking at your cervical fluid, and that changes. Unfortunately, if you have PCOS, it can be a little confusing because typically you would have higher estrogen levels, which we can get to in a second, but essentially, what that will do is increase the cervical fluid that you see. However, there are ways to see a cervical fluid pattern. It just takes a little bit of time and patience with your own cycle.
As I was saying, when you ovulate, your cervical fluid changes quite a great deal. It’s going to become much more wetter, stretchier, almost like egg white, very watery, those are kind of what you’re looking for. Then it would potentially dry up for the rest of your cycle or it would get sticky and maybe a little bit creamy. There are a lot of symptoms to look for, and then the third thing is cervical position. That, essentially, means that you’re looking to … You’re feeling, more appropriately, to see where your cervix is, and it actually rises, it goes up higher during ovulation or during that ovulatory phase, whereas during the rest of your cycle, it actually sits lower, so you can actually feel for your cervical position.
Those are the three signs and symptoms that you’re looking for every single … Not every single day, but pretty much every day of the month, and then you’re able to formulate a chart and the signs and symptoms on this chart. What I use is an app on my phone, it’s called Kindara. There are quite a few others. I actually use four different apps because I’m kind of crazy, but I really like Kindara because of their chart, their actual temperature chart, I think it’s really clear and very easy to read. I also use Glow. I use Clue, as well. I like iPeriod. There’s another one called My Moontime, which is great, because it basically brings in the phases of the moon, which I really like a lot.
There are number, there’s so many apps now, it’s unbelievable, but those are the ones that I have found to be really useful and effective.
Amy: I’m going to ask you to just send me those and I’ll post them underneath this interview, as well as any other information you have about the fertility awareness method on your site. I can point listeners to those listeners. That would be great.
Nicole: That would be amazing. Absolutely. I’d love that.
Amy: Let’s talk about estrogen dominance. I think women with PCOS, we’re constantly hearing about elevated androgens and elevated testosterone, and low progesterone, but I think that that message of estrogen dominance and highers levels of estrogen kind of gets lost, and it’s, I think, a real critical piece of the puzzle. I’d love to, maybe you could just talk a little bit more about the relationship with estrogen dominance and your cycle, and then I know I have some tips that I give clients for helping to kind of bring that estrogen back in balance through diet and lifestyle, and we can share those with listeners. Why don’t you dig in with that topic?
Nicole: Okay. I know. There’s so much. I love it. Basically, when we’re taking a look at our menstrual cycle and coming back to what is considered a healthy menstrual cycle, however you want to put it, don’t like the word normal, but basically what you’re looking at is the yin and yang relationship between estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen, when we’re looking at that, it’s this growth hormone, it stimulates breast tissue, it stimulates our uterus, it stimulates our ovaries to grow eggs. When we have the other side of that with progesterone, progesterone is sort of inhibitory hormone, and when estrogen and progesterone are working together, they’re very yin and yang, and they’re in the right balance, everything works perfectly. Estrogen will do its stimulating job and then progesterone will inhibit the production of estrogen.
The problem is that we live in a very estrogenic environment, and I talked a lot about this on my blog, and I know you know about this, too. To me, it makes so much sense that there is such an increase in estrogen-dominant cancers and conditions in both men and women because of the endocrine-disrupting chemicals in our environment and in our food and in our dairy, and in our conventional meat, and all of these different foods and products. Coming back to that, estrogen dominance has become a real issue for both women and men, actually. What happens is in something like PCOS, we have days not necessarily elevated levels of estrogen, because it looks a couple of different ways. You can have high levels of estrogen and low levels of progesterone or high levels of estrogen and normal levels of progesterone, and you’re still considered estrogen dominant.
You can also actually have lower levels of estrogen but if your progesterone is not balanced with it and it’s even lower, then you’re still considered estrogen dominant. A lot of women think that they have to have a lot of estrogen in their bodies, but that’s not necessarily the case, they just might have very low progesterone levels and they still don’t balance each other out. What happens is estrogen does its job, it stimulates your ovaries to get eggs ready to be released, and then there’s no release, so the egg doesn’t actually get released during the middle of your cycle, during ovulation, for various reasons, as I was saying. There are a number of things when it comes to PCOS. It could be the high level of androgen and high levels of androgens actually inhibit that release of your egg, they inhibit ovulation.
Also, high levels of LH, or luteinizing hormone, as it’s known, that also can have an inhibitory effect on ovulation, as well. There are a couple of different things that happen, and that’s why, actually, the birth control pill is used to treat PCOS from a medical standpoint. Unfortunately, if you’re trying to have a baby, that’s not what you want to be doing. You don’t want to be lowering all of these hormones because you eventually need them when it comes to getting pregnant. We can get into that later, but the point is, is that when estrogen is doing its job and progesterone, there is not enough progesterone to take over, then we just have this continuous cycle of higher levels of estrogen, and it pushes out ovulation or stops it from happening completely, and then we end up with even lower levels of progesterone, and the reason for that is because when we do ovulate, what happens is progesterone is released from that little gland called the corpus luteum which is in the ovary, where the egg came from.
The egg never gets released that corpus luteum does not ever produce progesterone, and then we end up with even more elevated levels of estrogen in relation to our progesterone levels, unfortunately. After that, the cycle just kind of continues, and we end up just operating at a progesterone deficit over time. As you can see with the birth control pill, that is not really a solution for this issue because it is essentially just stopping, lowering LH levels, it’s been preventing ovulation from happening even more, and then we end up with even more of an exacerbated issue. Ultimately, our goal is to really work to address the lack of ovulation or the sporadic ovulation through diet and lifestyle, and just different changes that we can make, targeted supplementation, really managing our stress levels, all of these kinds of things that are really proactive versus where you’re taking a pill that’s going to just work on masking the imbalance that you are actually dealing with.
Amy: Yeah, and I think, too, a lot of women have been diagnosed with PCOS, they’ve been on the pill since they were teens, and then they decide that it’s time to come off, maybe they’re wanting to start a family, and then, all of a sudden, PCOS symptoms sort of rear their ugly head because they haven’t been ovulating and haven’t been kind of working on making these lifestyle changes to get their periods back on track, and I think for so many women, that can absolutely be done with PCOS. It may take a little while, but so many women with PCOS can, I believe, have normal periods or get them back to sort of that 25 to 30-day cycle. Let’s talk a little bit about what women can do if they are. First of all, why don’t we talk a little bit about some other symptoms of estrogen dominance? If you’re kind of experiencing that ratio, you’re not in that yin/yang balance, what would you be experiencing?
Nicole: A number of things. One of the first things would be you might see that you’re either not ovulating or you’re ovulating sporadically. What I see, more than anything, is irregular periods or irregular cycles, where you’re having either a short cycle one month and then a longer cycle, or you’re having continuous long cycles. That’s the first thing. The second thing is these longer periods, meaning that your period doesn’t really last from three to seven days, it lasts from 10 to 20 days, sometimes even longer. I’ve had a lot of clients have three to four-week periods where, again, that, to me, just indicates that there’s been an overstimulation of the uterine lining, and then there’s no progesterone to counteract that. That’s what I see a lot of.
Then, also, too, just like the continuous periods, but they’re just light, so they don’t really feel like a period, they’re more like continuous, light spotting, almost, or continuous heavy spotting, but very light-colored periods. Then I will also see a lot of breakthrough bleeding, where you’re spotting at different times in your cycle. You may get a period regularly and you may even get a period that lasts three to seven days long, but then you end up having this spotting before your period or spotting after your period, with spotting before your period again as an indication that your progesterone levels are not high enough to keep your uterine lining intact, so that it can basically wait until you’re actually supposed to get your period for it to all be released, so it starts to be released earlier and earlier in your cycle.
Then after your period, as well, again, that’s just a sign that everything, it’s not moving the way it’s supposed to be moving or uterus is not getting the blood out in a way it’s supposed to, and so there’s this after your period spotting symptom, as well. Then, also, too, these signs of estrogen dominance, as well, include things like acne and mood issues. Estrogen, like I was saying, that growth hormone, and it’s a stimulating hormone. It will create this symptom of PMS that a lot of women experience in terms of depression, anger, anxiety, moodiness, all of these kinds of feelings that many of us experience, and we think it’s normal, when it really isn’t supposed to be that way.
You really shouldn’t be experiencing PMS and emotional distress in the ways or at the levels that many of us do. If it’s disrupting your life on a monthly basis or when you do get your period, then that is definitely a sign that there is an imbalance. In addition to that, too, things like breast tenderness, bloating, all of those are also signs of estrogen dominance or progesterone deficiency.
Amy: Yeah, and I think when you have those heavy, painful periods, as well.
Amy: Even women with, I think endometriosis is kind of hard. It seems hard to diagnose but there are women. I don’t think that endometriosis is a symptom of PCOS, but it’s definitely an issue of, it could be attributed to estrogen dominance, and a lot of women with PCOS have endometriosis.
Amy: Yeah. Do you want to speak to that for a minute?
Nicole: Yeah. Absolutely. I should have said that. I know. The painful, heavy periods, and then the endometriosis. I know, it’s so interesting the correlation. It seems that there’s so much emerging research on endometriosis now, it feels like they’re finally paying attention to it, but I think that there is definitely a correlation in that, again, there’s just been this underlying imbalance that’s been happening for so long, and then it eventually progresses into something like endometriosis, because that’s another thing, too, just like PMS and the emotional symptoms, those physical symptoms, like very painful periods, where you’re either laid up for a day in bed or you’re popping a lot of pills to just make it through the pain, or even just feeling like you can’t really function during your period, those are all signs and symptoms of potentially endometriosis, but also that there is something going on there and that you should definitely be paying attention, because physical pain when you get your period, again, that disrupts your life in any way, is not considered normal.
Amy: Yeah, and I think a lot of doctors don’t really sit down and they don’t have the time to explain the whole sort of correlation between the hormonal imbalances and what’s going on with your body, and that’s why it’s so important to listen to podcasts like this and do your own research so that you can really empower yourself and understand what’s going on with your body. I think, so we now, we’ve talked about some typical period problems as how they associate with PCOS. Let’s talk a little bit about what women who are listening can do in terms of lifestyle changes to kind of bring their hormones back into balance. You talked a little bit about environment and those xenoestrogens that kind of mimic naturally-occurring estrogen in our bodies. How can we avoid these xenoestrogens in our life?
Nicole: Yeah. That’s a great question, and it’s interesting because I think that there’s a lot that we can do, it’s just a matter of actually creating a protocol around it. For someone who is in a state of estrogen dominance, and this can be determined by all of those symptoms we discussed as well as blood work. You can actually see where your estrogen levels are in relation to your progesterone levels, so that’s something that’s very helpful for women. That’s the first thing. You really want to think about creating a semi-strict, maybe even a strict, protocol, especially with endometrial issues, whether it’s physical pain or a very heavy period, or ongoing periods. Endometrial tissue growth in that uterine muscle is fed by estrogen and, of course, inhibited by progesterone. We really want to lower the estrogen exposure.
Maybe just a couple of months where you’re removing all meats and dairy that are hormonal, meaning that they are conventionally raised, and really focusing on organic products, maybe even removing dairy completely, especially if there is a potential allergy, and focusing on the cleanest protein you can find. Wild fish, sorry, from the cleanest waters possible, that kind of thing, and pastured eggs. Again, unless you have some kind of allergy to those, then you want to keep those in your diet because they’re really helpful for balancing your blood sugar, which is very crucial to women who have PCOS just because of the predisposition to insulin resistance.
You want to think about, too, also, removing common food sensitivity foods. The basic ones are gluten and soy, corn, sugar, caffeine, alcohol. Those kinds of things can really trigger cortisol production in your body, and that can send your hormones completely off whack. You can actually lower your progesterone when your cortisol goes up high, so that’s something to think about, too, when you’re thinking about food and what you should do. Then, also, taking a look at your thyroid. Is your thyroid healthy? If you’re struggling with thyroid issues, then you really want to think about removing any kind of raw cruciferous vegetables and bringing in a lot of mineral and nutrient-dense food to support your thyroid function. I think that’s really crucial.
In terms of lifestyle, avoiding xenoestrogens as much as possible, obviously. All right. Avoiding plastic, don’t drink out of plastic bottles, don’t wear plastic flip flops or dry cleaned clothes. Avoid touching receipts. All of those kinds of things are so important.
Amy: Touching receipts, yeah. I don’t think a lot of people don’t realize that receipts contain BPA, which is a major endocrine disorder, and actually studies show that women with PCOS tend to have more BPA in their blood, as well. I think that, also, can liners, that’s something that I talked to my clients a lot about. A lot of us buy canned tomatoes and canned beans just for convenience sake. It’s important to, at the very least, try to find brands like Eden or Muir Glen, those are BPA-free cans, so that can go a long way to help reduce your BPA exposure, too. Yeah, receipts is, I think, that’s something that I don’t really think about too often. Oftentimes, I just decline the receipt these days.
Nicole: I know. It’s hard to do that, as well. They’re always trying to give you the receipt.
Amy: I know.
Nicole: I think that those things are a great start, and also, too, I think women need to be very focused on supporting their liver detoxification, so phase one and phase two of liver detox, in that just knowing that your liver is responsible for estrogen metabolization. If your liver isn’t functioning the way it’s supposed to be, then you have that added hurdle, as well, where your liver isn’t detoxing estrogen as well as it should be, and then you’re potentially exposed to lots of estrogen mimickers outside of your body and you’re touching receipts and plastics and all that stuff. It’s great to really support your liver function, as well, and I think one of the best things to do with that is to really focus on getting in lots of B vitamins through your food, but also potentially taking a B complex supplement, as well.
Amy: Yeah. I’m always telling women with PCOS, methylated Bs are really important, especially if you’re on metformin. This message really needs to get out because metformin depletes especially B12, so it’s important. If you’re on metformin, please be supplementing with a methylated B12. Also, fiber, fiber is really a great way to flush out extra estrogen. Try to add even an extra fiber supplement, that’s something that I put in my smoothie every day, some extra fiber powder to kind of help with. I’ve actually found, so I’m 44, so I’m 44, so I’m entering that perimenopause, and I’ve noticed that I’ve been dealing with some estrogen dominance. For me, adding the fiber has really helped, and also, the supplement dim has helped, as well. Is that something that you use with your clients?
Nicole: Actually, yeah. I was going to say something about that. I didn’t want to go recommending a bazillion supplements, but I think that dim is really helpful, and in addition to that, SGS, and SGS is similar in that it comes from broccoli sprouts, but it actually supports phase two of liver detoxification whereas dim supports phase one, and phase two is the one that really can get bogged down because it has so many different pathways, whereas phase one only has one pathway. What I found, SGS is incredibly helpful, as well, in that it really helps your liver to function better and to get rid of estrogen dominance. In fact, I’ve used it myself and I’ve had a lot of clients use it, and a lot of those menstrual symptoms that I was describing, especially the emotional one, the physical pain, has really diminished because of the use of it, so it’s great.
Amy: Yeah. We could send folks, do you have an article on your site about using those supplements?
Nicole: Yes. Not yet, but I should. I definitely have some stuff on dim, and the SGS is kind of a new thing for me, so I’m going to write something about that. Maybe I’ll get something up soon, and then we can have somewhere for people to be directed to.
Amy: Okay. Perfect.
Nicole: Yeah. That would be great.
Amy: Finally, I just wanted to talk about the pill as a therapy for PCOS, and I would love to get your opinion on using the pill as therapy for PCOS. Do you think it’s a good idea? Is it a bad idea? What are your thoughts?
Nicole: That’s such a loaded question, Amy.
Amy: I know.
Nicole: No, it’s a really great one. I think that it depends. For the most part, I don’t believe that it’s a great treatment for PCOS because I don’t know that it’s a treatment. It’s really, if you know what I said in my bio, what I talk about in my bio is basically that I don’t believe that we should be treating symptoms, we should be really looking deeper and be investigators, basically, and be looking at the root cause. Unfortunately, for many women, they’re put on the pill at such a young age where they don’t have information that they need to make an informed decision, and what happens is that pill is just basically turning off the conversation between your brain and your ovaries.
It might seem great at the time, especially if you’ve got all these symptoms and that’s the last thing you want to deal with, but over time, it turns off that conversation, and the pathways atrophy, so to speak. Then when we come off of the pill, it’s very hard to get those engines going again. I think that that’s the main issue, that’s what I’m seeing so much of, where women are wanting to address the root problem and they’re having a very hard time doing that because they’ve been on the pill, suppressing all of this hormone function for so long. That’s ultimately my problem with how the pill functions, but I will say that sometimes it’s helpful just to take a minute so that you can gather your thoughts and figure out what the next step is. I think it’s more of an interim solution, and that’s where it can be useful for some women. Would you agree with that?
Amy: Yeah. I think so. I think for some women, they need to start cycling because of the endometrial cancer risks, and like you said, it can work short term, but I love how you kind of phrase that to sort of gather your thoughts to figure out what the next step is, because it really is a Band-Aid. It’s not getting to the underlying issue of what’s going on in your body, and I do think that there’s a lot of side effects to the pill that doctors don’t really explain to their patients. It does increase insulin resistance. Women with PCOS are at much higher risk of developing blood clots being on the pill than the normal population, and it depletes nutrients. I think women with PCOS are already nutrient-deficient in a lot of ways, and just adds to it.
In a way, I think it kind of exacerbates the issues that we’re dealing with, as well. I know that the pill is definitely controversial, and I think that we don’t always get the information that we need to make an informed decision, and I know that you’re involved in a project that’s focused on kind of getting information out about the pill. Maybe you could talk to us about that a little bit.
Nicole: Yeah, absolutely. I feel like it’s just so important, again, for us to understand what exactly is happening with our bodies and with the drugs that we’re prescribed, and just really getting the knowledge and having a clear understanding of that. What I recently got involved with Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, who produced The Business of Being Born series of films about four or five years ago, and they optioned a booked called Sweetening the Pill, that was written by Holly Grigg-Spall, and basically, what she talks about in the book is her story, taking the pill, and how it impacted her, and impacted other people she knows, and she gathered a ton of research around what the pill actually does. Almost all the research that was available at the time, and compiled this book, and they decided to option it to make a documentary on the birth control pill and various other forms of hormonal birth control, things like the NuvaRing.
It’s very exciting because there really hasn’t been an investigative report, really, of this nature into hormonal birth control, and the fact that hundreds of millions of women all over the planet use these forms of birth control, many of them have never been given the information, just the basic information about how these forms of birth control even work, and the potential side effects. Women are actually dying, as you said, right? There are blood clots and women with PCOS have increased risk of blood clots, but there are many young girls and young women who are dying from blood clots and various other complications that are related back to their hormonal birth control.
We’re going to do a bit of investigative journalism and figure out what is caused by these hormonal birth control options, and also, women different solutions. Natural birth control options and offer them an understanding of what is going on in their bodies so that they can make the best decisions for themselves. It’s going to be very exciting.
Amy: I’m going to definitely post a link to that project. I understand that they’re trying to get some funding for the project.
Nicole: Yes. We are doing a Kickstarter June 1st to the 29th to raise initial funds to start making a movie. As you can imagine, this is a very controversial topic, and pretty much every funding source that they have approached over the last year and a half has completely dissipated or disappeared, and nobody, everyone’s excited about it at first, but then they realize the exact nature of the film, and then pretty much everyone backs away. Because, as you know, big pharma, all of these companies, they have a lot of pull, and it has been a challenge for them to get funding. We figured it would have to be more of a grassroots effort from women who have been impact or know women who have been impacted by hormonal birth control.
Over 60% of women, they start with the pill, and within a year, they come off because of the side effects. That, to me, is a massive number that should not be ignored, and we felt really strongly that there are enough women out there who have been impacted who would like this story to be told, and for their message to get out there through a film like this, so that’s what we’re doing.
Amy: Yeah. Thank you for getting involved with that. I think you’re right. It’s a really important message to get out. I also want to thank you for joining us today. So much great information and I wanted to just give you a chance to just tell us if somebody wants to reach out to you, how can they work with you?
Nicole: Thanks. Yeah. Thank you, Amy. This has been so great. You can reach at my websites. It’s NicoleJardim.com, and my e-mail is [email protected], if you have questions. Then, also, too, if you take a look at get started on my site, you will see a whole bunch of information, my favorite blog posts, as well as the programs that I offer, and all of my free resources. Everything’s there for you.
Amy: Perfect. I just wanted you to leave us with a message of hope for women with PCOS.
Amy: Yeah. Go ahead.
Nicole: Oh yeah. Sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt you. I feel that there is so much hope, and I know so many women who have been diagnosed with PCOS at such a young age where they’re very vulnerable and they don’t have the information that they really need to make the best decisions for themselves, and just know that this is not any kind of life sentence. There is so much that’s within your control, and that you can do so much to help yourself to feel so much better and get your symptoms under control. I just know that I helped so many women do this, and I truly believe that it’s possible for everyone who has a PCOS diagnosis to have everything that they want with their health, with their fertility, and their menstrual cycle.
Amy: Perfect. What a great message. Thank you so much, again, for joining us, Nicole, and thank you, everyone, for listening. Until next time, bye-bye.