Fix Your Period [Podcast] - PCOS Diva

Fix Your Period [Podcast]

PCOS Podcast 133 - Fix Your Period“We have to come back to this idea that every part of your body is in communication with every other part, and we can’t just treat the low progesterone, or the period pain, or the irregular cycles and think that nothing else in our body is going to be affected.” – Nicole Jardim

She’s back!  Nicole Jardim, certified women’s health coach and co-host of the podcast The Period Party has a brand-new book out in which she outlines her step-by-step natural protocol for hormone balance and to improve everything from PMS, period pain, and heavy periods to irregular cycles and missing periods. Listen in (or read the transcript) as Nicole returns to the PCOS Diva podcast to discuss this and much more including:

  • Thyroid, lab tests to request, and the impact of subclinical hypothyroidism
  • Why it is crucial for us to understand root causes of period problems
  • Misdiagnosis of PCOS in teenage girls
  • Body-wide result of altering hormones with birth control pills

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Mentioned in this podcast:

Complete Transcript:

Amy Medling:                    I’m so excited to welcome back Nicole Jardim to the PCOS Diva Podcast. We have done two episodes together, so you want to check those out. Episode 20, What Your Period is Trying to Say, and episode 96, PMS: Why you get it and what to do?

Amy Medling:                    But this time on the podcast Nicole is going to be telling us about her brand new book, Fix Your Period: Six Weeks to Banish Bloating, Conquer Cramps, Manage Moodiness and Ignite Lasting Hormone Balance. And I was really privileged to get a preview copy of her book and have been reading it over the last couple of weeks, and it’s fantastic. So, congratulations Nicole on your book and welcome again to the PCOS Diva Podcast.

Nicole Jardim:                    Hi Amy. Thank you so much. I’m literally blushing over here.

Amy Medling:                    Oh.

Nicole Jardim:                    Oh, thank you.

Amy Medling:                    Well, it’s a really great book for women with PCOS. I know that the title is fix your period, but as you know, one of the diagnostic criteria of PCOS is irregular menstrual cycles. And I really think it’s a great tool for women with PCOS. And I love your approach of your book and this is a quote that you say. “For any woman who is struggling with a hormone imbalance or period problems, there is hope and there are answers. Educating yourself and taking ownership of your body is the first step.” And to me that’s really what it means to be a PCOS Diva, about really getting the knowledge to empower yourself to be able to start stepping, making positive steps forward.

Nicole Jardim:                    Oh, my goodness, I love that so much and I completely agree with you, of course. And it’s interesting because for me, growing up, I knew nothing about my body. I was totally that girl who thought I had some kind of infection every month because my cervical fluid changed around ovulation. And I definitely had many occasions where I would go to the doctor and they would ask me when my last period was, and I would make up a random date because I had no idea. So, I totally fell into this work by accident. I had literally no clue what was going on with my menstrual health.

And it wasn’t until things started to get really out of control with my own period that I realized I needed to “take back” control and actually realized that I always had the ability to be in control of my body. I just didn’t have the tools.

So, coming back to what you were saying, I had terrible periods as a teenager and then they continued to get worse as I was approaching my late teens. And I finally went to my gynecologist and she put me on the pill to “regulate” my cycle. And of course stopped the period pain and the heavy bleeding and the mood issues and all the things that came along with my teenage periods. And it wasn’t until about two or three years into using the pill that I realized that I had other problems on my hands that were not issues before. Because at the time I thought, “Oh, wow, I’ve found the magic bullet.” Right? And it did really help with all the symptoms I was experiencing. But then I started to notice all of these other problems that were becoming chronic.

And I thought, “Well, I’m only in my early 20s. There’s no way that these problems can just be my issues for the rest of my life.” I mean, things like chronic yeast infections and urinary tract infections. I had awful gut health symptoms that nobody could figure out. I also had terrible joint pain. My hair was falling out. I developed melasma all over my face and I will never forget going to multiple dermatologists and all of them kind of scratching their heads and saying, “Well, really, you only should be getting this when you’re pregnant.” I’m like, “Well, I’m not pregnant, so maybe you have another option for me.” So there were just multiple sort of seemingly unrelated issues that nobody could figure out.

And at that point, my period was down to like one day a month and, or was barely spotting event even. And I just didn’t feel well. I actually just felt really sick. And in fact it was at that time that I think I contracted mono because, yes, I was in college, surprise, and I didn’t know what it was and I just, things just really went downhill from there. And thankfully soon after I came off the pill.

But what my experience was of the conventional medical model was that I just went to all these different doctors for all of these, like I said, seemingly unrelated symptoms. I would go. I went to the gynecologist repeatedly for the yeast infections and the urinary tract infections and the painful sex because that was a big problem too. And then I went to a gastroenterologist for my gut health issues. I had a colonoscopy. I mean multiple procedures and nobody could find anything wrong. I went to a rheumatologist because of my terrible joint pain, because my mom has rheumatoid arthritis and so they thought, “Oh maybe that’s what you have.” And I was going to the dermatologist for this melasma thing. So there were so many different doctors and not a single person could connect the connecting factor, which was the fact that I was taking the birth control pill.

So that in and of itself was an issue. And it wasn’t until I was about 23, 24 that I finally saw an acupuncturist because I thought, “Well, what do I have to lose?” And that was … He was a person who pointed out to me that it could have been that the underlying problem could have been that I was on the pill and that I was … He even said, I’ve turned off my menstrual cycle, my natural menstrual cycle. He was probably about 75 and very cute. And he was just basically saying to me that that was the reason why I was having all these problems and it had never occurred to me before. So I think that it’s really important that you find someone who really gets that there is so much interconnectedness happening in your body. And if they’re approaching your health from this disjointed sort of siloed way of looking at a human body, then you’re going to potentially run into the same issues that I did.

Amy Medling:                    So I just wanted to let listeners know that you are a certified women’s health coach. You’re also the cohost of the podcast, The Period Party. And you being a host of a podcast, you talk to so many different women’s health experts. And don’t you find that sort of the common thread through most of us who are doing this type of work is that we have a story that it sounds very similar. I mean, although my symptoms were very different, I still was going to lots of different doctors to treat the symptoms. And they’re conventional doctors. And it wasn’t until I saw a kind of nonconventional doctor, a naturopath that started to get to the root of my symptoms, that I started experiencing true healing. And it sounds like, your story sounds very parallel to mine.

Nicole Jardim:                    Oh yeah. I completely agree. I mean, I remember you being on our podcast and talking about this as well, and the fact that you finally had a realization that you needed to take supreme care of yourself in order to start to get better and for your symptoms to improve. And I definitely went down a similar path. I mean, I remember thinking that I needed to completely overhaul things. And it was really with the guidance of this acupuncturist that I went to Whole Foods for the first time and it was like this parallel universe. It was unbelievable.

And I went to different … I started doing, taking care of myself in different ways. Like I started implementing different self-care techniques and I also tried different healing modalities because acupuncture, it sort of opened up my eyes to all of these different ways of healing.

And it was so incredible to be able to find all of this information that has always existed. And again that, like I was saying before about being in control of your health and really not realizing that you have access to a lot of resources.

I mean, there’s a lot online. And I just think that when we’re continuing to depend on the conventional medical model, it’s really designed in a way that the symptoms that we’re experiencing are just treated with a set of protocols and we’re taken out of that equation where like our unique needs are not included. So when we’re diagnosed, we’re diagnosed based on a set of guidelines and we’re given a treatment plan, and really our biology is not really taken into consideration. So, I think it’s super important for us to remember that this approach is a really big problem and it’s not at all geared towards personalized healing.

Amy Medling:                    There’s so much frustration. I know in the PCOS Diva community that going to mainstream medical … conventional medicine doctors, we’re just not getting the adequate support that we need for period issues.

Nicole Jardim:                    Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Amy Medling:                    And it seems like you could try different types of doctors and they’re still not able to really provide answers and solutions. And like you said, they’re looking at this like it’s just a different paradigm of treatment.

Amy Medling:                    But I was wondering is, can you sort of explain to listeners why it’s difficult to … You call it spot treating period problems with, “Okay, you’re not getting a period. We’ll just give you a prescription for the pill and that will give you your period.” Maybe you can sort of kind of explain to us why that doesn’t work.

Nicole Jardim:                    Yeah. I think that the whole spot treating your period’s symptoms is very much in line with our current cultural belief of convenience is everything. And I think that’s why something like the birth control pill or an IUD or an implant are really popular, because the cultural narrative is that we want to make our lives as simplified and as easy and convenient as possible. And unfortunately, human bodies are a little bit more complicated than that. So what we end up happening, what ends up happening is that we run into problems.

So, when we’re talking about this idea that we need to start to get to know our unique bodies, I really believe that that applies to everyone. And the reason I say that is because I do not believe that by turning off ovulation, which is generally how most hormonal birth control methods work, is the solution or the answer to our collective health problems or our collective need for birth control.

So, when we’re talking about this spot treatment of symptoms, I’m just saying that what we really have to be doing is looking at our bodies as a whole and we’re not. So if we start to do that, we’ll start to see that every system is interconnected, every aspect of our health is connected to another aspect of our health.

For instance, like I was saying, I had … I was on the pill for a long time. It turns off ovulation. That’s its mechanism of birth control. And as a result, I wasn’t producing the hormones that I needed to be producing, particularly estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, for all of these different mechanisms in my body to be working properly. So as a result, I had skin problems and I had digestive problems. And then I had hair loss and I had vaginal issues as well. So there were multiple systems that were impacted by the pill.

So, I think that we need to start to think about it from that perspective because your hormones are communicating with each other via your endocrine glands all day, every day. And if we shut off the production of a few hormones, that is going to completely disrupt that communication and that conversation that’s happening all day, every day. So one part of your body is just not going to be communicating anymore or it’s going to be communicating differently via the hormones that are in the birth control pill or whatever birth control you’re using. So as a result, we end up with other aspects or other parts of your body overcompensating because those signals have become a little bit mixed.

So, I think that we really have to come back to this idea that every part of your body is in communication with every other part and we can’t just treat the low progesterone or we can’t just treat the period pain or the irregular cycles and think that nothing else in our body is going to be affected.

Amy Medling:                    Yeah, absolutely. I love the title, Fix Your Period. And you say that outsourcing your health to someone else hardly ever works. So just inherently fixing your period, there’s so much that you can do to do that. So why don’t you walk us through some of the steps that you take readers through to in your book to address their period problems?

Nicole Jardim:                    Yeah, absolutely. I think the first thing that we all really have to understand is that your period is a direct reflection of your internal environment, what is going on with your body. And I think that is quite amazing because guys just don’t have this luxury. I know people are probably rolling their eyes right now as I say this, but it’s true. Men do not have this barometer of their health the way that we do with our monthly menstrual cycle.

Amy Medling:                    And I was just going to interject. It really becomes like a feedback mechanism for us to see-

Nicole Jardim:                    Yes.

Amy Medling:                    What’s working well. Like are these diet changes working, is if your period’s becoming more normal, then you know that yeah, it might be working.

Nicole Jardim:                    Totally. Exactly. I love that. And that’s exactly what it is. It’s exactly what you’re saying, that we have this measure of what’s happening with our health. And of course, if we’re making changes, we can start to really see what … how those changes are actually working or not working depending on what’s going on with our cycles. So it’s a great tool for experimentation when it comes to diet and lifestyle changes and whatnot.

So, I think that’s the first thing, right, is that we really have to get to know our unique menstrual cycle because what’s normal for you might not be normal for your best friend. And that’s why, again, we can’t spot treat and we also shouldn’t be using this one-size-fits-all approach to our bodies because your body is different to the person who was studied in that study about the menstrual cycle. And so is your lifestyle and your environment and your mental and emotional health and all of that.

So that’s the first thing, getting to know your flow I call it, and understanding what an actual period is, what, how long a menstrual cycle should be, how long your period should be, what it should look like, what it should feel like, the symptoms you should and shouldn’t be experiencing. And the only way to really know that is to track your cycle and to track the symptoms that you experience on a weekly or a monthly basis. So that’s my first step.

And then another aspect of that is this idea of the hormonal hierarchy. And what I mean by that is that, again, this is where the spot treating comes back in because all of your hormones are in communication with every other part of your body. So if your hormones are … If you have, for instance, low progesterone, which seems to be epidemic these days, there are multiple reasons for that low progesterone. So you really kind of have to dig a little bit deeper to figure out what that might be. Could it be that you are extremely stressed and that it’s causing your progesterone to dip a little bit lower? Could it be that your estrogen is sky high because you’re exposed to too many xenoestrogens? Or that your liver isn’t detoxing estrogen appropriately?

I mean, there are multiple reasons. That’s why when women say to me, “Well, how do I get my progesterone up?” I’m like, “Well, you got to figure out, you have to ask a few other questions and then figure out why that progesterone is low in the first place and address it from the root root cause.” So that’s like the biggest, to me that’s one of the biggest aspects of addressing your period and your hormonal health.

And I think the third thing is when it comes to actual period problems, what I find is that we tend to really identify with the problem that we have, right? So it’s something along the lines of, “Oh, I’ve just always had really heavy periods and that’s just my lot in life,” or, “I can’t seem to do anything about it. I’ve tried all these things.” Or someone might say, “I have endometriosis and these are all the horrible things that have happened because of this condition.”

I’ve had horribly painful periods and very heavy periods, so I can certainly relate to a lot of these feelings. But what I want everyone to understand is that when you apply what I’m about to get into with my six week protocol, when you apply all of those steps to your life, it will have a dramatic impact on your entire endocrine system, not just on one or two hormones that might be wreaking havoc on your health right now.

Because there is a real top-down approach that we have to think about. We have to think about the hormones at the top, like the cortisol and the insulin that dictate a lot of how your other hormones, particularly your sex hormones, will respond. From there I walk people through a six week protocol where we’re going through food and we’re talking about your blood sugar and how detrimental imbalanced blood sugar can be to your menstrual cycle. And then I’m going through your gut health and your liver, both of which play a key role in your hormone balance, especially those sex hormones.

And then from there on out, I’m talking about stress and this age of chronic overstimulation because that’s really what it is. And I’m also going through what happens when your thyroid is out of whack as well, because we, very few of us realize the intricate role our thyroids play in our menstrual cycles. So there’s an entire protocol that one can follow, no matter the period problem that they’re experiencing or the condition or the disease that they have. All of it’s going to be impactful.

Amy Medling:                    Yeah, and I think that thyroid issues are really undiagnosed in women with PCOS, because most doctors will only be willing to test your TSH. I mean, I know that. So I love that you threw the thyroid in there as part of the protocol.

Nicole Jardim:                    Thanks. I’m glad you said that. Yes, I feel like the thyroid is often forgotten, isn’t it? It’s so interesting. Yeah. And it’s really unfortunate because there are multiple issues at play when it comes to the thyroid. I think one of the first things is subclinical hypothyroidism.

Every time I talk to women in my community, and I’m sure you hear this a lot too, they say something along the lines of, “I went to my doctor and I’ve had my thyroid tested and everything has come back normal and here is what I’m feeling. I feel terrible and I don’t know what else to do.”

So, I’m constantly saying that if your doctor is running labs and they’re telling you that you’re fine and you’re telling them that you’re not fine, I mean, that really is a form of gas lighting. And it’s basically denying that you’re feeling the way you’re feeling. And I think that it’s so crucial for you to advocate hard for yourself in a situation like this. And ask people for referrals. Ask a friend, ask other, ask friends who are either like-minded or who are more into holistic health and treating themselves with alternative therapies to give you a referral to someone.

Maybe if you live in a small town, maybe there’s an acupuncturist who might be able to assist or there’s someone who has more of a holistic slant in the work that they’re doing, just so that you can get validation for what you’re experiencing because the subclinical hypothyroidism is actually a real problem and it’s much more, I think it’s much more prevalent than we would like to believe.

When I say subclinical hypothyroidism, the idea is that basically your labs are coming back normal or just slightly elevated or lower and you’re experiencing symptoms. But from a doctor’s perspective, and I understand it, it’s just that they’ve been given a set protocol and they’ve been given a set of numbers or a range for normal thyroid hormones. And if you’re within that range, then they consider that to be normal.

So, it’s hard I think for them to dig a little bit deeper because they just don’t have the capacity to do that. That’s why I’m always talking about looking for a nutritionist or a women’s health coach or a nutritional therapist or a dietician, someone who can really help you dig a little bit deeper and figure out what can be causing these thyroid problems in the first place. Because I think, again, like I said, so many people don’t realize that there are … that your thyroid plays such a huge role in your menstrual cycle and how it works.

Just so everyone understands, thyroid disease, so hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, it can actually disrupt ovulation, which can trigger-

Amy Medling:                    Also Hashimoto’s, which is the autoimmune thyroid disorder, which a lot of women with PCOS have.

Nicole Jardim:                    Yes.

Amy Medling:                    I’ll throw that in there.

Nicole Jardim:                    Absolutely. I’m so glad you did. Yes. I should have said that to clarify for everyone, but yes, like so hypo, hyper, Hashimoto’s, Graves, so any kind of thyroid disease can result in progesterone deficiency because of this disruption to ovulation.

When you think about it, ovulation if it’s disrupted, will lead to progesterone deficiency. So that’s why I was saying earlier, it really is so crucial for us to understand why we have that low progesterone in the first place. Because I’m all for something like Vitex or maca or whatever it is that you want to try, but you’ve got to really have a clear reason for why you want to try that.

And then in addition to the other thyroid issues that may be causing period problems, it’s really, it’s good to know that something like hypothyroidism for instance, it will diminish the body’s sensitivity to insulin. This, of course, is a huge issue with women who have PCOS. This can worsen PCOS symptoms and further exacerbate the estrogen dominance and progesterone deficiency that a lot of women with PCOS have.

Amy Medling:                    Yeah. And I think that thyroid symptoms are, can sort of mimic PCOS symptoms. So if you think of fatigue, and hair loss, and difficulty losing weight, I think when, if you can get your diet and lifestyle factors down and you’re still experiencing those symptoms, you kind of have to look to thyroid.

And the other thing that I wanted to just mention is there’s some great companies out there that allow you to order your own labs. is one that I can think of and I think Nicole, you have … you’re associated with another lab, patient’s lab.

Nicole Jardim:                    Yeah. I use LetsGetChecked or I’ll make that recommendation for people because that’s quite convenient for someone. So yes, I agree. Like that’s the other thing too, right? Like you were saying, when we’re talking about really advocating for ourselves, that’s a crucial part of it too. How can you get your own lab work done? And I liked LetsGetChecked just because they also have a nurse who will call you with your test results to tell you whether they’re normal or not normal.

Regardless, you’ll get a phone call, which I feel is quite comforting for a lot of people. And then they’ll provide your test results to you on a portal on the backend of their website, which I think is very helpful. And they tend towards to skew towards more of the traditional ranges for thyroid hormones and a few other tests, which is not a huge deal to me. I just think that then you need to go onto my site or check out my book or something like that to find the ranges that I would recommend, those optimal or more functional ranges that are a bit more narrow than the conventional or the traditional ranges. And that way you can start to see if something’s going on. You can match up.

And from there, like we were saying, you can work with someone who would really take into consideration that there’s possibly a subclinical hypothyroid situation happening. And there’s just, I mean, there’s so many different types of practitioners that you can see. And that’s what I think is most important to remember too. This is kind of a joke, but not really, but I always talk about the fact that when we go … We take our haircuts very seriously, right? Women do. Right? I mean, that’s true.

Amy Medling:                    Yes.

Nicole Jardim:                    And we spend a lot of money on them. And not only haircuts, the dye jobs and the highlights and all the things. And I get it. I do the same. But I just think that if we put that kind of effort into our health, things would be very different for us. I know when we get a bad haircut or a bad dye job, you best believe that we are going back to that hairdresser to complain and have that thing fixed. And yet when it comes to our health, doctors are able to tell us these things and we feel powerless or we feel like we have been dismissed or laughed at or like sent on our way without being taken seriously. And we don’t advocate for ourselves in this way. And I think it’s because we’re not taught to.

So, I encourage everyone to really think about how much your health means to you, and the fact that if you don’t have your health, I mean you really have nothing. It’s very difficult to get through life if you’re feeling unwell. So I encourage everyone to really advocate hard for their health because that it’s everything.

So, if you’re seeing a doctor and you feel like you’re not being taken seriously, you can find another one. There’s Google, there are friends, there’s family, there’s other practitioners. If you go to a chiropractor, ask that person for a recommendation for a dietician or a health coach or a nutritionist or someone like that. Or maybe you go to a midwife. Midwives can do all well women care and you might not need to go to an OBGYN for those basic things like a pap smear or something like that. So there’s multiple ways to get help if you feel that you’re not getting the “service” that you’re paying for.

Amy Medling:                    Yes. Don’t be afraid to be a Diva basically I think what you’re saying.

Nicole Jardim:                    Oh my gosh Amy, that’s the best. Exactly. You said it.

Amy Medling:                    So I just want to pivot to a great section in your book that I think, yeah, I really want you to talk about, and that is the misdiagnosis of PCOS in teenage girls.

Nicole Jardim:                    Oh yes.

Amy Medling:                    So, yeah. Can you talk about that a little bit?

Nicole Jardim:                    Yes, I would love to. I had this whole long thing in the book that unfortunately some of them had to be cut because you know how this goes. I think I have already had like 120,000 words at some point and then I had to get it way down.

So, there was, I was talking pretty extensively about this, right, about puberty and the teenage years and the fact that we’re going from a completely an ovulatory state to a state of regular ovulation and having regular periods.

And this is quite the transition, right? I feel like our periods are just all over the place during our teenage years. And it makes sense because your body has just not been doing any of this stuff ever. And now it’s got to figure it out. I used an analogy about learning to crawl before we walk. And then we get to the Olympics at some point, down, way down the line. But we can’t expect our bodies to be at the Olympics right out the gate. And that’s really what I feel is expected of a teenager who’s in the throes of puberty when it comes to the menstrual cycle.

And what I see, and I imagine you do too, is a lot of girls being put on the birth control pill or on some other form of birth control to either regulate their periods or to reduce a heavy flow or shorten a period, or just being put on continuous birth control because they don’t want to have a period at all. And I just think it’s really interesting because at this time we tend to be just completely fraught with embarrassment and shame and excruciating self-consciousness and all of this stuff that comes with turning, becoming a teenager and puberty. And I think that our society tends to perpetuate that.

There’s been so many horror stories about first periods. I’ll never forget a woman telling me about being on a boat in the middle of a lake for her best friend’s birthday, and she was wearing a white bikini. And that’s when she got her first period. And she said that she cried for the entire day and-

Amy Medling:                    Oh my god-

Nicole Jardim:                    … has never gotten over it. And I’m like, “Wow, you were 12 and you’re now in your 30s.” It’s so sad. Like this is what we hold onto. And I just think that there’s a lot of trauma around that. And it’s not surprising that girls’ self-esteem plummets at puberty. Right? It’s not surprising that this happens because our culture is very much dominated by misunderstanding and fear of how a female body functions.

So, I think that a lot of hormonal imbalances and period problems that come on down the line are potentially tied to a girl’s experience of puberty because we don’t really have a formal initiation into womanhood in our culture, which is so unfortunate. And that’s why I so believe that girls really need to be given the education and the tools to go into this phase of their lives with more respect for their bodies and empowerment and just in general enjoyment of how your menstrual cycle functions and all the gifts that it can bring.

I’m sure there’s people who are rolling their eyes at me, but it’s just so true. Like we, if we could flip that script a little bit and approach puberty and periods with a little bit more reverence, we would, I think personally we would have better relationships with our periods and our bodies in the long run. And ultimately I think girls would feel more empowered to have conversations with their doctors about their cycles and be able to talk through the symptoms that they’re experiencing, but also trust in the fact that they’re in the crawling stage, right? They’re in the toddler, like baby, toddler stage where they’re transitioning from the crawling to walking and that’s what’s happening with their menstrual cycle right now and their endocrine system. And it takes time for their reproductive system to adjust to this new role.

And what I see is anovulatory cycles a lot more often in teenagers and this slower follicle development and even a smaller dominant follicle, that follicle where the egg is released from, and that’s, it’s completely different to adult women who have fully functioning menstrual cycles. So these anovulatory cycles and this, the follicle that isn’t adequately developing can lead to these skipped periods or these irregular cycles and the frequent or more heavy bleeding. Because we have a lack of progesterone, we tend to be more estrogen dominant. We tend to be more testosterone dominant during this time, and as a result we have these symptoms.

Nicole Jardim:                    But I find that by your late teens and your early 20s, things really do start to level out. But unfortunately, so many of us are put on birth control in order to treat these symptoms. And that I think is potentially detrimental to our long-term health.

Amy Medling:                    Oh, I so agree. And I recently interviewed, I don’t know if you’ve heard of Dr. Sarah Hill.

Nicole Jardim:                    Yes.

Amy Medling:                    Wrote the book This is Your Brain on Birth Control: The Surprising Science of Women Hormones and a Lot of Unintended Consequences. And she’s an evolutionary psychologist. And she talks about how being on the birth control pill as a teen is really detrimental. And she really recommends, women need to get through their teens without it. And I’ll direct you to that podcast for more details, but I so agree with you. And that’s why I wanted to bring it up, wanted you to bring that up on the podcast about teens and PCOS.

Nicole Jardim:                    I love this so much. I think Sarah’s book is incredible and I really appreciate her stance on this. And I really have seen this. So many instances of girls being given a diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome on top of whether it’s the heavy periods or their regular periods or whatever and … So they’re given these diagnoses. And I’m sure Amy, you’ve heard so many stories along these lines of someone being given a diagnosis of PCOS as a teenager based on these, on the inadequate endocrine system function that’s actually quite normal for this time. And then falsely being told that they will have trouble conceiving later on in life. And I think that this is also hugely detrimental because this belief system continues to perpetuate itself into their 20s and 30s.

Amy Medling:                    Oh, it’s … it’s so heartbreaking. And I was one of those girls.

Nicole Jardim:                    Yes.

Amy Medling:                    I write about this in my book. And I actually just posted a picture of my daughter on social media for her 11-year-old birthday yesterday and …

Nicole Jardim:                    Oh my gosh. Happy birthday to her.

Amy Medling:                    She was my little PCOS miracle. I mean, it’s honestly, it’s not really even a miracle because if I had known at age 17 when doctors told me that they would have to jump through hoops to get me pregnant, and then of course I, that was my story that I was telling myself that they’d have to jump through hoops.

So, I went through Clomid and injectables and the whole fertility process with both of my boys. And then I was told I wouldn’t ever get pregnant without all of those treatments. And then at age 37, I had Lila. But I feel like I was open to the fact that I probably would have children because I knew my mother had Stein-Leventhal, which is what they called PCOS back in the ’60s and ’70s. And I knew she had me. So I thought, “Well, if she could do it, I could do it.”

Amy Medling:                    But there’s so many women that take that as their truth, what they’re told as a 16, 17, 18-year-old girl, and then that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. So I’m so glad you brought this up.

Nicole Jardim:                    Yes. Oh, I know. Thank you for … I’m so glad you asked because I really feel the same way too. I think that it’s, there’s a bit of a flip side to this too, right, this idea that there are signs that there could be deeper issues happening with a teenage period, and I think that we need to pay attention to that too.

So, I always say to girls or to moms of girls or parents of girls that if you’re missing a period for three months or more or like there’s no ovulation happening. And usually you can tell when you’re tracking your cycle, or you have periods that where you’re bleeding through your clothes and it’s lasting more than eight days, and this is really, this is going on for many months at a time, or you’re experiencing extreme pain that’s just a debilitating or disrupting your life, whether that’s daily activities or going to school, then those are really signs that you need to be working with a doctor. And possibly, like we were saying, this idea of having more than one practitioner that you work with, whether that’s an acupuncturist or a nutritionist or even a chiropractor to work on these symptoms.

Nicole Jardim:                    I actually, funnily enough, had a good friend of mine mentioned to me the other day that her sister-in-law, who she’d been telling me about for the last year, she felt she had endometriosis, she had excruciating periods, and she went to her chiropractor this over a couple of months, I think couple of months ago. And there was something was going on. One of the bones in her neck was pushing on her thyroid and causing excruciatingly heavy painful periods. And there was an adjustment that was done or a couple of adjustments done over time. And she doesn’t have anywhere near the pain or the heavy flow that she had before.

So, you kind of never know what can be happening. That’s why sometimes it takes a little bit of exploration, but it’s so important to be paying attention to these signs that your body is sending your way.

Amy Medling:                    Yeah, that’s a great way to close our podcast today. Again, your book is Fix Your Period and it’s available at booksellers and Amazon. And Nicole, why don’t you tell us more about where we can reach you or find out more about your work.

Nicole Jardim:                    Yes, absolutely. Thank you. You can find me on my website. It’s I have a blog with a ton of information. I also have amazing book bonuses at So if you go there and input your receipt, you will get a lot of great little goodies, get a little period toolkit. And then I’m also on Instagram nicolejardim, and I’m also on my podcast, The Period Party.

Amy Medling:                    Great. And we will post those in the show notes, as well as the transcript for this podcast. It will be available on So thank you for joining us again. I always love, love having you on the podcast.

Nicole Jardim:                    Thanks, Amy. Thank you so much for having me. It’s such a pleasure.

Amy Medling:                    And thank you everyone for listening and I look forward to being with you again very soon. Bye-bye.

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