PCOS & Ovulation: The How and Why [Podcast]
“Regular ovulatory cycles are both an indicator and a creator of health. In my experience with thousands of patients, and now thousands of readers, for almost every woman, the possibility is there to have regular cycles.” – Dr. Lara Briden
Dr. Lara Briden’s book, the Period Repair Manual, is a manifesto of natural treatment for better hormones and better periods. I recommend it all the time, so I am thrilled to have her on the podcast. Dr. Briden provides practical solutions using nutrition, supplements, and natural hormones. We both agree that ovulation matters for all women; it’s not just about making babies. So, listen as we discuss:
- Why a period on the birth control pill is not a true period
- Diagnosis and misdiagnosis of PCOS
- Why cutting carbs might not help
- Why doctors in Australia may not (and should not) diagnose a teenager with PCOS
- Pain is not a symptom of PCOS
- Her protocol for each type of PCOS
Full transcript below
Resources mentioned in this podcast:
- Dr. Briden’s blog about the crucial difference between progesterone and progestins
- Dr. Briden’s blog: Pain Is Not a Symptom of PCOS
- Previous podcast with Dr. Lara Briden
- PCOS Diva podcast with Dr. Margrit Mikulis “Food Sensitivity Testing- Your Next Step in Healing PCOS?”
- PCOS Diva podcast with Dr. Fiona McCullough “8 Steps to Reverse Your PCOS”
- PCOS Diva podcast with mother/daughter “Talking to Your Daughter About PCOS”
All PCOS Diva podcasts are available on
Dr. Lara Briden is a naturopathic doctor and the period revolutionary—leading the change to better periods.
Informed by a strong science background and more than 20 years experience with patients, Lara is a passionate communicator about women’s health and alternatives to hormonal birth control. Her book Period Repair Manual is a manifesto of natural treatment for better hormones and better periods and provides practical solutions using nutrition, supplements, and natural hormones. Now in its second edition, the book has been an underground sensation and has worked to quietly change the lives of tens of thousands of women.
Lara divides her time between Christchurch, New Zealand and Sydney, Australia, where she has her consulting rooms. She’s helped thousands of women find relief for period problems such as PCOS, PMS, endometriosis, and perimenopause.
Amy: Today I am just really thrilled to have one of my favorite guests come back on the PCOS Diva Podcast, Dr. Lara Briden. So welcome, Dr. Lara.
Lara Briden: Hi, Amy. Thanks for having me again.
Amy: I had you on, I think, three years ago when you came out with your Period Repair Manual for the first time. Let me just give folks a little bit of information about you. If they haven’t heard of you, you’re a naturopathic doctor. And you are “the period revolutionary” leading the change to better periods informed by a strong science background, and more than 20 years’ experience with patients. Lara is a passionate communicator about women’s health and alternatives to hormonal birth control. Her book, Period Repair Manual is a manifesto of natural treatment for better hormones and better periods, and provides practical solutions using nutrition, supplements, and natural hormones. I can definitely attest to that. Your book really, it has been revolutionary in the way that women can really understand how their body works, and what a quote/unquote normal period is. And then how to work using natural treatments and lifestyle, and supplements to work towards that ideal.
So I want to thank you for writing this book, because it’s been a great resource for me. I talk about it all the time.
Lara Briden: Oh, thank you. Yeah, that’s really sweet. I’m glad it’s reaching so many women.
Amy: Yeah, and I was really excited that you have come up, three years later, with a second edition. It’s fully revised and updated. I’ve been really enjoying it over the last couple days, re-reading it preparing for our interview today.
Lara Briden: I had some help with this edition from Professor Jerilyn Pryor who’s a reproductive endocrinologist. Yeah, there’s a couple really interesting insights from her that are in the book, quotes from her. It was lovely to have her set of eyes on some of these issues, especially, yeah, PCOS.
Amy: Yeah, she’s really a pioneer in progesterone therapy. Didn’t she train under Dr. John Lee? I think.
Lara Briden: I don’t know about that. She’s certainly been advocating for decades that women need to ovulate. Women need ovulatory cycles. There’s a quote in my book that regular ovulatory cycles are both an indicator and a creator of health, which I just love. I use that quote so much now. That’s really about how we need to ovulate so we can make progesterone, and how beneficial that is for our bones and our brain and nervous system, and mood. Yeah.
Amy: I want to just have you reiterate something that I remember you talking about on our previous podcast, which I will list in the show notes so you can listen to it, is that a period on the birth control pill is not a true period. Maybe you just explain what you mean by that.
Lara Briden: Pill bleeds are not periods, they’re drug induced bleeds, which mean nothing in terms of health. That’s in contrast to a real period, which is a bleed that follows ovulation, two weeks after ovulation. I guess I’m trying to reframe period or cycle as a monthly event that involves ovulation. That’s what it’s really all about. That’s where we get our health benefits. That’s a sign of health. My basic point is that if women are going to use, be put on hormone or birth control to shut down their hormonal system, then they don’t need to bleed.
I obviously prefer, and I like to offer ways that women can be without hormonal birth control, find other solutions for their symptoms. But if they’re going to use it, there’s really no reason to have a monthly cycle. That’s just a smokescreen set up in the 1950s and ’60s to sell the drug and make us, everyone, doctors, and patients think that it was something natural.
Amy: So I know for myself, coming off of the birth control, and really working, it took me, I would say, at least a couple years of lifestyle change and really dedicating myself to this PCOS Diva lifestyle that I’ve developed for myself and others, for my periods to really normalize. I think what Dr. Jerilyn said is, absolutely, as I saw my periods normalizing and ovulating, it was a reflection of my body coming back into balance.
Lara Briden: That’s something that’s there for almost every woman. I know some of your listeners might be thinking, “Oh, well I can’t ever do that. The doctors told me I can’t ovulate.” In my experience with thousands of patients, and now thousands of readers, for almost every woman, that possibility is there to have regular cycles. It might take a little while to get there. It can take a year or two, but this is why I talk about playing the long game. Trusting the process, which is, I think I have something I just read that you said, trust the process. Play the long game, yeah.
Amy: Yeah, and it is. It’s not a quick fix. It’s not the sprint. You’re in it for the marathon. For women that don’t have regular periods, aren’t ovulating, in your book, you really help us trouble shoot, and figure out what’s going on. Most of the women listening here have, I’m assuming, have PCOS. That’s the reason they’re not ovulating. Tell us how you like to diagnose PCOS in your practice with the women you see.
Lara Briden: Yep, okay. I think to narrow it down, I think a true PCOS picture, always, by definition has androgens or elevated male hormones. So those possibly measurable on blood test. There’s a few different ones that I look for, not just testosterone, Androstenedione and DHEA, start to look at those. Rule out other conditions that could be causing high androgens. One is congenital adrenal hyperplasia, which is actually a lot more common than I thought. I talk about that in the book a little bit.
But even if you can’t pick up the androgens on blood tests, there is some value in just looking at symptoms. There has to be something, some degree of facial hair or possibly hair loss. Acne, on its own is not diagnostic for PCOS, but it can be part of the picture. Then combine that with usually irregular ovulation, although it’s a bit of a debate about that.
You’ll notice that one thing I haven’t said there is ultrasounds, because one thing that I find in my own patients. I think this is happening in the larger sphere as well, is that doctors are really quick to throw out the diagnosis. They’re relying too heavily on the ultrasounds. It’s really important that women understand, they cannot be diagnosed that way. If that’s the only finding, is irregular periods and a polycystic appearance on ultrasound. In my view, that’s not enough to say you have the condition.
There could be some of your listeners that have ended up with the wrong diagnosis. They might be looking at more of, for example, a post pill amenorrhea or a hypothalamic amenorrhea, which is different from PCOS. It’s possible sometimes for women to swing between the two of them, PCOS to hypothalamic amenorrhea. It’s an important distinction because the thing that makes hypothalamic amenorrhea worse is restricting the diet too much. I have seen women go down the path thinking they have PCOS, cutting out more and more carbs, and ending up with just never getting their period because they’re under eating. That’s something I talk about in the book as well.
Amy: No, that’s really interesting. That makes a lot of sense. Cutting out the carbs and thinking that you’re doing the right thing, and you’re aggravating the situation. You are probably the first person that I heard coin the term post pill PCOS. I think you talked about it in the first edition of your book. You alluded to that just a moment ago. Can you explain what you mean by that for listeners?
Lara Briden: Yeah. Okay so it’s pretty common for women to not start to ovulate again when they’ve come off the pill, and during that time, my observation is, it’s pretty likely to be given the diagnosis of PCOS. For me, for my patients, my first thought, my very first question would be, “Okay, is this just that something has been revealed? That you had PCOS before you ever went on the pill, and now it’s been masked. Now it’s come back?” That would be more of a true PCOS situation. But there’s also a lot of women who had normal periods before they went on the pill, and are then in what would be described as a more temporary state of PCOS after coming off the pill.
Professor Prior who helped me with the book, she referred to that as temporary anovulatory androgen excess. So this is just after the drugs, after being on those androgen suppressing drugs and ovarian suppressing drugs.
Amy: Like Yasmin, which is one of those pills that are often recommended for women that look like they have PCOS.
Lara Briden: Yeah. My experience with Yasmin specifically, is that a lot of women seem to get a temporary surge of androgens when they come off. That can show up in the skin. I’ve measured it. I certainly have patients where, for maybe six months coming off something like Yasmin, they’re actually showing a bit of high Androstenedione, for example. But then it settles down.
Part of it could be because they’re doing treatments to settle that down. But I think, at least for some of my patients, my observation is, they were probably not a high androgen person genetically. They were just pushed into that temporarily. Then my advice would be, if you can move out of that state, if you then find your androgens settled down and you’re ovulating regularly, for some of those post pill women, I think they can then let go of the diagnosis of PCOS. I would say that was not the true genetic PCOS like some other women have.
Part of the problem with PCOS is that it’s an umbrella diagnosis. The same term is being used to describe women with high androgens that are there for all sorts of different reasons, hopefully also ruling out some of the obvious ones like adrenal hyperplasia, which should not be called PCOS, but often are. You’ve got the true PCOS with the insulin resistance all clumped together with the hypothalamic amenorrhea, with the polycystic finding on ultrasound clumped together with this post pill temporary androgen excess.
It came out of my own clinical work trying to get results. I need to look beyond the PCOS diagnosis, not just give a cookbook approach, generic PCOS approach for all these women. We need to understand what their bodies are actually doing. That’s where the different types came out of is just a very practical, functional way for me to get results with patients. Fortunately, it also seems to be working out there in the real world.
Amy: Yeah, definitely. I think that it’s a double edged sword. This momentum that we’re building in the PCOS community with awareness. I don’t know if you follow PCOS Challenge here in the states, but they were able to get the Senate to acknowledge PCOS as a health crisis and designate PCOS awareness month as September. We’re trying to get a bill passed and get the House to also recognize it.
I think that things are really moving forward. I see a lot more media articles about PCOS than I did when I first started PCOS Diva. But with that, I think, comes that possibility of over diagnosis, especially, I think, with our teenagers. Tell us about your thoughts on diagnosing a teen with PCOS, and then putting her on the birth control pill and metformin, which is usually, I think, what probably happens.
Lara Briden: Well, teenagers are in a temporary state of PCOS almost by definition. I learned that from one of your other guests, Dr. Fiona McCullough, who is … You could link to one of her podcasts. I don’t know if she spoke about that with you.
Lara Briden: I forget where I first heard that. I read that in her book. As soon as she said that, I thought, “Yeah, that makes total sense.” Since then, I’ve seen in some of a guidelines in Australia where I practice, that doctors are not permitted, or should never be giving the diagnosis of PCOS to a girl younger than 20, because all teens have some degree of insulin resistance. All teens have potentially a higher number of follicles, and so therefore, polycystic appearing ovaries. Many teens, especially in their younger years, have irregular periods. So when you look at that whole population, that’s what’s happening. It makes sense that we have to be careful not to put a label on these girls too quickly.
That said, if I meet a teen who is definitely insulin resistant and eating a lot of sugar, and I can see going down the path of, “That’s not going to end well with her hormonal system.” I will, I think, I want to intervene with diet. I’m not totally against the drug metformin, but I just can’t see how a teenager should need that. Their bodies respond so well to dietary changes. It’s my experience clinically that they don’t need that. They certainly don’t need the pill. I worry very much about putting teens on the pill, because we know of its potential long-term effects. The way it interrupts the maturation process of the female hormone signaling pathways. It’s just, yeah, not a good idea to be putting a teenager, a 13 year old on the pill.
Amy: I just had a mother and daughter on. I just recorded a podcast a couple days ago. This was a mother and daughter that I coached years ago when she was 15. They came to me because she was put on the pill. She was getting very depressed, because depression is a side effect. Her mother was getting really concerned. I was their last ditch effort. I’m going to have to link to that on this podcast note too, because if you have a teen, you have to listen. It’s so inspiring now.
Sarah is, I think she is a junior in college. She’s gorgeous and thriving, and modeling. Has lost a ton of weight just with her lifestyle, supplements. Once she was shown the way, you’re right, everything sort of came back into balance within six to eight months, her mom said.
Lara Briden: Nice. That’s a lovely story, yeah.
Amy: Yeah, something else that I wanted to talk to you about. You wrote a blog article. I think it was this past fall, about pain and PCOS. That pain really is not a symptom of PCOS. In my work, I have come to that conclusion as well, that pain is an indication that there’s something else going on. I would love for you to talk to listeners about that.
Lara Briden: PCOS is a hormonal condition. The doctor that should be advising people about PCOS are endocrinologists. It’s a whole body, metabolic, hormonal condition. It’s not a gynecological condition. This is where the confusion comes. Polycystic ovaries are not painful. That said, there are lots of other kinds of ovarian cysts that are painful. The problem is partly with the word cyst, which sounds bad. It sounds like I’ve got something abnormal on my ovaries. But technically, the normal ovary has cysts as well. They’re the eggs, the follicles that are developing, so different things can happen there. In a normal ovary, those cysts, I guess, or follicles will … there’ll be a certain number of them. One will progress to ovulation. The ovary will look a certain way on ultrasound.
With abnormal, painful ovarian cysts, there are at least a dozen different ways that can go badly. You can get an enlarged cyst that’s happening for different reasons. You can get what are called endometriomas, which are endometriosis cysts, technically, although they’re from another disease called endometriosis. All of those can cause pain.
With polycystic ovaries, what’s happened is the follicles are underdeveloped. They’re just tiny. They’re not progressing to ovulation. It doesn’t mean anything pathological with the ovary like the other conditions are. It just means that hormonally, ovulation’s not happening. My experience, it can be very confusing for women. I understand that, because what I see happening is that women have pain. It could be for lots of different reasons. They go to the doctor. They have an investigation. The doctor discovers polycystic ovaries. They’re both, the doctor and the patient are thinking, “Oh, that sounds bad. That’s abnormal. That must be the explanation for the pain.” It’s not.
It doesn’t mean that the patient doesn’t also have the hormonal condition polycystic ovarian syndrome. She might, but that’s not the explanation for the pain. There’s another reason. It could just be normal period pain. It could be endometriosis, which is a common condition. It affects one in 10 women. It’s completely possible to have both polycystic ovarian syndrome, the hormonal condition, and endometriosis, the gynecological condition at the same time, which seems cruel, but is very possible.
I encourage my patients and readers to not stop at that polycystic ultrasound finding, but to look deeper, dig deeper and treat the pain, and try to get an explanation for it.
Amy: I just was going to give a shout out to one of my favorite experts when it comes to solving pelvic pain issues is Jessica Drummond. I’m just going to give listeners her website. It’s integrativewomenshealthinstitute.com. That is what she works on, is figuring out what causes pelvic pain. So that’s a good resource for those women that are really suffering with pain and have PCOS. But it really isn’t a PCOS symptom, per se.
Lara Briden: No, it’s interesting you bring up … She sounds like she’s a pelvic pain detective, because that’s what it requires, because it could just be muscular. It could be spasm. It could be inflammation. It could be adhesions. There’s lots of different reasons. What really struck me was once I had a reader comment on my blog. She’s like, “I keep doing everything for PCOS.” She meant cutting carbs. “And nothing helps.” I said, “Helps with what?” Because she, by that point, said that she was having regular cycles, and had no symptoms of androgens. I’m like, “What are you needing to be helped with?” And she said, “The pain.”
It’s like, “Okay, right. Back to the drawing board.” All these hormonal treatments for PCOS are not going to help the pain.
Amy: Yeah, no. So I really wanted to clear the air on that topic. Something else that I thought was really interesting while reading your book the other night. Well, before we get there, I want to talk a little bit more about … I think the pain, for a lot of women, there is an inflammation connection. Certainly, there can be pain. Well, I think what we’re referring to is pelvic pain in PCOS. But I think a lot of women with PCOS have joint pain. That comes from inflammation.
I’d love for you to explain the inflammation connection with PCOS. I think that’s actually even one of your types of PCOS that you’ve identified.
Lara Briden: Yeah. Well, first of all, it’s pretty standard for there to be some degree of chronic inflammation with any type of PCOS, even with the main insulin resistant PCOS. Even that insulin resistance, pre-diabetic state generates a degree of inflammation.
So that’s just always there. My observation is, there is another group of women for whom a chronic inflammation possibly coming from the gut or food sensitivities is one of the major driving factors for impaired ovulation in their case. And also for elevated androgens, because I did find a paper. My observation is that chronic inflammation, systemic inflammation in the body seems to create a hypersensitivity of the androgen receptors. So certainly, I’ve seen, I’m sure, as part of your protocol, reducing inflammation, removing inflammatory foods like gluten and dairy improves androgen symptoms over time.
I think it’s, at least in part, to do with what happening at the androgen receptors. There’s that picture, often a picture of chronic inflammation. As you point out, yeah, that could also be causing other symptoms, headaches and joint pain. Those are all markers of clues, if you will, that there’s a degree of systemic inflammation. That should improve with working to correct the inflammation.
Amy: Yeah, and I think diet is just such a powerful … The food that you eat can be your greatest medicine or the greatest poison, I think, sometimes you put in your body. You mentioned gluten and dairy. I think that there’s other food sensitivities that you can really dial into. I actually had a food sensitivity panel done. I have a podcast with Dr. Margaret Nicholas that actually did my sensitivity panel. It came out that I was off the charts high with egg yolks and egg whites, which in my meal plans, I’m a big proponent of eating eggs for the protein in the morning.
It’s such a bummer for me. But I cut that out. The other day, I was out, and I thought, “Well, I’m going to try and have an omelet and see how I feel.” Well, I was so inflamed. I just felt it. My head hurt. My body ached like I was coming down with the flu, but I know it wasn’t the flu. It was the reaction to the eggs. Maybe you could speak to those food sensitivity panels. How do we know what other foods are causing problems.
Lara Briden: In my view, currently there’s not an easy way to know. I have, in the past, used those food sensitivity panels. I’m not 100% convinced. I think they can be helpful, but I don’t treat the like they’re written in stone. I work a lot more, currently, with trying, removing foods. Potentially any food could be inflammatory for someone. But for most people, it boils down to the top three or four. Gluten and dairy are probably the most common, but I estimate that an egg sensitivity like what you’re describing, in my patient population probably is about one in 10 women. So it’s not the most common, but it’s certainly there. I look at eggs more if there’s any evidence of autoimmunity happening at all.
There was another book that came out this year by Izabella Wentz, the thyroid, Hashimoto’s book, and autoimmune thyroid book. I was interested. I think I’ve got this right, that she recommends no eggs as part of her basic protocol for anyone with autoimmune thyroid, which, yeah. I took note of that. I thought that kind of makes sense to me.
We know that autoimmune thyroid disease is actually quite common in the PCOS population, more common than in the general population. There’s a bit of overlap there between the conditions, which goes back to what we were saying about inflammation playing a role. For example, if my patient is positive for thyroid antibodies, for the autoimmune marker of thyroid disease, then I would be looking more seriously at strictly … at least trying to strictly avoid gluten and eggs for a couple months, two or three months. You can’t just do it for a few days or even a week and expect to see very much change. It needs to be given a chance for the immune system to calm down after the removal of that food.
The other condition that .. Sorry, giving it away, that eggs seem to play a role in endometriosis. Back to that inflammatory condition of the pelvis, gynecological condition, highly inflammatory condition, way more than PCOS. It’s characterized primarily by inflammation. And endometriosis, routinely, I think women need to be looking at strictly no gluten, strictly no cows’ dairy, and possibly no eggs for a few months to see how that is.
I recently shared a post about eggs on my social media. I had a lot of endometriosis sufferers saying, for them that was the missing part. Avoiding eggs is what really seemed to turn it around for them. So yeah, unfortunately, because eggs are such a great food. I love them. As in nutritionally, objectively, I’m like, “They are wonderful. They’re like a super food.” But at the same time, unfortunately, for various reasons, I think, they’re one of the inflammatory foods.
Amy: Yeah. I know. I have to keep telling myself nothing tastes as good as feeling good feels. But sometimes, you just make the choice to have it and suffer the consequences, I guess.
Lara Briden: All that said, I think there are a number of your listeners who can eat eggs. So, I don’t want people to go away thinking, “Oh, that’s it. I’m off eggs.” Think it through. Look for evidence of inflammation like we’ve talked about, joint pain and skin inflammation. Eczema is a common marker of egg sensitivity as well. But if you don’t have any of those things, and you’re really more of just the insulin resistant type of PCOS, you can have eggs.
I’d say the majority of my PCOS patients, I ask them to have eggs, because I think that’s a nutritious, easy way to eat.
Amy: Yeah, absolutely. And for more of the nuanced information, you really have to get a copy of your book, so that you can see the different protocols you have for each type of PCOS. You have a little quiz in there too to help you determine what protocol you should be looking at.
Lara Briden: Yeah, a flow chart-
Amy: Flow chart, yeah.
Lara Briden: Flor chart. And it’s also, I say ,the first part of the flow chart for your listeners. The very first question, if someone’s told you you have PCOS, however that was diagnosed, find out if you have insulin resistance, to what degree you have insulin resistance. For me, that’s the crux of the matter. Then, if you have severe insulin resistance, then focus on that. Don’t get distracted by too many of the other things that are in my book. It’s really about getting that insulin down.
Just on the topic of over-diagnosis, we’ve talked about that a bit today. I do want to acknowledge, at the same time, there’s a lot of under diagnosis happening, because there are a lot of women with insulin resistance having a few periods a year because of the insulin resistance, essentially, who don’t know that’s what’s going on. That’s a problem. Those women really need help. Those are the women who need to understand that this is a hormonal condition, that it’s putting them at risk for longer term problems, and that the solution of changing the diet and bringing the insulin down could just be a life changer for them.
That kind of outreach work and trying to reach more women and increase awareness is really important too.
Amy: Yeah, I love that you mentioned that. I actually posted on my PCOS Diva page today about this campaign that a company that I actually did another podcast with called Celmatix. They do genetic testing for fertility. But they have a campaign called “Say the F word.” You know it’s a little provocative. But the F word is fertility. It’s about really opening up that fertility conversation, and not being afraid to talk about your fertility. I want to say that about your book too. Period Repair Manual, it’s not just about PCOS, it’s about women’s health.
I think I shared this with you. You probably don’t remember, but I was reading your book for the first time. Now it’s like three years ago. We took our family on a cruise to Bermuda. I was on the pool deck. You know how crowded those cruise pool decks are. You’re sandwiched together. I’m reading the book and listening to, over my shoulder, a conversation with a bunch of moms about my age, middle age, 40s. They were talking about their teenage daughters and their period and everything. Honestly, I turned around and I said, “I don’t mean to be listening to your conversation, but I’m reading the best book right here. You need to read it and share it with your daughter.” So I think you’re right. We have to feel like we can have these conversations with our friends, and our female, our family members.
I think your book is just a great resource and conversation opener.
Lara Briden: It’s interesting what you said about fertility, because I would argue fertility is not just about making babies. This is one of the things too. We tend to, with women’s health, compartmentalize it. Doctors have this idea, it’s like, “Well, you don’t really need any of that until you’re actually ready to have a baby. Then come back, and then we’ll talk about the fertility treatment machine.”
But even for those women who maybe never want babies, or are years before, or have finished their babies. It doesn’t matter. Fertility has to do with ovulation, which is what I said at the beginning is both an indicator or vitality, and a source of vitality. It’s our spark, hormonal spark.
If you compare it to men, obviously, we know that testosterone’s quite important for men. If they lost their testosterone spark, we would be thinking that’s a problem for them, for their general health. It’s the same for women. We need the estrogen and progesterone that come from ovulation. Those are very different molecules than the drugs that come from the pill. We need to make them, those hormones, vitality hormones with our ovaries. That’s our hormonal spark. It matters. This has been Professor Pryor’s work for these last couple decades. This matters. Ovulation matters for women, it’s not just about making babies.
Amy: Yeah, that’s really a great endpoint for this podcast. I do want to just make one comment there, which I know you would agree with. It’s the artificial hormones in birth control, but also the artificial progesterone that so many women are given that they think that they’re taking progesterone when it’s really not.
Lara Briden: Yeah, so there’s a post on my blog called the crucial difference between progesterone and progestins, progestin drugs, they’re really, yeah, very different in their effects. For example, progesterone, the hormone, the natural hormone, is beneficial for mood. It helps to stabilize the adrenal axis, it’s called the HPA axis. Progestins don’t have that benefit. They have the opposite. They, as you mentioned earlier, have been lined with depression and anxiety. So that’s just one example. Progesterone is good for hair. Many, not all, but many progestins cause hair loss. So many progestins are androgens. So that’s another, I guess, type, if you will, of … not exactly a type of PCOS, but there’s a lot of women who have been on what’s called the drug levonorgestrel, one of the most common progestins used in hormonal birth control. It’s like testosterone.
They’ve been on that for years. They get hair loss. They start to get this androgen picture happening. They might be told they have PCOS when all along it’s been from the pill that they’ve been taking.
Amy: Well, this podcast has been so eye opening for, I think, a lot of us. I really encourage women to get a copy of your book, because it’s such a wealth of information. It’s so aligned with what I try to teach. I’m very picky about the people I bring on to my podcast. Rarely do I invite people back for two times. So you are a special, special person to me. I’m just so thrilled you took the time to share your amazing knowledge with us today.
Lara Briden: Thank you, Amy. It was a real delight talking to you again.
Amy: I would love if you could just share a little bit if people want to find out more about your work? Where can they find you?
Lara Briden: Yeah, I’m easy to find. My website is Larabriden.com, Lara Briden, the period revolutionary. I’m on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, @LaraBriden. My book is Period Repair Manual on Amazon or iTunes, or the usual.
Amy: I love your blog posts too. They’re always so interesting. So I encourage folks to just drop in every now and then and read your latest blogs.
Lara Briden: Yeah, great. Thank you, Amy.
Amy: Well, thank you, and thank you, everyone, for listening.
Eye opening! Thank you! I am off to research Jessica Drummond’s website because — outside of fertility struggles — pelvic pain has been one of my biggest complaints for the past 2 1/2 years! I had a laparoscopy which found no endometriosis, so I’ve been left with no answers. Hopeful to find some answers…