Episode #95: Olivia’s Hormone Harmony Story: Balancing PCOS with Mind-Body Connection

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Olivia's Hormone Harmony Story: Balancing PCOS with Mind-Body Connection

What you’ll learn in this episode

In today’s episode, I, your host Ashlene, am excited to share the inspiring story of Olivia, a woman I had the privilege of working with last year. Olivia’s journey highlights the transformative power of relinquishing the struggle to control her health and instead embracing a path of healing.

Olivia’s experience resonates with many women who grapple with hormonal imbalances, experiencing a sense of chaos and frustration in their health journeys. Olivia’s insights provide a fresh perspective on addressing the root cause of PCOS-related hormonal imbalances, offering valuable lessons for anyone navigating similar challenges.

Olivia’s Struggles:

Olivia, 31 years old, grappled with a myriad of symptoms including acne, irregular periods, and mood swings, which greatly impacted her self-esteem and confidence. Despite trying various treatments such as Accutane and Spironolactone, Olivia found herself in a relentless battle against her symptoms, feeling disconnected from her body and trapped in a cycle of despair. Through her healing journey, Olivia began to see her body in a new light and embrace a new mindset toward creating the health she wanted.

My hope in this episode is that Olivia’s journey reminds you of the importance of approaching health with patience, understanding, and a willingness to listen to the body’s signals. Through Olivia’s experience, I encourage you to reflect on your mindset towards your health and explore new ways of nurturing your body towards harmony and well-being.

Let’s Continue The Conversation

Do you have questions about this episode or other questions about PCOS? I would love to connect and chat on a more personal level over on Instagram. My DMs are my favorite place to chat more.


So go visit me on IG @nourishedtohealthy.com


Let’s Continue The Conversation

Do you have questions about this episode or other questions about PCOS? I would love to connect and chat on a more personal level over on Instagram. My DMs are my favorite place to chat more.


So go visit me on IG @nourishedtohealthy.com


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Read The Full Episode Transcript Here

Hormonal imbalances can leave us feeling like our body is working against us, is out of control. Our symptoms can create this sense of chaos in our health. In today’s episode, it’s my privilege to share a story of one of the women that I worked with who felt like her hormones, her health, her symptoms were creating a lot of devastating chaos in her day to day, in her self-esteem, and how she systematically created a sense of calm in her body in order to balance her hormones and to begin to cultivate the health that she wanted in her body. With that, let’s go ahead and dive in to Olivia’s journey from PCOS Chaos to Hormone Harmony.

You’re listening to the PCOS Repair podcast, where we explore the ins and outs of PCOS and how to Repair the Imbalances in your Hormones Naturally with a little medical help sprinkled in. Hi, I’m Ashlene Korcek, and with many years of medical and personal experience with polycystic ovarian syndrome, it is my joy to watch women reverse their PCOS as they learn to nourish their body in a whole new way. With the power of our beliefs, our mindset, and our environment, and the understanding of our genetics, we can heal at the root cause.

Welcome back to the PCOS Repair podcast, where today I get to share a story of a lovely lady that I worked with and how she felt like her body was in complete and total chaos, and how all she wanted was to start to make sense of the chaos so that she could bring it back into a sense of calm and working together and feeling like she knew what to do in order to create the health that she wanted. I think that’s one of the key things when it comes to PCOS is that we hear all these ways to get healthy or to get more fit or to eat better. Sometimes when we have PCOS, we feel like there’s something missing. We try all these things and nothing seems to work the way we feel like it should be. Our body isn’t responding the way we want it to, and we feel very stuck. Everybody else has some secret that we must be missing, and it must be because we have PCOS.

I met Olivia when she was 31 years old, and she had been battling hormonal imbalances that manifested as acne, irregular periods, mood swings. Her PCOS had taken a toll on her self-esteem, her body image, her confidence. She could feel herself just slipping into this depression of nothing works anyway, this is just how it’s going to be, and a little bit of sadness, but a lot of just despair and frustration of reaching that same roadblock over and over and over. I remember her telling me early on that she just felt like there wasn’t anything particularly wrong or bad in her life, but she just felt down. She felt like it really stemmed from how her body felt, how she felt in her body, how she felt about her body, and her lack of being able to create the health and vibrancy that she saw in others. She just felt at a loss as to how to attain that for herself. She had been doing her best for years. Starting back in high school, she had began combating symptom by symptom. Instead of looking at a holistic, holistic meaning well-rounded from all aspects of our health and our environment, but really focusing on just each individual symptom and how to combat that symptom from a traditional medical standpoint. By the time I met her, she had been on three rounds of Accutane for her acne, twice in high school and once in her early 20s but even in her beginning of her 30s, she was still getting horrible cystic acne each month that would heal just in time for the next round to show up, if not even being fully healed. If you’ve ever had cystic acne, there’s this painful pimple type lesion. They tend to be fairly large, but they tend to be rather firm and painful and red and inflamed and just they’re miserable little things. You can feel them coming on almost before you can even see them. They don’t pop like a white head. Then the worst part is that if that wasn’t bad enough, as they do begin to start healing and flattening out, the color from them remains for weeks, even months, following the little acne spot. While you may not have pain in that spot anymore, you may have a new spot that has pain, the discoloration remains, and so you feel like you just can’t get your complexion under control. It’s a very, very frustrating type of acne.

Her dermatologist, at the time that I met her when she was 31, had on something called Spironolactone, also known as Aldactone, as well as several topicals like retinoids and antibiotic topicals that left her skin feeling really raw and irritated. She was on and off antibiotics. That’s something that she didn’t want to be on all the time, but when her acne would get really bad, she would go ahead and take a round of antibiotics to help decrease that inflammation in the severity of her acne due to her irregular periods in PMS, so again, here, another symptom that she’s combating individually, she’s been taking birth control pills, and thanks to always feeling really lethargic, she was consuming about four cups of coffee a day at the time that we started working together.

As you can see, with all of the symptom management of acne, irregular periods, being fatigued and then over caffeinating, Olivia felt really disconnected from her body. She felt like she was just piecing together different things and taking a very defensive approach and not an offensive approach to her health. As we started working together, a few common trends stood out to me. She was in force mode. I don’t know if you can feel that as you think about how she’s handling her acne, how she’s handling her irregular periods and her PMS and how she’s handling her fatigue. She’s in just force my body to cooperate. She’s forcing her acne to the point of having dry and irritated skin. None of the things that she’s using per se are bad. I’ve definitely had patients on all of those regimens, but it’s a matter of finding what works for them so that their skin is not overly sensitive. It’s finding those thresholds of what they need and what else is going on deeper that may allow us to soften our treatment approach because while some people are more prone to acne and may benefit from some combination therapy of lifestyle and environment, as well as some additional topicals and possibly some oral medications, we I don’t want to be pushing it to the point where our skin is irritated just in order to avoid new acne lesions. Even with that, she was still breaking out, so it still wasn’t even working for her.

She was in this force mode to manage her acne, her cycle, her energy, her weight, and her appearance of health, and even her mood. As I began to work with her, she had started over the last couple of months starting to feel her mood dip, and she felt like everything she was doing had this really trying hard, doing everything she could, again, that force mode, without seeing the results that she wanted. She was really frustrated and felt like nothing was working, that her body was, in fact, working against her, not with her. In Olivia’s case, the adjustments that we made, honestly, weren’t earth-shattering. She wasn’t overly unhealthy in any area of her body, she wasn’t overly unbalanced, she was doing her best to eat nutritious meals, she was doing her best to exercise and get movement in her day but for her, it really came down to a mindset shift, and this is what made all of the difference in how she approached her food, her calories, her sleep, her time to unwind, and even her skin regimen. Again, it was more about, in her words, my words would have been to stop forcing it as much but in her words, I stopped trying to hold the pieces together of my falling apart body. Instead, I learned where it needed assistance in finding health. That’s how she put it several months after we started working together.

The mind-body connection transformed Olivia’s perspective on health. Instead of viewing her body as the adversary, she began to see it as the complex system that it is that required nurturing and care. Olivia’s journey emphasized the importance of addressing her PCOS, not just physically, but also through that mind-body practice, recognizing that the way sometimes we are trying so hard, we forget to listen and connect the dots and where we are getting frustrated and anxious and stressed, if we just stepped back and looked at what is it that’s causing this, all of a sudden, it can become a much more simple and calm journey to finding what she needed.

It wasn’t that she didn’t do anything to change her environment. It was more that she stopped forcing things and started to pay more attention to what was or wasn’t working and leaned into the one slightly differently that were working. Overall, through consistency, Olivia experienced clearer skin, improved mood stability, and regular menstrual cycles. I think that in a large part in Olivia’s case, and this is not for everybody, but so much of her mood improvement came from finally feeling like she had a constructive hand in how her health was going. When she felt like she had control and she had the ability to understand what her body needed and had the ability to make the changes that her body needed, she just was able to relax and enjoy the process so much more than feeling like everything was a no or this won’t work either, or another disappointment. I think that’s where her mood particularly improved.

When I say that these type of things can improve your mood, I do want to make the caveat that if you are struggling with mood disorders and they’re in the way of you making progress or in the way of you living your normal day-to-day life. That may be something that you need to seek help for individually and even before you dive into your healing journey with PCOS, particularly, or at least at the same time. I do want to point out that while we’re talking about this mind-body shift and her overall mood improving, that her mood was very clearly coming down due to her PCOS symptoms. Sometimes, mood in and of itself is a PCOS symptom and needs to be addressed more professionally by therapy or by a psychologist or psychiatrist, depending on what’s going on for you, particularly. That’s not something to just hold out and hope it gets better. If it’s affecting your day to day, I recommend strongly that you seek professional help for that particular symptom but as she saw her health improve, the harmony that she was able to achieve within herself finally made the physical changes that were impacting her overall health and quality of life start to feel so effortless and just normal for her that when we were having the conversation as I was getting ready to record this episode, she said, I forgot how bad it even was.

I remember having really bad acne and stuff, but she’s like, I have tuned out how frustrated and how down I really felt about it because I don’t feel that way anymore. She’s like, even if I get some acne, she’s like, Oh, I can just tell. I’ve been not getting the sleep I need, I’ve been not drinking the water that I normally drink, and my diet has slipped a little bit, she’s like that. Makes sense to me, and I know exactly what to do about it, even when I get some acne and it’s frustrating and I’m not happy about it, I know exactly what to do so I don’t feel down about it like I used to.

This is the difference, my friend, that we can feel when we work with our body instead of against our body, instead of always relying on the modes that force our body to conform or try to force our body to conform through antibiotics, through birth control, through Accutane, through more harsh methods of dieting and trying all of these quick fix methods. When we start to understand why our body is behaving the way it is and what nurturing care it needs, we can start to feel so much more at ease with the process, even as we continue to make the improvements that we want to make.

I hope that you find Olivia’s story inspirational and that it helps to inspire you to feel hopeful that you can even feel different about your health. More importantly, I hope that it serves for you to see a different perspective of this isn’t all about, this healing journey is not all about forcing and trying harder. Sometimes it’s about sitting back and recognizing where we could just try a little bit and see some amazing improvements.

With that, I would love to hear your big takeaways over on Instagram. One of my favorite parts of sharing these stories of women that I have worked with you on the podcast here is the instant messages that I get over on Instagram of what your favorite takeaway was, what you heard in and then getting to pass these along to the women that were willing to let me share their stories because I think that when we hear how different each person’s journey is and how the different areas that they were struggling and how other people were able to take a step back, approach their health differently, and see different outcomes that they hadn’t been able to achieve before.

It helps us to feel like, You know what? There’s probably things out there that we haven’t figured out yet about our health, and that there’s things that we can do that are going to make all the difference. That type of hope keeps us working towards the better health, better way of feeling in our body that we want, and so I love being able to pass on your takeaways to the women that were willing to share their stories and with that, you can find me over on Instagram @Nourishedtohealthy. Until next time, bye for now.

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About Show

Welcome to The PCOS Repair Podcast!

I’m Ashlene Korcek, and each week I’ll be sharing the latest findings on PCOS and how to make practical health changes to your lifestyle to repair your PCOS at the root cause.

If you’re struggling with PCOS, know that you’re not alone. In fact, it’s estimated that one in ten women have PCOS. But the good news is that there is a lot we can do to manage our symptoms and live healthy, happy lives.

So whether you’re looking for tips on nutrition, exercise, supplements, or mental health, you’ll find it all here on The PCOS Repair Podcast. Ready to get started? Hit subscribe now