Episode #63: Leveraging Continuous Glucose Monitoring for Improved PCOS Wellness

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Leveraging Continuous Glucose Monitoring for Improved PCOS Wellness

What you’ll learn in this episode

Learn how continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) can shed healing light on PCOS wellness. Harness the power of CGM to optimize blood sugar levels, metabolic hormones, and overall PCOS well-being.

Ever wonder if you are eating too much or too little carbohydrates, and how they are affecting your glucose? In this episode, I am excited to share about one of my more recent favorite tools for PCOS hormone health. 

This essential topic can provide personalized answers to feel better in your body, improve fertility, manage weight, and boost energy levels. Join me as we dive into the world of Continuous Glucose Monitoring for Improved PCOS Wellness.

It’s always important to consider the uniqueness of each individual when healing PCOS. PCOS is a complex condition, and understanding its root cause, which varies for each woman based on genetics and environment, is crucial for personalized paths to health.

Glucose and insulin play a big role in root cause metabolic health, even for women with stress response or inflammation as their primary root cause. What foods and lifestyle factors are having a positive or negative impact on our health? This is something that a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) can shed light on. 

In this episode, you will learn how a CGM can assist you on your PCOS health journey, how easy it is to get started, how long and what to monitor, and more. 

Are you ready for some practical knowledge and actionable steps to enhance your PCOS wellness? Hit play and listen now!

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

 

Resources & References Mentioned in this episode

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Read The Full Episode Transcript Here

Today, I’m really excited to share a tool that has revolutionized how I approach my PCOS Hormone Health and has also had a huge impact for the women that I work with to be able to get a real-time picture of what is going on with their blood sugar. I’m really excited to go over the benefits of working with a continuous glucose monitor in regards to getting a lot of amazing insights into your PCOS health. So let’s dive in.

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 ashelen 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’m really excited to be talking about continuous glucose monitoring. As always, I want to remind you that your PCOS is so unique. It’s because no one is the same. Our genetics are different, our environment is different, our lifestyle is different, our goals and our things that we want from our body are different, what we love to do is different, our likes, our dislikes, all of these things make up what is going to work for us and also the environmental impact that is on our body and how we have to deal with what’s going on in our personal lives. It’s so different for everyone. All of this creates an ecosystem that either supports or is difficult for our hormones to cope with. Each person is dealing with such different things that not everything is going to be the same for everyone, which is why I find that a continuous glucose monitor is an amazing tool for women with PCOS. While the monitor is looking at glucose, and we’re going to look at exactly what the CGM or the continuous glucose monitor is in just a minute, but when I’m looking at and reading my results on a daily basis of what my CGM is telling me, I am able to see how a specific food impacted my blood sugar.

I’m also able to see over the week or two how that specific food affected my blood sugar differently if I had a poor night’s sleep versus a good night’s sleep versus have I exercised or have I not exercised? Also, what did I pair that food with? Did certain things make a difference? This gives me so much insight into one of the questions that I get repeatedly from women with PCOS and a huge PCOS debate among experts. That is, are carbs good or bad for PCOS? Well, first of all, we have to remember that carbs are not good or bad. There are carbs that are really beneficial for our PCOS. I mean, vegetables are carbs, right? and then fruit also is up for debate. Is fruit good for PCOS? Well, fruit is filled with nutrients and vibrant color. All of that vibrant color tells us how good these are for us. They’re full of antioxidants and so many great things. Also, then there’s the foods that we enjoy that make life more enjoyable, but also make life easier, such as the more refined carbohydrates, the grains, the legumes, the processed foods. This is all on a spectrum of what are extremely beneficial to which things may be less beneficial, but are also important to determine how and where they fit into our lifestyle.

As we look at all of that, because we are all unique, because our different genetics, because of our different environment, because we have different primary root causes of our PCOS, all of this carb conversation is not specific to each individual person and so when we’re able to take a look at a continuous glucose monitor and see how is this affecting me personally? And when we can learn to interpret those results and tweak our environment and what we’re eating in order to optimize our blood sugar and therefore our insulin, we can really have a tremendous impact on our metabolic health. And by impacting our metabolic health for the better, we can improve our endocrine and our androgens and therefore our PCOS sex hormones like our progesterone, our estrogen, our testosterone, and create an ecosystem that is helping our hormones to thrive, while also understanding what we can include and be less restrictive or less fearful about what we’re including in our diet because we can really truly see in real time how it’s working. You can see the carb, sugar, glycemic index, all of these topics that we talk about. It is not a one size fits all, nothing about health should be a one size fits all. We need to look at each individual person where they’re currently at. It’s not even a one size fits all for each person. Where I’m at today, my needs and everything are very different as I approach 30 than they were in my 20s. They’re very different as I have different health goals than when I was trying to get pregnant. All of these things create a very different situation of how I need to approach my hormone health. This tool is allowing us to dive in a little bit deeper without constant laughs, without constant finger pokes, and have a visual of what’s going on. Now, it’s not the end-all, be-all, the only tool you’ll ever need and doesn’t answer all of our questions to PCOS, but it definitely answers some pivotal questions, especially when it comes to how our carbohydrates and how other foods maybe are you combining with the carbohydrates. How is that affecting your body and is it working for you or do we need to make adjustments?

One of the things that I always like to remind people is that this is a lifestyle. We’re not trying to just do something for a couple weeks, It needs to be sustainable. This is a tool that can help us to determine what things we’re doing that are really impactful, either positively or negatively, as well as what things are we maybe putting a lot of effort in because we think they’re really helpful and maybe they’re not as helpful as we thought. Certain foods, we think that they’re really healthy and lo and behold, they’re actually affecting our blood sugar negatively. These are things where it’s like, Oh, well, if that’s the case, then I’m going to skip that and do more of this and we can really see which things are working for us and just because one thing isn’t being as… Maybe one thing is causing some problems in our blood sugar. That doesn’t mean that we have to throw it out altogether, but it does help to be aware of it and to know which things to lean into and which things to lead for special occasions.

How does a CGM work? This is an important question because all of this sounds really great. We would love this information, but how exactly does a continuous glucose or a CGM as a tool work? It is currently in the US, and I think in most countries, a prescription. I have gotten mine from my physician. I’m going to let you know later in the podcast how you can go around that because there are some ways that you can get it without a prescription. But for the most part, people have gotten them through prescriptions. They are not well covered by insurance. That’s one of the problems with going through a prescription. Unless you have type 2 diabetes, they may or may not be covered by your insurance. They can be fairly expensive. They are becoming more and more and we’ll talk about in a minute, more and more available even outside of the US. We’re being able to get this type of tool for women with PCOS that may not actually be under the criteria of type two diabetes yet, which is amazing to finally be able to have some of these preventative tools and tools to help us prevent bigger diseases earlier when we can actually do something to prevent them. The way it works is you get this little device and it goes in the back of your arm, in the soft part between your elbow and your shoulder.

It has a little apparatus and you just clean the area with alcohol. If you go to my Instagram page, you’ll see a video of me applying it. It’s just a quick press it on and it makes a popping noise. It does not hurt at all. The popping noise makes it sound like it should have hurt, but it doesn’t hurt at all. Then the little probe goes, it’s very small, it’s very flexible, it’s not scary looking at all, but it goes straight into the interstitial of our arm. That’s basically the space between everything. It’s not in the muscle, it’s not in the skin, it’s not in the blood system. It’s in that softer, fluid tissue underneath our skin. From there, it’s able to actually get continuous reads of what our blood sugar is doing. We get a curve throughout the day of just this continuous, our blood sugar comes up, our blood sugar goes down. We can see what it’s doing while we’re sleeping, and we can get a really great picture of what our blood sugar is doing. When our blood sugar is going up, we can assume that our insulin is being released and depending on how fast and how abruptly our glucose drops, how much insulin we were getting, and so we can make some assumptions that then help us to see what is going on in our metabolic health.

This is an amazing tool because right there on your phone, you connect it to your app. It’s super easy. It doesn’t take a lot of technology know-how, and you just basically make an account. You get the app on your phone, create an account. You say, Scan new device. You hold it up to your CGM, and there you go. You’re paired, and there you’re ready to use it, you’re ready to see your data, super simple and it allows you to then see when you eat a certain thing for breakfast. What is your blood sugar do? How does your blood sugar respond after that meal? Does it crash? Then you get to do this really cool thing where you get to correlate it with how you feel. Sometimes I like to say, Okay, I’m starting to feel like I have amazing energy. Is that because I just shot my blood sugar super high? Because I’m getting this blood sugar high of energy right now. I’ll check and I’ll be like, Oh, actually, it’s not as high as I thought. That was actually a good meal choice because it made me feel really good, but at the same time, it didn’t over shoot my blood sugar.

Same thing. I’m starting to feel really low, I’m getting irritable, I’m getting crappy, did my meal drop my blood sugar? Am I hypoglycemic now? and on that rebound of needing another sugar fix. This allows you to help fine tune when and how your energy and how you feel in your body is correlating to your blood sugar and over time, you get really good at almost just knowing like, Oh, I’m spiking and I shouldn’t have eaten that, or I’m feeling really low and it’s probably because I need to eat something that has a little bit of carbohydrates in it and some protein to help withstand the energy curve. How do I recommend people use a CGM? Is this something that you should get and use forever? and how can you get it? First of all, I think that most people need a week or two of just creating a baseline. In this week or two, I don’t recommend that you do a great deal of tweaking. You just want to see where were you at. How were you doing? Maybe you’ve been at this PCOS healthy lifestyle for a while and you’re looking at areas that you could improve, maybe you’ve hit some plateaus and you’re wanting to make some further progress and you’re not sure where to go and you’re wondering if blood sugar is still one of the issues that you’re having a hang-up on. Or maybe you are being told that you have insulin effect PCOS root cause? You take the PCOS root cause quiz, but you’re not convinced that you are, but you’re not sure where else to look. This is a great way to really look into how is your blood sugar responding to the foods that you’re eating. Are the foods that you’re eating actually as healthy and supportive of your blood sugar as you think they are. So get it, use it for two weeks, okay? Don’t try to change a whole lot. Just collect the data. Let it run through several of your meals, keep track of what meals you ate when. It doesn’t have to be very detailed. You can just say, I stopped and got this for lunch, or I made this for dinner. You know what’s in it. You know the basics of what it is. You just need to have a memory of when you look at the curves of insulin spikes over two weeks, which ones were significant, what foods had you just eaten, etc.

After two weeks, then it’s time to start making some adjustments to your lifestyle environment that are going to assist you in improving your blood sugar response. You can notice at this point was sleep an issue? Was stress an issue? These are all things you can jot down even in the app. You can make little notes. You can see right where they landed, regardless of what your blood sugar is doing. Then you can look at how they all line up together. Then you can see, Oh, this was actually a blood sugar spike because I had just gotten a phone call about something that had gone wrong at work and I freaked out about it and I had this huge stress response to it because I actually hadn’t eaten anything for a little while. Those are all things that we can see as we look back over our two-week data gathering phase. As we begin to tweak it, we can start to see, okay, stress was minimally impactful. That’s not where I’m going to spend my time. But these meals that I ate, like breakfast say that I am eating are really spiking my blood sugar. I’m going to focus on breakfast for a little bit and I’m going to see if over the next couple of weeks of using my CGM, if my breakfast can not have as a breakfast spike and how that creates a better energy throughout the day if I can keep that morning blood sugar more balanced.

Typically, I’m having someone use this for maybe 2-3 months. I would say plan on three. You may take a small break in there somewhere, but plan on three months because it takes a little while to make all these little adjustments, see how things are changing and also it takes about three months to really improve that insulin sensitivity and so you’re going to start to see that it becomes easier to your blood sugar as you make these adjustments. Then I take breaks. I don’t have this thing on all the time. I don’t use it all the time, but I will do metabolic check-ins. I might do a month or two weeks of using it again and then take another break because I’m doing well. I’m like, I checked in. I’m like, What I’m eating is doing well. I am not having any specific huge spikes. I cleaned those up in the past and I’m sticking with it. I haven’t let things slide back in that I wasn’t aware of and my blood sugars are doing great. Fantastic. I don’t need to continue wearing it. I’ll check back in in a couple of months. Or if you’re like, Oh, you know what? I thought I was doing really great, but I must have backslid a little bit. I have a couple of things I need to clean up. Maybe you wear it for a couple of weeks that time, and then you take another break. It’s something that you can use intermittently as you feel like maybe you’ve hit a wall and you want to check back in with your blood sugar. However, or maybe you’re adjusting your diet a little bit. Maybe you’re changing up because something wasn’t agreeing with you super well and you wanted to make sure that as you make those adjustments, you’re not impacting your blood sugar negatively. Those are how I recommend using a CGM. Like I mentioned, you can get a CGM from your physician. You just ask them to write you a prescription and hopefully give you some refills. Hopefully your pharmacy has it in stock and hopefully your insurance covers it to some degree. Otherwise it will be, I think mine, if it was uncovered, would be over $100 per two-week device. My insurance does cover it and so it ends up being, I think, 75, which it still doesn’t cover it 100 %, but it covers it to some extent.

Then I have found a company called Veri, and I’m going to link to them in the show notes and you are welcome to go through them. They have a questionnaire and then that’s it. You can go actually, where I link you to, you can just go straight to purchasing it. The way I see this is that you can purchase a glucose monitor over the counter. I think at this point these are new enough that they just haven’t made them over the counter yet but if you have any questions or you’re starting something new, it’s always a good idea to contact your healthcare provider and ask them if they think this would be a good fit for you. But I do want you to know that you do not have to go through your insurance and the pharmacy of maybe or maybe not having it in stock and dealing with refills and all of that. This company can send it directly to your home and you can link it up to your phone at home and start monitoring your blood sugar as soon as you’re ready. So while any health adjustment change, new thing, it’s always recommended that you check with your health care provider.

This to me has been a much easier way than going around through the different pharmacies seeing who has it in stock and then trying to remind my practitioner to refill my prescription and so forth. I’m going to link to that in the show notes. Please be aware that it is an affiliate link, so I do get a small commission if you purchase through them. However, if you purchase through my link, because I want you to know exactly what to do, I want you to forward your receipt and I will send you a completely free guide about how to set your parameters and how to tweak and adjust and look at your readings to help understand them and interpret them and consider what things may or may not be beneficial as you alter them and create an environment that is more friendly to your PCOS hormones and your insulin response and because on a podcast, I can only share so much, I can’t show you visuals and go into things that make more sense when you can see them in front of you. I want to put on a free Masterclass because I really find this tool so helpful.

So if you think that this is something that you are interested in and you want to learn more, there’s going to be a link on the show notes page. I want you to go there and register for the Masterclass or you can watch it live or on the replay. I want you to be able to dive a little deeper into how this all works. I’ll show you how the app works. I’ll show you the video of me placing the CGM and how easy it is. I want to give you all of the ins and outs of it. And if you decide to use your CGM, I’ll have all the information there as well on how to go about getting the detailed information about what to do once you actually get started. I have them separated so that you can really learn. Do you want to do this? And then if you do, how to actually get started? What to look for? How to test your meals a little bit and see what’s working? Because sometimes we start eating and we’re like, I don’t really know what’s working or what’s not working. I give you some suggestions for maybe some meals to try to see, does this does it’s spike it? Does this does not spike it? And give you some insight as to what is going on. If it is, if it is. If you are having your sugar spikes to decipher, are these ones that you need to worry about or are these ones that are just minor? Then also, of course, most importantly, some of the considerations that you want to take on how to improve the sugar spikes, how to improve the frequency of them, the magnitude of them, so that you’re improving your insulin sensitivity as you move through creating meals that really nourish and sustain your body and give you better energy and improve that deep root cause metabolic health that’s going to lead to better PCOS hormones. We’re going to cover all of that in the masterclasses. Part one will be to really dive into how the CGM works a little bit more and show you more visuals about it. Then part two, if you decide to get started with the CGM, how to use it and interpret it and make it work for you.

So with that, I hope you found this topic helpful today. This is something that I have found to be mind-blowing and revolutionary in my understanding of what’s going on in my PCOS, especially as I’m pretty good at monitoring my blood sugar, I always have been. I’ve struggled with my blood sugar and insulin spike since I was in puberty. Right around age 13, I started to notice that I had issues with my insulin, although I didn’t have a very good name or understanding of it yet and I have learned since then to manage it very well. As I’ve approached 40, I’ve had to be a little bit more careful and to learn new ways of how my body is working post-kids and as I get a little bit older. And so each step of our life, we’re learning new things and this tool has been so helpful. I wish I had had it back in my 20s when I was trying to figure out my fertility. I wish I had had it so many times in the past where I was guessing, where I was sticking my finger several times a day trying to just see what my blood sugar was doing and trying to time it right to see if it was spiking or dropping and now I just can have a couple of weeks of data, and I love data. I hope that the scientist in you can see how amazing this tool can be and that you give it a try.

It is not crazy expensive for what you’re getting and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram and my direct messages. I’d be happy to talk about it further with you and ultimately help you decide whether or not it’s a good next step or a tool to add to your PCOS health journey.

And until next time, bye for now.

Did you know that studies of PCOS epigenetics have shown that our environment can either worsen or completely reverse our PCOS symptoms? I believe that although PCOS makes us sensitive to our environment, it also makes us powerful. When we learn what our body needs and commit to providing those needs, not only do we gain back our health, but we grow in power just by showing up for ourselves. This is why I’ve created a guide for you to get started. My PCOS Fertility Meal Guide can be found in the show notes below. I want to show you how to create an environment that promotes healing while still being able to live a life that you enjoy. This guide is completely free, so go get your copy now so that you can step into the vision that you have for your life and for your health.

Take The PCOS Root Cause Quiz

   What Do Your Symptoms Mean?

  Discover your current PCOS Root Cause

Start to reverse PCOS at the root cause. 

Results are not guaranteed. Please see Medical Disclaimer for more detail.

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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