Episode #68: Nurturing Your PCOS Health Bubble
What you’ll learn in this episode
This episode continues the four-part series about discovering, understanding and healing PCOS at the root cause. The healing starts by nurturing your PCOS health bubble, which is exactly what this episode will dive into. The best way to manage your PCOS symptoms is by healing your root cause(s), you won’t want to miss this valuable discussion!
The PCOS Health Bubble
Let’s start by exploring the concept of the PCOS Health Bubble, which encompasses the environment surrounding us daily. From nutrition and exercise to sleep, relationships, work, stress, hobbies, and more – all these elements contribute to our well-being and hormonal balance. Just like PCOS is a combination of our genetics and environment, nurturing a healthy bubble becomes essential for our overall health and PCOS management.
Balancing Your Habits
Understanding that PCOS is not a one-size-fits-all condition, I’ll guide you through the significance of balanced habits. Each person’s root cause may point to specific aspects of their health bubble, but it’s crucial not to overlook any area. We’ll discuss the importance of taking baby steps to improve different aspects of your daily life, gradually creating a well-rounded and balanced health bubble.
Personalized Approach for Hormonal Harmony
To provide you with a practical perspective, we’ll delve into personalized examples of how your habits might change based on your PCOS root cause. By considering your individual factors, we’ll explore ways to nurture your PCOS Health Bubble and set you on a path toward slow, steady, and long-term progress.
By tuning in to this episode, you’ll gain valuable insights into creating a nurturing PCOS Health Bubble, which can significantly impact your journey to feeling better in your body, losing weight, improving fertility, and having more energy. Embrace the power of balanced habits and start making small changes to various aspects of your life. Remember, every step counts, and you’ve got this!
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
Once you’ve discovered your PCOS root cause, now comes the time to create the environment where your body can slowly heal, recover, rebalance your hormones, and start to alleviate some of the symptoms of PCOS. Then as you build that momentum of healing, you’re going to see more and more of the PCOS symptoms resolve themselves, lighten, you’ll feel better in your body and this is a very exciting zone of your PCOS healthy journey. Let’s dive into today’s episode all about healing those root cause hormones to start feeling better in your body. 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 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 we get to dive into that healing part of our PCOS healthy journey. This is a really important thing to realize that this is a segmented part of our PCOS health. So when we think about where we’re at when we go get diagnosed, whether it’s because we’re having symptoms of period problems, whether we’re trying to get pregnant and struggling with that, maybe we are fed up with having low energy and weight problems, and we don’t know why nothing is working for us. Whatever got us to the point where we received a diagnosis, and then if you listen to the last two episodes, you’re starting to understand the why behind your symptoms, as well as how to discover your PCOS root cause. Hopefully, you took that PCOS root cause quiz because today we’re going to be diving into the actual healing part of your PCOS hormones. First of all, this is like a diet. Now, I don’t like diets, and I think that modern culture is telling us to move away from diets that we don’t have to live on a diet but when you think about a diet being a short-term thing, this healing part of your PCOS healing journey is a short-term thing.
This is where we’re going to spend somewhere between three to six months, usually. Some people take a little longer, some people see things bounce back a little faster but typically, three months is the shortest that it takes, and somewhere between six months and a year is on the longer side of how it takes and that’s assuming that you go all in. Now, if you’re dabbling at it, you may not see as quick of improvement. It’s not a bad way to go, just different so when I’m talking about those are timelines. I want you to know these are people who are really tackling that environment, creating a really healthy bubble for their PCOS to heal and for their body to thrive. Let’s recap the four main categories of PCOS root causes. First, the biggest one is going to be the insulin effect. This does not mean that you have insulin resistance. It does not mean you have type two diabetes. It means that the way that your body is functioning in your current metabolic state, your insulin is going higher or being more sensitive to what you’re eating, or in some ways contributing to raising your testosterone, throwing off your LH ratio, and messing with your hormones and your cycle.
Insulin also messes with inflammation. It increases your inflammation. It reduces your chance of losing weight. It basically puts your body in a state of don’t lose any weight whatsoever, hang on to everything. Store everything, do not go into fat burning mode, whatever you do. That’s what insulin tells your body. So you do not, and this is very important, have to have a struggle with your weight to have the insulin effect but if you have a struggle with your weight, the insulin effect may be one of the missing links that you’re looking for in order to really break free from that plateau to make weight loss easier and to make weight management a lot easier. This is really important. Weight is not caused by your PCOS. Weight does not cause your PCOS. It is this adjunct thing that further messes with or improves your PCOS. It’s like they go in parallel, but they’re not as much of a cause and effect. They go in parallel, they have a huge impact on each other, but they’re not this causes this or this causes that. It’s a lot more complicated than that, and there’s a lot more other moving pieces.
If you are overweight, it does not mean that you have insulin effect PCOS. If you have insulin-effect PCOS or that’s what the root cause tells you and you’re like, But I don’t have a weight problem, that can’t be because only people that have a weight problem have this type of PCOS. That is also not true. So really important to remove the weight issue from the insulin effect root cause, okay? However, they definitely play hand in hand and can make things harder or easier on each other, depending on where you’re at in going up or down that spiral of PCOS health. The other things that go along with the insulin effect are stress response, these two are very commonly seen in tandem, where women that I’m working with will actually have both of these. We’ll really look at the symptoms of what is leading to that result on their full assessment but typically, the stress is just further aggravating that insulin effect and so while we work on all of the things to heal the insulin effect, we are also really being mindful of the healing the stress response and looking at what our body may be perceived as stressful.
I like to talk about those two hand in hand because now that you’ve taken the PCOS root cause quiz and whether or not you’re working with me one-on-one or in a group setting, this is one that oftentimes go hand in hand, and we do end up focusing on the primary root cause of the insulin effect that typically gets us faster and easier results. However, we don’t want to neglect the fact that there may be another close second PCOS root cause and oftentimes stress is one of those. The other one that I want to mention is the hormone and the nutritional disturbance root cause. This is one where if you get that as a result, but you have a close second, meaning you have stress response as a close second, inflammation as a close second, or effect as a close second, where I would go with that is work on that close second one because what that’s telling you is that, well, you probably do have a really prominent hormone disturbance, and it’s not just that you have a metabolic root cause issue going on or an inflammatory root cause issue going on. You have this hormonal disturbance that’s very prominent.
It’s not like your hormones are a little off, like they’re very off, but they’re likely very off due to that secondary root cause. It’s important to remember that the symptoms that our body is producing that we’re trying to interpret don’t give us a black and white answer. We do have to interpret that answer a little bit and if we are not seeing much of an insulin effect, not seeing a lot of an inflammatory response in our body long term, and our stress is relatively well managed, then we know what we’re dealing with is purely hormonal disturbance and/or a nutritional disturbance, where we just need to recover that rhythm. We need to recover the nutritional balance. We need to lean into our health, lean into our feminine health in a way that we haven’t been doing and help recover from our birth control, help recover from various things like that. Then we have an inflammatory category of PCOS root causes. This one can be a little bit from different angles. This could be due to the fact that you have another diagnosed or in the midst of being diagnosed and worked up inflammatory disorder, this could be someone who has really bad seasonal allergies and asthma combination, this could be someone who has another autoimmune disorder, it could be someone who has some psoriasis or skin issue and so you already have something going on that’s contributing to having low-grade constant inflammation in your body. This could also be, so from a different angle, this could also be where you have just a lot of inflammatory aspects in your life. This could be in part due to stress, in part due to foods, in part due to environmental stressors such as toxins and things like that, where you’re just making a lot of inflammation in your body for various reasons. This can, again, be partly from your genetics and so your body may have certain types of cholesterol and things like that that are just more inflammatory in how your body processes things. This is where we really have to then look at what is your top causes of inflammation, if this is what your symptoms are pointing towards as your current primary root cause of your PCOS symptoms. Okay, so those are the categories. Again, I want to review those.
The next thing to look at is the mindset as you approach this healing segment of your PCOS journey. So again, we approach this as a somewhat short term, this is not the lifestyle part, so when we think about creating a lifestyle that works for our PCOS and works for us, this part of the healing journey is going to need to be a little more strict or a lot more strict, depending on what your body needs, then the lifestyle part, which comes next, and we’re going to talk about in next week’s episode. So if you haven’t already, make sure you hit the Subscribe button so that you get notified when that episode becomes available because you’re really going to like that part of the PCOS healing journey where you start to develop the lifestyle, where you get to bring some of the things back that you enjoy and you get to have a little more ease and a little bit more ebb and flow and less restriction, but still live in a body that functions the way you want and that feels amazing as you create the PCOS lifestyle that works for you. For right now, though, your hormones are struggling, and there’s really not a good indicator of the degree to which your hormone levels are not normal or elevated or lowered really doesn’t correlate to how hard it’s going to be to heal them and the mindset here that I recommend that I encourage you and invite you to adopt and when we’re adopting a mindset, we have to just sit with it for a while and see what resonates, see if this makes sense to you so that it really becomes your own. I can’t tell you what your mindset should be. I can tell you that what worked for me was I wanted to get pregnant. I had spent a year not getting pregnant, and I had spent a year in a body that was really struggling with fatigue and weight gain and all sorts of problems coming off of birth control, I felt disgusting, I felt low energy, I felt bloated, and I had never felt this way before and I didn’t enjoy doing the things that I normally enjoy doing throughout the day and then to add to that, I really wanted to start a family and I couldn’t and so I was just in this very negative place and I was struggling to get an appointment because they’re like, No, you have to have been trying for X amount of months. In fact, at my age and with my situation, they were telling me, Oh, you need to wait a year till we can see you for that.
I just felt like it was just a bunch of no’s. My body was telling me no, the doctor’s office was telling me no. I knew something was wrong and I didn’t know what to do with it at the time. Once I had the diagnosis, something switched. First, I went through all sorts of why mes and bouts of being angry and crying and devastated and all the emotions but then it hit me that, okay, well, now I know what I’m up against. There’s not a lot of promising information out there, but at least I know what I’m up against. Looks like I’m going to have to go to an infertility specialist. They can’t see me for a few months. I have this amount of time to just make this my time to allow myself to say no to others, to put my health first and what is that going to look like? What is putting my health first going to look and feel like? So that when I walk into that infertility special, this is my journey, your endpoint may be a little different but for me, what was I wanting to feel when I walked into that infertility office for my first appointment as I was evaluated, as I was offered and began treatment, how did I want to feel as I went into that? and what I came to was I want to feel as healthy as possible my body. I want my body to be as physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy to take on whatever is coming. I don’t know what is going to be required of me through these treatments, but I do know that whatever is coming, it’s not going to be in my control, and it’s not going to be something that was as easy as I foresaw getting pregnant to be. I need to be emotionally, physically, and mentally ready for what’s coming. That is going to be my focus. My focus was not going to be getting pregnant. My focus was going to be to get my body physically healthy, to care about my mental health, and to protect my emotional health with the people that I was allowing to spend time with me, how much I was putting on my to-do list, and all those things. Now, if you’ve heard my story before, I found out I was pregnant the night before I went in to start letrozole. I had gone in for the initial consultation, but I hadn’t actually started any medications yet and so it was five months from my diagnosis to where I was able to get pregnant naturally, and I wasn’t even really trying.
My husband and I, we never stopped trying to get pregnant, but that wasn’t the focus. My focus at that point was not to get pregnant. My focus was to prepare my body for the infertility specialist to help us get pregnant, and so that I would be showing up with my part taking care of being as healthy as possible and that mindset of giving myself a space to create health, a timeline where this is my time and the timeline is nebulous. Like I said, it can be anywhere between three months to a year, depending on your specific hormone situation and how diligent you’re being with it and how aggressive you’re being towards your healthy lifestyle. Some people, they’re like, Okay, insulin effect, this is what I’m supposed to eat, that’s what I eat. Other people, it’s like, Well, I’m going to eat like that most of the time, but I’m not going to go fully that way. I want a little bit more balance in my life. Not right or wrong, they will probably take different amounts of time. That is what this stage of the healing journey is all about. It’s creating an environment where your body is the number one priority and you are actually returning it to health.
Early on, you’re going to start to see some symptoms such as energy, stomach pain, bloating, maybe the scale starts to move a little bit in the direction that you want. You may feel like you can sleep better. You might wake up feeling more rested. Somewhere in the one to two months, you might notice that your period starts becoming more and more regular. Somewhere in the three to four months, you might start seeing that period is actually leading towards a ovulatory cycle and not just that you’re having regular bleeding, but you’re also seeing regular ovulation. If you were to retest your hormones, you may see that your progesterone has come up, leading to a longer luteal phase and that your testosterone is calming down. You may see that you’re starting to feel like a different person. You may less anxious, you may have more excitement and enjoyment in your life, you may feel like you’re more engaged, you might feel more bright, you may notice that your skin feels better. Hair loss, things like that, they’re going to take a lot longer to start seeing any improvement in and you may not actually regrow more hair, but you may notice that you have a tapering off of the hair loss. Same thing with you have a tapering off of new hairs on the chin and neck and upper lip growing back, but you may need to still treat the ones that were there previously. Then now you have a more balanced hormone profile to where you’re not seeing as many new things arise, and so your results from any laser hair removal, etcetera, last better.
That is the timeline and the mindset of what to expect. Then once you’ve reached a point at what you’re happy with or a place that you’re happy with for now. So maybe if your goal is, say, this is an easy example to use for this scenario, but say weight loss is your goal and you have 100 pounds you want to lose. Maybe you lose 25 pounds and then you’re like, Okay, I’m just going to hang on to this for a little while. I’m going to take a couple of months break, and I’m going to transition more to a lifestyle approach for a little while. Maintain this weight loss. Be very careful not to gain it back. But I just need a little bit of a break from being in this focused healing segment of my PCOS journey and I just need a little bit more of a lifestyle component. You take a little bit of a break and then you mark your calendar for when you’re going to dive back in and make some further progress.
There’s definitely some room for some variation, for making it yours, for making it work for you but this part of it, I think it’s important to not look at it like, I’m going to do this and then I’m going to stop doing this. That’s what we think of when we think of a diet but it is something where we dive in a little bit heavier because unlike someone who maybe is just trying to improve their healthy habits and hopefully drop a little bit of weight and they don’t have any underlying medical problem, they can probably jump straight into having a relatively more lifestyle approach to that. In contrast, for women with PCOS, we have an underlying medical issue that needs to be addressed first, and the very best way to address PCOS is through lifestyle changes. There’s really not any great medications or even supplements for that matter that are going to do more than creating an environment, a bubble where you’re really listening to what your body is needing and adjusting it.
Now, along that thread, this is where, in this healing segment of your PCOS, is really where you’re going to continually look for progress and feedback from your body. You’re looking for what is working and what isn’t working. Now, you’re less looking for what do you like versus what do you not like, although that does play an important role in it, and you can start playing around with that but the main thing here is what does work? That’s what we really want to find. We’ve discovered your PCOS root cause. We talked about that a lot in the previous episode, so if you want to review that, go back and listen to the previous episode about the root causes but this is where you’re going to get a lot of feedback back and forth. You’re going to maybe want to use something like a continuous glucose monitor. You may want to track weight measures. You may want to take measurements so that you can track are you actually losing inches? These are things where if you aren’t tracking something, even if it’s just mood, maybe you’re tracking your energy, maybe you’re tracking your mood, maybe you’re tracking how rested you are or how tired you are at various points in the day.
How do you wake up? How do you feel mid-morning? How do you feel mid-afternoon? How do you feel before you go to bed? Maybe you just keep a journal of that, depending on what symptoms are coming up the most for you. Maybe it’s headaches, maybe it’s your cycle, whatever it is, you’re tracking something and you’re paying attention to what makes it better and worse. Now, ideally, you’re choosing things that you see on a daily basis. Cycle tracking is great, and I go into that a lot with the women I work with because we’re tracking all sorts of things in their cycles so that we can just get trends over time but it takes a while to really have that data mean anything. Whereas if you’re tracking energy levels or fatigue levels, this is something that you can track day to day and see, okay, when I started my breakfast this way, I had horrible cravings, horrible fatigue, no energy, but I had these energy surges where I felt like I was just on a high and then I felt these crashes but when I did this for breakfast, I noticed feeling good pretty much throughout the day without hardly any change.
Those are the things that we want to be tracking and then paying attention to what was it that created that good, sustained energy and how can I repeat that on a regular basis? and what is that telling me that my body is needing, We’re constantly gathering information and refining that root cause finding during this stage, and then creating the environment based on what those root causes are telling us so that we can create this bubble where our body can begin to heal and then begin to thrive and so while there are certain symptoms that you’re going to start seeing improve over just even a week, a lot of this takes a lot longer and a lot of this is something where even once you’re, quote, done with this healing phase and you’ve really gotten your body back on track, some of these results can even continue throughout the lifestyle phase, which we’ll talk about more next week and so, as you really dive in and you get as hardcore as you can during this healing phase, I encourage you to make it fun. Make it something that you enjoy learning. Read about it, learn about it, ask questions about it, dive into it and get involved in it because you’re going to be here for a little while and when you start to track things and you start to notice the improvement, it starts to become really exciting. The more you’re invested, the more that you’re involved and when you do that, the more you’re going to get results.
So with that, if you have any questions as you’re going through and thinking about your healing segment of your PCOS journey, you know where to find me, I’m over on Instagram @nourishedtohealthy. I love hearing from you in my DMs over there. Until next time, where we will be talking about transitioning into a more sustainable lifestyle for your PCOS health, I look forward to talking to you over on Instagram and 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.
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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