Episode #34: How to Stop the PCOS Infertility Cycle of Insanity

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How to avoid the infertility treatment cycle of insanity while still moving forward on your desire to grow your family.

What you’ll learn in this episode

While infertility treatments can be just the modern medical miracle a couple needs to grow their family they can also take an enormous emotional, physical and financial toll as well. This episode is all about some considerations of when and what infertility treatments for PCOS and how to avoid the PCOS infertility cycle of insanity.

PCOS Infertility

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is the number one cause of infertility among women. But the good news is that it can be reversed and better fertility can be achieved.

PCOS is a hormone imbalance rooted in a combination of genetics and environment. Basically, if your hormones aren’t balanced then your genetics aren’t thriving in their current environment.

Learning to care for your body the way it needs not only will boost fertility, making infertility treatments unnecessary for many, but it will also lead to easier weight management, less long-term health risks, and feeling so much better day to day.

Why Your Doctor Recommends Infertility Treatments 

Medical care is about providing diagnostics and treatments. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of lifestyles or preventative care included in medicine. If you have been diagnosed with PCOS and are struggling to get pregnant the only option your doctor has to offer is to start infertility treatments.

What to Do Before Infertility Treatments 

While infertility treatments are a modern miracle they introduce their own hardships on the body. With PCOS the body is already struggling to regulate its hormones. Attempting to force a period of ovulation doesn’t help it regain health. For this reason, I highly recommend starting with a lifestyle approach that cares for your body at the root cause before adding in fertility treatments if needed. 

When to Consider Infertility Treatments

There are many times to consider infertility medications and procedures and they can be done while creating a caring environment for your body. That is why this episode is a must-listen!

What If I Have Already Begun Infertility Treatments?

No problem! Do you need to pause infertility treatments? That depends. Some women are already feeling as if they are deep in the infertility cycle of insanity and just want a break to reset. That is definitely an option and you should discuss it with your doctor. For others just adding in lifestyle adjustments to care for their root cause can make a tremendous impact on how well your body will respond to the treatments you are currently going through. 

So my friend, go ahead and listen to all the angles to consider as you navigate your fertility journey. I would love to hear more about your story over on my Instagram channel. It’s a safe place to purge any pent-up emotions or to ask for good vibes as you continue your journey! You can find me @nourishedtohealthy where I look forward to hearing from you!

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

[00:00:06.810] – Speaker 1

While infertility treatments can be just the modern medical miracle, a couple needs to grow their family, they can also lead to an enormous emotional and physical, and financial toll as well. In today’s episode, we are going to explore some of the considerations of when and what infertility treatments for PCOS might be helpful, and most importantly, how to avoid the PCOS infertility cycle of insanity. So let’s dive in.

[00:00:38.890] – Speaker 2

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.

[00:00:50.900] – Speaker 1

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.

[00:01:14.630] – Speaker 1

Welcome back to the PCOS Repair Podcast, where today’s topic will really help you navigate your fertility journey, what treatment options and timing, and hopefully reduce your struggles of infertility in regards to treatment. So let’s go ahead and dive in. First of all, let’s do a quick recap on what is the deal with PCOS infertility. So typically for PCOS, this is the number one cause of female infertility, first of all. And it is typically due to a hormonal imbalance that is leading to a sub ovulation or no ovulation at all and we often see this by longer than normal cycles or absent cycles. And so this is why when we are looking at PCOS, it’s important to realize that’s pretty much where the issues lie. Now, women with PCOS may have had some ovarian cysts. You could have had a cyst that ruptured and caused some fallopian tube damage, or you could have some other infertility issues going on. Maybe your partner has some fertility issues, or maybe you have issues with the mechanics or the anatomy of your reproductive organs and so that falls outside of your typical PCOS. So in other words, if you had a fallopian tube injury due to an ovarian disruption, that would be kind of a secondary problem and not necessarily what we’re talking about today.

[00:02:38.000] – Speaker 1

So I want to just say that not that those things are insurmountable at all, those issues may do better with infertility treatment, but all the things that we’re going to talk about here today are still relevant. But I just want to denote that really the lifestyle approach is going to adjust the hormones. They can’t change a mechanical problem. If your spouse or partner is also contributing to infertility, that will also need to be addressed in its own way. So with that, why does your doctor recommend infertility treatments when they diagnose you with PCOS and you’re trying to conceive? Well, this one’s pretty simple. They don’t have anything else to offer you so the way that the medical model is set up is that if you go in to see your doctor, basically they have procedures, medications, and counseling. That’s all they have at their disposal as far as what to offer you. Your doctors care about you, they mean well, and they want to give you the best care that they can. And it’s really frustrating as a provider to have a patient come in and not have a lot to offer them. So what we have is we have birth control.

[00:03:42.010] – Speaker 1

If you’re having problems with the periods where medical professionals are not nutritionists, they don’t have their schedule and the insurance reimbursement and the set up of medical practice are not set up to spend an hour helping someone figure out their nutrition and to dive into it and medical professionals are typically not really all that informed about the best nutrition. They’re informed about basic nutrition but the intricacies of what you need for any specific disease type or disorder like PCOS is kind of outside of their wheelhouse. Also, a lot of physicians, if you haven’t noticed, are not necessarily the most healthy. They live a very, very unbalanced work lifestyle and they oftentimes don’t have time to eat well or exercise themselves. And so they’re not necessarily ones that can give you a lot of practical advice from their own experiences either. And so the best that they can do is say, look, if you have an infertility issue you’ve been trying to get pregnant for X amount of months without success, we show that you are probably not ovulating then probably. The best thing that we can do is refer you or get you started on infertility treatments where we can try to monitor you a little bit better, give you medications that are going to force ovulation and if that’s not working, we can go in and try something like IUI or IVF and hopefully get results that way. Now, like I said at the beginning, these are medical miracles that we can even have these things at our disposal, but they are not addressing the underlying hormone imbalance. And so at the end of the day, your body is still struggling with not enough of one hormone, too much of another and it’s not creating the cycle that your body wants in order to get pregnant naturally and so it’s going to fight you every step of the way. All right, so what to do before you start infertility treatments? So everyone’s going to be at a different place in their fertility journey. Maybe you’ve had a kid before and now you’re trying for your second or your third, maybe you have been trying to get pregnant for years and you’re ready to start looking at infertility treatments, maybe you’re already booked an appointment and you’re just waiting for that appointment to come, maybe you’re in the middle of infertility treatments. I mean, it doesn’t really matter. Well, even though I say what to do before you start them. It’s really just what you can be doing on your own outside of your infertility treatments. And that is to really listen to what your body’s needing. I mean, it comes down to the same things that we’ve talked about on other episodes. But in this case, in regards to helping avoid this cycle of insanity when it comes to infertility treatments and that cycle goes something like this, you couldn’t get pregnant. So your doctor says, oh, well, let’s try some Clomid. Well, it seems pretty small, right? And then, okay, well, that didn’t work. We did the three rounds of that. Typically after three rounds, it stops being your percentage chance of success drops off significantly. Well, maybe we’ll try some letrozole or maybe we’ll move on to IUI and you see how you kind of just enter this flow of the next thing, the next thing, the next thing. And even if your insurance covers a fair amount of it, typically nickel and dimes, you are pretty good the whole way through and you are constantly taking medications that make you feel at best and your whole life is revolving around these treatments. And more than just your whole life, your relationship with your partner is revolving around these treatments.

[00:06:58.330] – Speaker 1

And that creates stress on many different levels and it creates this focus of, you know exactly what day you are in your cycle, you know exactly what was going on in your fertility world or not going on. And it can be a little overwhelming and once you’re in, do you keep going? Do you stop? You kind of get in this place of what is the right next move. And that’s what I call the cycle of insanity. I have so many women that come to me when they’re in the midst of this and they are being told, this is the next step, this is the next step, this is the next step by their doctor and it’s very difficult to then get any sort of perspective of what do you need to be doing for your fertility journey, for your journey to becoming a mommy? And what does your body need? No one asks that during these fertility treatments. It’s kind of just like hang in there and take this wild ride. So wherever you’re at in your journey, I strongly consider checking in with your body. What is your body not getting that it needs?

[00:07:56.750] – Speaker 1

Because that’s when our symptoms really show up, is when our body isn’t getting something it needs and then discovering that root cause, caring for that root cause, doing all the things to create a very nurturing and nourishing bubble of an environment around yourself. And then if you’re considering infertility treatments, these lifestyle adjustments can make you that much more successful. So when should you consider an infertility treatment along this path? So say you hadn’t been doing any sort of infertility treatments, you spent several months doing all the things to nurture your PCOS and use the net lifestyle adjustments to improve your symptoms and so forth, and you have your regular cycle that came back. That was good. You are ovulating, it seems like most months, but you’re still not pregnant. Should you consider infertility treatments? You should consider infertility treatments whenever you want them, okay? They are out of the hands of some people because they are just too expensive and they’re not small treatments. They are at times invasive, they are stressful, they are very emotional, they are very taxing on the body, they require a lot. And so it’s not something that’s a small decision.

[00:09:05.640] – Speaker 1

However, if you are doing all of the lifestyle adjustments and you’ve seen some great improvement, but you’re still not getting pregnant, I think Clomid and letrozole are not a bad place to start. Whether or not you move on to IVI and IUI, and IVF is a bigger decision, definitely. And I think that I would have gone on to do those. Okay, so just from a personal standpoint, my plan was that I was going to spend these four months waiting to see my infertility specialist and getting myself in the best health that I possibly could because I didn’t know what was coming next. And I knew that once I started one, it was going to lead into the next, into the next and into the next. And my relationship with my husband, my relationship with myself, my health, they needed to be in a very good and stable place before I took the thumb. That’s what I recommend prior to, or if you already started infertility treatments, just bracing that now it’s never too late. Life is always continuing whether we’re ready or not. And so if it is already in the process, then take a few hours to yourself, get yourself in the right mindset, and reach out if you need help, you can find me over on Instagram at Nourished to Healthy if you have questions about that. But I think that it’s okay to consider infertility treatments at any point. Even though I teach and talk a lot about a natural approach to PCOS health, I am by no means against considering infertility treatments. I think though, they should be entered into with all of the information that they should be well supported with lifestyle adjustments and shouldn’t be thought of as an alternative to lifestyle adjustments because that’s typically where we don’t see the success that we want to see. So why is lifestyle adjustments so important when you have PCOS and you’re considering infertility treatments without them? You don’t address the underlying hormone imbalance, you’re not protecting yourself from all of the complications of pregnancy that we can have with PCOS. You’re not setting yourself up for your body to work with you and so when we adopt the proper nutrition, when we adopt good movement habits and get our exercise when we focus on giving ourselves the self-care and the boundaries and the places to destress that our body needs.

[00:11:15.670] – Speaker 1

What happens is that our cycle starts to regulate on its own. Now, it may not be quite enough to get us pregnant, but when we see that our body is starting to work with us, we can meet in the middle and we are going to be so much more successful so much earlier on in that infertility journey and what you avoid is this place of like, well, now I feel so messed up and so unhealthy from these infertility treatments, which is what I hear a lot from my private clients and women that I’ve worked with in various settings, is that they feel like it’s like two sides. If the infertility treatment works, you’re super happy about it. If it doesn’t work, then you feel like it kind of screwed everything up, and somewhere it probably did some, but we feel like it did even more. And so what happens and why I call it this infertility cycle of insanity is that we feel like I’m in a worse place now with this failed fertility treatment than I would have been if I hadn’t done it. And we spiraled down in our PCOS health both physically and emotionally, where if we were to set ourselves up before or even during our fertility treatment, with the lifestyle adjustments and with the mindset of look, I am on this journey to create better health and to boost my fertility and I have this awesome medical miracle that of science that has this technology that can assist me and may get me there faster, then there’s nothing wrong with using it. Now, if you don’t have to, I mean, that’s always even nicer because you don’t have to expense both physically, emotionally, and financially. However, if you’re not getting where you want to get with just the lifestyle adjustments, incorporating your lifestyle adjustments and your mindset that you learn to adopt through your lifestyle adjustments with your infertility treatments is a much better combination and a much stronger combination and a much more effective combination than just going at the infertility treatments alone. So there you have it, my friend. All those different angles that I recommend when considering in regards to when to start an infertility treatment, when to take a pause from an infertility treatment, how to think about your part as you go through these infertility treatments, and how you can make the lifestyle adjustments that are going to assist these treatments in being more successful. I would love to hear more about your infertility treatment process over on Instagram because each one is so unique that I’m trying to kind of keep a broad picture here in this episode.

[00:13:35.690] – Speaker 1

But we can definitely continue that conversation in a more personal setting over on Instagram, you can find me at Nourished to Healthy and it’s also a very safe place to purge and vent all of those emotions that get pent up and ask or even just ask for good vibes as you continue along your journey. You can find me again at Nourished to Healthy, where I look forward to hearing from you. So in closing, if you have found this episode helpful, please hit the subscribe button so that you are notified each and every week as the next PCOS Health topic becomes available. And also, I would greatly appreciate just a minute of your time to rate and review this podcast on whatever platform you’re listening to. A good rating helps spread awareness of PCOS and helps other women find this podcast so that they can also get the support and information that they’re looking for. And then, until next time, if you have any questions again, you can find me over on Instagram, and I would be more than happy to get to know you and talk more over there. Until then, bye for now.

[00:14:37.290] – Speaker 2

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.

[00:15:01.590] – Speaker 2

This is why I’ve created a guide for you to get started.

[00:15:04.430] – Speaker 2

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