How to Master Your Cycle & Fertility with Author Lisa Hendrickson-Jack!

Your menstrual cycle is a vital sign that provides you with essential information about your health.

On this episode, Lisa Hendrickson-Jack, bestselling author of The Fifth Vital Sign: Master Your Cycles & Optimize Your Fertility, joins us to uncover the connection between menstrual cycle, fertility, and overall health!

You’ll learn about topics like:

What is a vital sign? And why should we consider the menstrual cycle a vital sign?

What does a normal, healthy menstrual cycle look like?

Can we really have a period without cramps?!

Why is it important to prioritize your fertility even if you are not planning for pregnancy?

What are the most common side effects associated with birth control?

Lisa Hendrickson-Jack is a certified Fertility Awareness Educator & Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner who teaches women to chart their menstrual cycles for natural birth control, conception, and monitoring overall health. Her new book, The Fifth Vital Sign: Master Your Cycles & Optimize Your Fertility, is available on Amazon. You can also find more fertility resources on Lisa’s podcast, Fertility Friday Podcast, and her Instagram @fertilityfriday!

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Full Episode transcript:

Welcome everyone to another episode of a Cyster and Her Mister today, we have Lisa Hendrickson Jack here with us. She is a certified fertility awareness educator and holistic reproductive health practitioner, and she teaches women to chart their menstrual cycles for natural birth for natural birth control, conception and monitoring overall health in her new book, the fifth vital sign, Lisa debunks.

The myth that regular oblation is only important when you want children by recognizing the menstrual cycle as a vital sign. Lisa is the host of fertility Friday podcast, a weekly radio show devoted to helping women connect to their fifth vital sign by uncovering the connection between menstrual cycle health, fertility, and overall health. Welcome Lisa, thanks for coming on. Thanks so much for having me.

Yeah. Thank you so much for being on the podcast then right before this grabbed, before we started the episode, we’re just talking to know each other. You mentioned it took you about two years to write the book. Can you tell us the process of writing the book and the kind of information that you were, the research you are gathering and the process behind it?

Yeah, no, I’d be happy to, it was, it was kind of one of those long time coming kind of situations because I started my podcast. Now it’ll be about seven years ago or so. And I mean, before that I was teaching women about their menstrual cycle and fertility awareness on a very grassroots kind of small level. And ultimately when women discover how their cycle works and that you’re not fertile everyday,

and there’s only a short window and you can track your cycle and not only can it give you, you know, non-hormonal birth control options or help you to conceive, it can also give you a window into your health. So the number one thing that I hear from women when I share this information is, you know, why didn’t anybody tell me this?

And then, you know, everyone needs to know this. So ultimately the book was my, my intention was to put something out there that would provide a lot of the information that I talk about on a regular basis in one place. And so that was kind of the, the mind kind of behind the book. But of course I’m not a medical doctor.

And a lot of the things that I’m talking about, although they’re becoming more common are still not really well-known and not certainly not like common, like your average woman still doesn’t really know how her menstrual cycle works or all of those myths about the cycle. So with that in mind, I wanted to provide a resource that not only described these, you know,

issues and challenges, but also provided the women who read it with a solid resource. So it’s not a scenario of like, well, Lisa said so, and I should take her word for it, but it’s more, you know, this is the research that she, you know, this is where she looked to gather this information. And so that was really my intention.

Thus, the 40 pages of citations in that I know I saw small font. Yeah. It’s Honestly the type of book that you would hand to your 16 year old daughter to learn about what is what her body does and to feel more empowered. And honestly, there’s one thing that you had said how we don’t, where we can’t get pregnant every single day of our cycle.

There’s only a period of time, like six days where you can get pregnant. You know, how many women don’t know that because no one has told us until later, like I learned that later, like, I feel like that was the first thing I should have learned, you know? Well, They basically teach us the exact opposite of that. So I can remember my junior high school,

you know, sex ed class, you may have had a similar experience when they told us that there were no safe days. You can get pregnant any day of the cycle. Like don’t even look at BI. And I used an example in the book where this woman legitimately went to a doctor and at some point in the conversation, she was told that,

you know, women in their twenties they’re so fertile. I mean, they could get pregnant sitting on a warm bus seat. It was like an actual thing that her medical doctor told her. So certainly then when you learn that there’s only like a small window. I mean, it’s even for women who read the books and who start charting, it actually can take a long time to kind of shift the mindset and actually realize that there are periods of your cycle where you literally,

biologically, physically cannot get pregnant. Right. I feel like it’s like a scaring type. Like when we’re kids, they just don’t want us to have sex. They just want us to be safe as possible. So they just like, don’t even touch each other. And they don’t even sit on a bus, Especially if it’s a warm, oh my God.

That is so disgusting that I’m dead. Absolutely right with that scary tactic because that’s what happens. And so even for myself, I was terrified, you know, but it was still different. So when I became sexually active, I had been on the pill for a different reason for painful periods. But then I had my own reasons for not, you know,

me, maybe I’m just a weirdo, but because I wasn’t taking it for birth control, I didn’t take it the right time. And so I had read the thing and I knew that I, you know, I just didn’t want to be scared all the time that I could be pregnant. So I decided to use condoms. But when I was growing up in high school in the nineties,

we were taught that condoms were an effective method of birth control up to 98% effective when used correctly, which is true. But these days, the younger women in their twenties that I speak to, they really have internalized the message that if they’re not on hormonal contraceptives, that it’s basically this, like, it’s just a matter of time until they get pregnant.

Like, it’s basically the one thing is not even being on the pill. So I feel like the indoctrination slash fear tactics have gotten even more aggressive. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It’s almost like birth control is the standard route for women after they turn 18. Or like in that, in that age range take birth control. You’ll be fine until you want to get pregnant kind of a thing.

Yeah. My friend just texted me too saying she went to the gyno for not, not for irregular periods. Her periods are regular. I think she, she just said she had like acne and like some hormonal symptoms and she was being pushed, birth control. Like that was the only solution, you know? And she, she has a boyfriend and everything.

So fertility and getting pregnant, like the risk of getting pregnant early in, everything was an issue for her. And it was like the only thing that the doctor recommended take forced almost like pressured if she didn’t know any better, if she didn’t know me, she probably would have been like, okay, whatever, like this sounds safe, you Know, the only option that’s it.

And take it down. Yeah. Yeah. So tell us about the fifth vital sign. So this is, this might be something new to our audience. Oftentimes, period, isn’t referred to as a vital sign, but I love how you’re calling it a fifth vital sign. And in your book, you also mentioned how we look at an EKG to see how our heart health is doing.

So we need to look at our period health and see how our hormones are doing, instead of masking it with birth control. When we have symptoms, you know, you wouldn’t mask someone who’s at risk for a heart attack, with a EKG that’s like off the charts. You know what I mean? So please elaborate. I love this. Yeah. I mean,

so it’s, it’s, it’s not a concept that’s actually that new and I, more and more health professionals are embracing this idea. And so there’s a number of organizations that are coming out and saying, we should be looking at the menstrual cycle as a vital sign. And so, you know, in teenage girls, for example, it’s encouraged them for the physicians to include questions about their menstrual cycle as part of the typical exam.

Because for example, if you have a 16 year old who has never obsolete, like who has still not had her menstrual period, it is important to understand when that should be happening and why it’s not. So for example, you know, I interviewed a woman on my podcast and she hadn’t had her period when she was 16. And so she was put on the pill.

And so I was talking to her and she was like 30. And so she had been on the pill the whole time. It was like a pleasant story. Like she ended up having some complications then having to go off it. But my point is that she literally had her men Ark when she was 30. Cause like she never had a period without the pill.

And we were talking, she was like, yeah, you know, I was really obsessed with my weight. I was like exercising a ton and et cetera, et cetera. So she had all the signs of ha hypothalamic amenorrhea, which can prevent you or delay your Monarch because you know, you need to eat food to have a menstrual cycle. And so,

you know, that’s a good example of why, you know, especially for adolescent girls, we should be looking at it. But for, you know, women of reproductive age, when I say the menstrual cycles, like a vital sign. So the most common vital signs would be things like your heart rate or your blood pressure or your body temperature. And we all have the sense that if your,

if your blood pressure was too high, if you go to your doctor, they know what’s normal. And not only that, so they know that something’s wrong, if it’s off, but if it’s high, there’s kind of like a short list that the doctor would kind of look to. Like, these are some of the reasons why it could be high.

And so with the menstrual cycle, I think I, I, you know, I love to clarify that I’m not just talking about the period. So when I say menstrual cycle, I’m talking about from the period until your next one. So all the steps in between. So your period as you approach population oscillation, and then the period of time between ovulation and your next one,

and we can actually break the cycle down into a number of different phases and look to see what is normal within those phases. So if something’s off with the overall length of the cycle, like in PCOS, it’s, you know, typically one of the signs you look for is if the cycles are over 35 days or they’re fluctuating more than eight days from cycle to cycle,

so that’s overall length, but we could also look at something like the amount of time between ovulation and your period. So we, you know, the luteal phase, it’s supposed to be 12 to 14 days. So if it’s only seven days, you know, that would mean something different. So it’s, it’s really interesting because when you hear it put this way,

it’s kind of like, well, duh, that makes perfect sense. Yeah, of course you should have a healthy cycle. And of course, if it’s off it, you know, but we don’t really think about the fact that if you are a woman of reproductive age and your cycles are out of that normal range on a consistent basis, that that is an indication that there’s something we need to look out in terms of your health.

Yeah. And if you continue each cycle to be off, it just adds on to each other. So it’s like the snowball effect over, over a long period of time. Are you trying to conceive when you’re in the process of baby-making, you don’t want to take a prenatal, that’s designed for a woman who’s pregnant, they get expensive and have ingredients you don’t need quite yet.

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Let’s take a moment to correct our posture, take a deep breath and have some pure spectrum CBD. Sure. Hey, sisters CBD can help with acne, inflammation, anxiety, sleep, and so many other PCs symptoms. I personally take it throughout the day to help keep my stress hormones nice and low. Not to mention I sleep like a baby every night and I don’t wake up fatigued at All.

Now open your mouth, please. So I can give you a serving. Now, hold it for 60 seconds. Head over to pure spectrum and use the code, the sisterhood one word for 10% off. Can I stop now? Nope. You got 30 more seconds. So many risks come from having irregular periods or no periods at all. And sometimes we ignore it,

not having a period. And we’re just like, well, I just don’t have a period or, you know, whatever. And we don’t realize that it is a vital sign. Well, I might give you a couple of examples because again, like we live in a culture that really looks at oscillation is only important when you’re trying to have a baby and otherwise it doesn’t really matter.

And so part of the message I’m thinking of the menstrual cycle as a vital sign is obviously to change that narrative. Because again, you know, thinking about a woman of reproductive age, who’s not menstruating regularly. It’s not one of the analogies that I use. It’s like, you can buy a car, you know, with, or without air conditioning.

And it doesn’t change the functioning of a car. And we’ve kind of been sold this bill of goods that like our periods and our ovulation is kind of like the air conditioning. You know, it doesn’t matter whether you have it or not, but it’s actually central. So in the example of a woman, who’s lost her period entirely. So in the case of ha so hypothalamic amenorrhea for example,

is characterized by over-exercise under nutrition and stress. So when a woman of reproductive age has lost, like she’s not ovulating and she’s not menstruating for a period of six months or more, it’s serious. It’s like she’s starving. And her body is actively preventing her from ovulating because a pregnancy at that point would actually be catastrophic for her body. Like, let’s put this into perspective in addition to that.

So women who do find themselves without a period for a period of six months or more, they’re at a higher lifetime risk of osteoporosis. And I have met women in their twenties with an osteoporosis diagnosis as a result of either, you know, an eating disorder, right? Like, so prolonged period of time without menstruation or you know, something else. And so this is serious,

you know, you might not want to have a baby, but how many 20 year olds want osteoporosis? Yeah. That’s very young to be experiencing that already. And yeah, and I feel a lot of women are also like pressured to go on, especially when with PCRs are pressured to go on a lot of restrictive diets and do intensive exercises. So it can only like make that situation worse.

You know, like, like you said, the body is shutting down the ovulation, cause it doesn’t have it, you know, it’s under stress. So when you’re adding on more stressful thing, routines like restrictive diets or intensive workouts, you’re making that worse too. It’s like a recipe for disaster. For women with PCOS, you go to the doctor’s office,

you don’t have a period or it’s a regular and you’re given birth control and told to come back until you want to have babies. And then you just completely ignore your ovulation or the importance of ovulation for years and years. And meanwhile, the weight gain sometimes is uncontrollable and we feel that over-exercising and cutting calories will help us. And that’s further driving our body into starvation mode and we’re literally,

and then you get off the pill to have babies. And it’s like this whole time, we haven’t done anything to help with our fertility because it wasn’t, it was told that it wasn’t important until we wanted to have kids. And it’s such a disservice. Yeah. I mean, this is why it would be a wonderful step forward to start looking at the menstrual cycle as a vital sign and really looking at the standard being to have a healthy menstrual cycle as it is.

So, you know, the birth control pill of course is a topic on its own, but I love analogies. And so the way that I look at it, so imagine if, so if I bought, you know, a summer house or something, but the pipes were broken. And so every time I turned on the water, it started leaking everywhere.

So that’s your PCs like that’s the issue with the cycle. And so then I, my solution, I just shut the water off. Brilliant. It stops the problem no more. But yeah. So this is the, this is the problem because what hormonal birth control does, we’re sold all kinds of lies. I’ll just come out and say it about what it’s doing in the body.

So I think the most common lies about it is, you know, oh, it regulates the cycle or, oh, it makes your body think that it’s pregnant. Remember that’s what I heard. And it doesn’t do that. What it does is the, the vast majority of hormonal contraceptive options shut down as the primary mode of action. So literally interfering with the conversation that’s supposed to be happening with the hypothalamus,

pituitary and ovaries, so that it just, you just don’t ovulate. And the reason that you have a bleed every 28 days is because you withdraw the hormones. So you know what we’re doing as you’re well aware is you’re just masking the problem. And so it continues in the background. So another analogy that I like to use is like, you’ve got a grease fire going in your kitchen and you just take the batteries out of the fire alarm.

And obviously that’s like, obviously the solution we should be doing, right? Like the grease fire will take care of itself. And so, and so this isn’t to blame the women who find themselves caught into this, because you’re not educated when you go to the doctor’s office, they just tell you, oh, we’re going to regulate your periods, come back when you want to have a baby and we’ll give you something that’s going to make you ovulate and everything will be okay,

but what they don’t realize. So, okay. If we look at the menstrual cycle as a vital sign, it means that we should have normal, healthy cycles. And it means if we don’t, there’s an underlying issue that could be contributing. And so I find it interesting to hear you say, you know, oh, they’re just, you know,

you’re going on these restrictive diets and you’re being told to exercise. And it’s interesting because if you read the medical literature too, there’s this assumption that all women with PCOS are overweight. Yeah. And so it, even on that flip side, I’ve had a lot of women who I work with who are not overweight, but who have classic PCLs, you know,

they’ve got the long cycles. They do, you know, sometimes have the cysts on the ovaries and the, they have the androgens, right? So two of the, three of the Rotterdam crazy, but it’s like obvious to me because I’m looking at your charts and it’s, and they they’ll go to the doctor. And because they don’t present as overweight,

they’ll literally be told you don’t have, PCLs like get out of my office, obviously, maybe in a nicer way. And so that is interesting because if you look at what is happening in PCOM, why are the ovaries not responding? You know, what is really going on here? So PCFS is characterized by glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, inflammation, and everyone isn’t the same.

And there’s different kinds of PCLs. And of course you can go into that. But generally speaking, we have women who are not, you know, doing an adequate job processing their carbohydrates, essentially, you know, that’s at the heart of it for a lot of women with PCOS and women with PCOS with the long irregular cycles are at a 50% greater risk of developing type two diabetes in their lifetime.

So by putting them on the pill, we’re kind of pretending that it’s an issue of ovulation when really it’s an issue of metabolism that is kind of playing out in disrupted population. So, and even the title of it indicates that, oh, this is an opulent Latori problem. The problem is disrupting ovulation. So we deal with the problem. The ovulation will be disrupted anymore.

And then there’s plenty of ways that you can actually address it and normalize the cycle. It takes a bit of time and effort and work sometimes, but it can be done without the medication, without the pill. You are Singing my song. When someone starts saying metabolic dysfunction, it’s a problem of metabolism. I’m like, yes, we’re called PCO is weight loss.

But that doesn’t mean that everyone has with PCOS has a weight issue. It’s the metabolic dysfunction that drives symptoms. One being very frustrating, weight loss. So because, you know, I’m a registered dietician and I had lost 30 with changing my diet and lifestyle, weight, PCs, weight loss is our name, but that doesn’t define all women with PCOS.

And it’s all about the metabolic dysfunction. And like you said, glucose metabolism. Yes. Yeah. Let me, sorry. I like keep having all these ideas. So I just keep interjecting, but I’ve had a number of clients who, you know, struggle with this. And so my approach typically is, you know, before you start to kind of like go down the road of like,

I have this big, scary condition and et cetera, to look at, like what’s happening now, you know, like, so what’s up, how are you sleeping? Like what’s going on? How are you eating? And you know, most of my clients it’s like, well, they eat cereal for breakfast. So like all carbs, no protein.

Right? So like for a lot of women, it’s not, it’s not simple. Right. You have to look at each person, but quite literally just organizing and starting to understand that if you have, it’s not fair, we all have our kind of like things in life, right. So it’s not fair. Yeah. My friend can eat all the carbs and she does,

you know, so it’s not fair. Let’s just get that the way you’re more sensitive to this. Okay. But if you can start to get your head around the fact that most women with PCs do have an issue with insulin resistance and glucose intolerance, if you can start by just combining protein, fat, and like literally putting protein in your record, just combining them together so that you’re working towards balancing the blood sugar when you’re consuming carbohydrates by themselves as just shooting it up,

you know, literally just doing that, just making that shift, making sure that each meal, you have some protein that you’re kind of paying attention to. It’s not this big restrict of diet that needs to happen. It’s just paying attention to, you know, even looking at the glycemic index, incorporating more vegetables, a little bit less of the, you know,

the simple sugars and all of that stuff. But, but anyways, what I’m saying is not complicated, right? So I’ve seen so much success from that one shift for women who, you know, fall into the category of PCLs. And so again, that’s why it’s interesting to hear you say that so many women are encouraged to go on these restrictive diets and do more exercising when the biggest shifts that,

you know, sometimes I see in the cycle within even one or two cycles is by controlling the kind of blood sugar spikes throughout the day. Yeah. And I love what you said. Like, I mean, for many women, it can be very difficult to define the right lifestyle diet changes, but it takes just one shift, a couple of shifts in your day,

you know, as you mentioned, like with your breakfast, adding some protein to go along with their carbs, as well as some healthy fats, it’s just like these small changes over a period of time consistency, it will create big changes, big results. So that’s like one positive note is like, although it can feel overwhelming, it just takes like minor shifts every other day to kind of like get along that path.

Yeah, exactly. So I know we talk about how women with PCOS is not the solution. I mean, sorry, birth control is not the solution for women with PCOS, but let’s dive into the fertility awareness method and other alternatives to tracking oscillation and preventing pregnancy that don’t include hormonal birth control. Can you, so let’s say we have some listeners who aren’t aware of other solutions.

Can you introduce for the fertility awareness method to them? Yeah, I mean, so the fertility awareness method in a nutshell is understanding how your cycle works. So kind of going on the foundation of some of the myths that we touched on before, which is that you’re not actually fertile all the time. You’re not fertile every single day. And so in a typical healthy cycle,

you have your period. And then after your period is finished, you have a typically a couple of days before you start to see cervical fluid. So cervical fluid is clear. Like I like raw egg whites, or it can look like creamy, white hand lotion. And so in a typical healthy cycle, you may see anywhere from two to seven days of cervical fluid as you approach ovulation.

And so I keep saying typical, healthy, cause I’ll talk about PCFS after a typical healthy cycle, you would have that cervical fluid leading up to ovulation, you would then opulate and then about 12 to 14 days later, you would get your period. So the fertile window, the time of your cycle that you, well, first of all, even if I divide the cycle in half,

you know, before ovulation, after the only part of your cycle, where pregnancy as possible is actually in the preop regulatory phase. And so from a scientific perspective, there are six days of the cycle where pregnancy is possible. And the reason for that is because our population only happens on one day, one 12 to 24 hour period. And that’s it.

So even if both ovaries release an egg, like we often see with fraternal twins that is going to happen on one day, because this is like a symphony of hormones that are happening. It is not random. I always say to my clients, like we’re not rabbits. Like I think rabbits, like obviously like in response to the sexual arousal and things like that,

but fortunately we are not rabbits. And so this is kind of like, it’s really interesting to learn about how the hormones play a role in this process, because as the egg is developing and preparing for ovulation, the follicle is producing estrogen and that estrogen is what triggers our cervical fluid production. So when we see that cervical fluid that is telling us that we’re fertile.

So if you’re trying to get pregnant, look for the days that you see the cervical fluid and have sex on those days, if you are avoiding pregnancy, understand that if you see cervical fluid, you know, just think baby, like that’s what that means. And so fertility awareness, essentially when you’re using it for birth control, you do have to take the time to understand concepts.

You have to take the time to actually chart the signs so that you can be familiar with it. So the three main for tell signs that you actively pay attention to our cervical fluid basal body temperature. So that’s your waking temperature first thing in the morning. And what’s interesting is that after you ovulate, you start to produce progesterone and you don’t really produce significant progesterone until afterwards after ovulation.

And so progesterone has a thermogenic effect on the body raising the body temperature. I mean, when I first started training, I thought it was the coolest thing. I was, I was the science experiment. And I could see that when I obviously did my temperature would rise and stay high. And so this is a scientific method based on the biology based on how our bodies work.

And then the third sign is cervical position. And so the actual texture position of your cervix, that’s an optional sign. Not everyone wants to, you know, check their cervix every day, but it is fascinating because again, during ovulation, the cervix is soft. It’s open. You can feel the difference. And then after ovulation, it closes and moves to a different position.

So all this is to say that, you know, fertility awareness, it does involve understanding how your body works, tracking those signs daily, identifying the fertile window. And then if you’re using it for birth control, you have to learn the rules. So we still have to add a buffer period after your cervical fluid dries up at the end of your fertile window,

we have to, you know, pay closer attention to those temperatures. But the, the interesting thing is that fertility awareness when used correctly, studies have shown up to a 99.4% efficacy rate. So, you know, we, we often think of the rhythm method, which is not the same thing. Modern fertility awareness based methods are looking at a day to day.

So you’re, you know, each day you’re saying, am I fertile or not based on what I’m seeing, based on what my signs are showing. Whereas, you know, the rhythm method, it’s an actual method, but it’s based on calendar calculation. So you’re actually estimating your fertile window based on previous cycles. So it’s a completely different beast. So it is helpful.

Well for women to know that there are other options and, you know, with the fertility awareness method, what I often say is like, well, you’ve pulled the goalie. Like when you, when you have the birth control pill, the pill is designed to make your body what, how I call it to be resistant to sperm. So when you’re on the pill,

you’re not ovulating. That’s the primary mode of action. The secondary mode of action is that it blocks your cervical mucus with a thick plug. So the sperm can’t get in, and also it thins your uterine lining. So that even if by some miracle, there was a fertilized egg, it can’t implant. So, you know, that’s, so when I say you’ve pulled the goalie,

it means your body is not resistant to sperm. You can get pregnant. So it’s about your behavior. So you have to modify your behavior around the window, either by abstaining from sexual intercourse, engaging in not non, you know, penis and vagina, PIB intercourse, or you have to use a barrier. You know, you have to, you have to figure something out.

So one thing I’ll say though, is that there’s with PCOS, there are certain challenges, I think with any kind of issues, cycle issue, there would be some challenges. So one of the challenges with PCOM is already, we’ve talked about how it’s really common for an uncontrolled PCLs to have these long irregular cycles. And so certainly I’ve seen women that have cycles that are 45 days,

50 days, 60 days. And in a situation like that, it’s not like you just have, like, I don’t know, like 40 days of dry. And then you just have this cute little six day MICUs window. And then you ovulate like real neat and tidy anyone with PCOS. Who’s charted knows that often you’re having multiple patches of cervical fluid or long periods of cervical fluid.

And so what that means for birth control is that there’s long parts of your cycle that you have to consider fertile. So you really have to have your strategies down for how you’re going to manage your fertile days. And so, like I mentioned, in a healthy cycle, you may have two to seven days of mucus, but if you have like 20 possible fertile days,

it can get frustrating because you can’t really have your kind of unprotected sex as you would. If you were on the pill with that said, when you’re looking at your cycle as a vital sign, and you’re actively working towards addressing the underlying issues, you can gradually work towards getting those cycles to where they need to be. So it’s kind of like this double-edged sword of like,

it is complicated, but also it’s not supposed to be like that. So once we address those issues, it can take some time, but ultimately you should be able to get the cycles under 35 days once we have it controlled. So I want to make sure I understood correctly. So when we piece us, because of the cycles being a bit off,

they can have bigger windows of fertility, like where they can get pregnant. Is that, Well, that’s a really good question because no, the window would still be six days, but let me give you an example. So in PCO S what’s happening in a sense is that the, the follicles are trying to develop, but you’re basically, you know,

something is happening to prevent it. So often if I give you a, a non PCLs example, so let’s say I’m charting my cycles. And then the government lets for example, like locks down my, my community and let’s say that like I had important things to do and all of a sudden I can’t. And so I’m really stressed or, you know,

so I’m being silly, but the example is like that happened for some reason I’ve got stress. So what can happen is that if I was in my pre ovulatory phase and I have this stressful thing, it can delay the ovulation. So I could actually start to see cervical fluid and think that I’m going to ovulate. And then, you know, because of the stress,

my body actually backs off and then, you know, the stressful thing happens. And then once my body’s kind of back into a normal situation, I’ll actually see the cervical fluid again and go on to our population. So in the case of PCLs, it’s kind of like that where you, you know, if it’s uncontrolled, it means that you have so,

you know, going to kind of like what’s going on. So you eat the breakfast, you eat the cereal, the blood sugar goes up, your body releases insulin. But when you’re insulin resistant, you know, your, your cells are kind of like whatever. And so then you’re, you release more insulin and finally the cells respond, but you end up releasing all this insulin,

your blood sugar is higher for longer and that’s a stressful situation in your body. And so that’s a very kind of rough example of how this could be delaying ovulation. So you end up having cervical fluid and then it’s like, nah, and then more and NA, and so there are women who kind of believe that, oh, it just means I’m ovulating bunch of times.

So, you know, observation only happens the one time and really the window is only six days. This can also be really frustrating for women who are trying to get pregnant, because it means that every time you see me, cause you, cause you don’t know if this is going to be the time. Like you can’t predict it in a head of time.

So every time you see mucus, you have sex. But if you have like three mucus patches over like 35 days, of course it gets a bit frustrating. It’s like dragging it out, basically having a late period. It’s just dragging it out, dragging out all the symptoms, dragging out the PMs that you get before your period, because your periods late.

So now instead of a few days of PMs, long period of PMs, and you’re just pissed all the time. Well, see, I would jump in and Jay, cause it’s like when you know too much, but yes, the PMs part. So PMs happens only in the luteal phase after ovulation. So technically the PMs part wouldn’t necessarily be like longer.

I would just take longer to ovulate to even get to the PMs part. But you’re still annoyed and frustrated all the whole time, The whole time, because you’re not operating and your hormones, your progesterone, isn’t where it needs to be when it needs to be. And it’s a catastrophe. So you’re you’re I would say. And tell me if you agree,

like you would be PMSC fro like a little bit too. Yeah. And that’s mostly because it’s really free. Like, especially again, regardless of whether you’re trying to conceive or trying to avoid, but especially, you know, I work with a lot of women who are trying to conceive and, and it can get frustrating because you want to know like when is the right time to have sex.

And for example, it’s, it’s pretty common for women with PCOS to have elevated LH levels. LH is luteinizing hormone and that’s the hormone that triggers ovulation. And so you do, you buy these ovulation predictor kits thinking, okay, this is going to help me. And certainly I’ve seen some different brands that are designed specifically to work better with P PCs.

So I feel like there’s progress here, but my point is that you can buy the strips and then they’re like positive all the time. That’s populating every day, like what’s going on here. So what are some factors that can also contribute to our delayed menstrual cycles? So we know stress is one of them, there’s Xeno estrogens. And we read a lot about BPA and how that affects our menstrual cycle.

Can you elaborate on Xeno estrogens as well? Because they’re everywhere and it’s just like, where do I even begin by cleaning them up in my environment? Yeah. I mean, it’s a big topic. And so as you know, estrogen simply a word for chemicals that are similar enough in structure to estrogen that they fool our receptor sites. So they stimulate our receptors just like estrogen would,

but often because they’re not estrogen, they might have an even stronger effect. So they might get into that hormone receptor site and just kind of like have a field day in there. And so it’s like, it’s, it’s in everything. I always say, you know, every product ever designed for women, the hair, the shampoo, the soaps, everything with the scent.

If you smell like strawberries right now, like sorry to tell you. So it’s, it’s certainly challenging because it means you have to really look at your products. Fortunately though, it’s common enough now that if you do go and look at, you know, your whole foods or wherever you look for natural products, there are a lot more product lines that don’t contain that.

So look for the perfume. If you have something that’s centered with essential oils or something, then your muscle is less likely to have that effect. So in addition to all the beauty care products, certainly there’s a cleaning products. So when you’re everything to clean your house, and I know again now it’s a little bit easier when I first started to swap out my products,

you know, 10 years ago or whatever, it’s like, you’d buy these products that were all natural, but they didn’t work. It’s like I still have to clean toilets. Don’t worry. We used that a couple of months. We have, we, we went through like a whole swapping of like cleaning supplies because we’re wearing the same bullet. Like we really,

really wanted to get rid of like endocrine disruptors. And, and like, it’s just off of what you were saying. Like it’s easier now to find products that are healthier, but also like, it seems like almost everything these days is the endocrine disruptor. Like, you know, like if you’re using, you know, like a shampoo conditioner or even like your couch,

if you have scotch guard Plastic, loofa you use to wrap your body in the shower, Don’t forget your carpet and your, your mattress. So the challenge here is to like it’s to not let it drive you insane, especially if you’re at the beginning of your journey because it is everywhere. So what I always tell my clients is like, the goal is not to be like pristine and clean and pure,

like, sorry to break it to you. But even if you get everything perfect in your house, you still have to walk outside and breathe air there’s no. Perfect. And I feel like that takes a bit of the pressure off because the goal, especially from the perspective of the menstrual cycle is improvement. So if you think about like, where am I getting the most?

So it’s probably the laundry detergent and the fabric softener because you sleep on your sheets all night. So what you can do is when you’re, and don’t everything out, like take a breath unless you want to. But most of us don’t, you know, so, you know, when you run out of your laundry detergent, for example, you can.

So also I’ll just say that there was a time when I thought, oh, I need to buy, you know, special products. You can just buy nonsense, like start, oh, it’d be like $50 bottle of laundry, soap it as made in wherever with the, like, you can literally just start with non scented because the goal is reduction and you can do that with all of your household cleaning products.

I’ve replaced a lot of those poisonous toxic sprays with vinegar and water. And sometimes I’ll put in some mint, essential oil or tea tree, essential oil for the bacterial antibacterial properties. But legitimately like, you know, you can keep it simple. And of course you can add to it. For me, one of the challenges was a dishwasher soap because every time I bought the natural stuff,

it’s like, it didn’t work, but eventually I found a brand. And so it’s a bit of trial and error. I want to give a couple shout outs, like shout out to menstrual products because often like you’re putting it inside your vagina, if using a tampon that’s not organic and filled up. So it’s not always the key solution for every woman,

but certainly some women switched to organic menstrual products and or they do like menstrual cups and things like that. And they may notice a dramatic reduction in their PMs symptoms or their period, things like that. So even to think about it that way, and there’s something I just want to briefly touch on. You know, I mentioned that women who have PCs or have these long irregular cycles are at a lifetime greater risk of type two diabetes.

And so I was at a conference a couple of years ago and I did an interview with Dr. Joseph Pizzorno and he had done a presentation at that conference and he writes textbooks. So he has like a team of researchers and he put on this giant slide that had hundreds of research papers showing that the strongest correlation to diabetes was toxin exposure because of how it interferes with your body’s ability,

like the, the receptor sites for insulin. And so when you hear about insulin resistance, he was kind of saying that there’s a connection there. Like, what is it that’s preventing the insulin receptors from detecting the insulin. And he was suggesting that there’s a huge toxin component there. So that’s definitely something to think about. Cause you wouldn’t really think he actually was talking about how,

because of course you think, okay, well, if the person’s overweight, that’s going to be the biggest correlator, but actually toxin exposure was bigger than that because The toxins live in the fat cells and they cause inflammation. And then your cell is inflamed. Then the insulin can’t give it the sugar premiere bloodstream to burn, et cetera, et cetera. And like,

you’re, you were saying it because in the last few decades, like to the instances or the percentages of diabetes that have gone up, and that of course has to do with Tai, you know, but also with our, the amount of endocrine disruptors that have been introduced into our environment. So it’s like both diet and the environment have impacted and maybe have increased the levels of diabetes in our population.

Yeah. A combination I’d say. Yeah. But going back to the I’m just so curious, going back to the end of industry, I’m so curious to hear what laundry detergents would you recommend? Cause I do the laundry at our house time folds. I just wash it. And when I do it, like there’s a couple of times where like, it just doesn’t get the stains out or,

or whatever. And like we’ve switched a couple of times. I think I’ve found one that works pretty well, but I’m just curious what you, what you like. Well, so I mean I’m in Canada, so I don’t think that it’ll matter for the laundry detergent though. I think we all have the same stuff. So I mean, like I said,

I, so I’ve tried a bunch of stuff. I remember I bought, I think it’s called Nelly’s when I had my, when I had my son. And so that he’s now eight, so that was a long time ago. And of course it was because I was pregnant and I bought this special soap because I wanted it to be mild. And you know,

the soap didn’t work. Like I’m not gonna knock Nelly’s, I’m sure it’s wonderful. And it’s probably my fault. I probably wasn’t putting in enough, but it doesn’t matter either way. It didn’t work. And so like the clothes were not getting clean. So I really, like I mentioned at the very, like, when we’re talking about this, I often just buy non scented,

non dyed. So I will actually buy just tide free or I’ll buy Purex free or whatever. Like I don’t really care about the brand. And then right now I actually have this fancy, like, I don’t know. I don’t remember the brand. It’s probably eco max, cause there’s this. I like, I’m not affiliated, but there’s a brand called eco max.

I really like, because it actually works. Like they have bathroom cleaner spray. That’s naturally in it. Like, I think it’s a scented with essential oils, but it actually like could spray sprayed on the tub and it actually cleans the top and it actually moves the toilet. So I think right now we have our lavender like essential oil, but I I’m.

Yeah, I don’t, I that’s my that’s what I try to talk. Like that’s how I try to talk to my clients as well, because if we get caught up in trying to get this brand and then we can kind of paralyze us, but what we really need is to wash the clothes and we just need something that isn’t going to pollute our,

our inner air. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Keeping it simple, you know, going for the scent free stuff. One step at a time, not like feeling good to throw out everything just to wash your clothes, you know? Well, because I Can take it to that level. Right. Because so over the course of about six months to a year,

I’d say, so I started with the beauty products, went through the cleaning products and then like, again, like then I started replacing all of the, like the nonstick pans and then bought the cast iron pans. And then I bought like a water filter that has a fluoride filter. And then you can start looking at like, oh my goodness, I need a new mattress.

Right. Like, so do I need to buy an organic mattress? We got the carpets because they off gas Far. What is laminated? What’s it made of Honestly, we actually, when we bought our mattress two years ago, when we first got married, I was like, I want an organic mattress. Okay. Like we’re going to start fresh.

Everything is going to be organic. I’m not going to deal with this offgassing nonsense. So we went and we sat on the organic, natural was so bad. It was so Unacceptable, like right in plastic, It was like a, it was like a soft Rock. Yeah. And I, I went a step further. I bought an organic mattress.

I like, like, it didn’t work. I mean, I’m not like, who knows why, but at the end of the day we bought it last year. We were like a fiasco in my house. It was like a scandal because I bought this, I bought one mattress. Didn’t work for my husband. I bought the organic mattress and I was so excited.

It’s like company good message. It has to be good. My bombs sunk all the way through. So like obviously it wasn’t providing me with enough support and I ended up at the chiropractor. So I feel, yeah, you just, you just have to, this is the thing it’s important not to get too caught up in, you know, you just have to try to make the choice.

That’s going to be best. So I get the organic mattress it off gassed a little bit though. Like I do look at the off gassing. Some of them that aren’t organic, you can kind of look at the comments. Oh, trust me. Cause like, if I told you it was a scandal, so like I’m like fresh off the thing.

But if you look at the comments, some of these mattresses, especially they have the online ones. Now they should be mattresses in a box. So you can actually look at the comments and search for stink or smell or offgassing and see what people are saying. So even if it’s not organic, you try to minimize. So this is exactly my point because I’m not some magical person living on a mountain somewhere with no,

like I still live in the world with everyone else. We’ll need to look into that. Ours was or nest. So I’m going to go on their website and see other offgassing and see if it’s sure. Maybe we’ll go get a new mattress for them. How About we just, how about we get like organic linen sheets that are like unbleached or whatever.

Yeah. True. That’s where you can start before you go to the matches. That’s right. I love it. All right. So I guess we’re going to just wrap up the interview, Lisa, and just before we go, though, if the readers could take away one thing from your book, what would you want it to be? And after that,

could you also let us know where your readers can? Oh, sorry. Where our listeners can find you your resources as well as your podcast too. Well, Thank you for that. I mean, if there’s one thing that you could take away from the book, I think it would be that you can actually normalize your menstrual cycles without birth control. It is possible to have healthy menstrual cycles.

And if your menstrual cycles are consistently out of the normal range, it is a sign that there’s something at play, whether it’s a health issue or even in the case of PCs. So certainly that would be the main message. And it’s important because so many women have never heard that before. And so if they get a diagnosis of PCOS, they feel like this is what I have.

This is my new identity. And I need these, you know, I’ll never kind of my body couldn’t normalize itself on its own. So there are women with PCOS who through, I mean, I’m speaking to the choir here, but yeah. So it’s possible. And so thank you for asking. So in terms of the book, it’s the fifth vital sign,

master your cycles and optimize your fertility. And it’s available on Amazon and paperback ebook and audio book formats. And you can get the first chapter for free If you liked this conversation and you’re interested to learn more about fertility awareness, I have my podcast, the fertility Friday podcast, and you can find me on Instagram as well at fertility Friday. I post some interesting things over there.

Yeah. Amazing. Thank you so much. And listeners, we’ll be, we’ll be putting all that information in the podcast description. So you can head over there to get direct access to Lisa. So Thank you so much for joining us. It was such a pleasure having you on our podcast. Well, thanks so much for having me. This was a lot of fun.

Yeah, same here. Alrighty. Thank you listeners. We’ll be back next week with another episode until then we’ll see you on Instagram. I guess take care. If You enjoyed listening to this podcast, you have to come check out the sisterhood. It’s my monthly membership site, where sisters just like you are learning how to move through the stages of DCOS from Sage one cold and alone at the doctor’s office to stage five,

nailing the PCs lifestyle, gluten and dairy free. Get ready to finally feel in control of your body. Again,

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