I have the pleasure of working with Sarah at my clinic. In addition to her awesome skills as a doctor, she’s a woman empowerer who works with women to heal their fatigue, stress, and abnormal menstrual cycles and help them get the energy, happiness, and flow they need for their careers and families. Whether you’re struggling with crushing mood swings, crippling period pain, or pro-actively preparing for your future family, she guides you in using the treatments she discovered and used to heal herself and others like you. Her message to all: you do have options and are totally worth it!
In this episode, Sarah and I unpack PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) and how it relates to fertility. We talk about diagnosis and types of PCOS, different treatment approaches (both from a conventional and a naturopathic perspective), and other conditions that can present themselves like PCOS but warrant further investigation. We also discuss menstrual cycle tracking, body literacy, and how our culture doesn’t give us the tools to know about our bodies from a young age.
[02:15] - Michelle welcomes Sarah who begins to tell us a little about herself.
[03:04] - Sarah describes her first really painful period and how she got on the road to healing.
[06:03] - What is the connection between PCOS and fertility? Sarah reveals one of the main symptoms which is also one of the most common causes of infertility.
[08:39] - PCOS can set you up for a higher risk of other diseases. Yet, it gets less priority unless you’re trying to get pregnant despite its impact on health overall.
[09:39] - What exactly is PCOS, though, and how does Sarah diagnose it? She breaks down the diagnostic criteria.
[11:28] - You don’t necessarily need multiple cysts to be diagnosed. The name is a bit of a misnomer that others are looking to change.
[12:39] - Sarah talks about the different combinations of symptoms and types of PCOS and reveals the number one root cause.
[15:23] - A decision to stop using birth control after a period of time can also cause post-pill PCOS.
[17:03] - Next on the list is inflammatory PCOS. Which signs of inflammation can serve as potential warning signs?
[17:45] - This type doesn’t get enough recognition. Sarah describes what happens with adrenal PCOS.
[19:26] - Michelle asks for advice about tracking menstrual cycles with a more reliable method than ovulation predictor kits.
[21:37] - How long does Sarah recommend people give themselves after getting off the pill before trying to get pregnant?
[23:54] - As women, we’re just not being taught about our bodies properly. It doesn’t feel like we truly give informed consent when going on the pill.
[26:19] - Sarah discusses conventional PCOS treatments available and how she treats the syndrome holistically.
[28:47] - Women with insulin resistance PCOS tend to focus on cutting out carbohydrates, but they should focus on this instead.
[29:19] - Sarah also gives tips for holistically treating post-pill and inflammatory PCOS.
[30:51] - For those with symptoms but not the blood test results to match, Michelle asks about other conditions Sarah might consider.
[32:25] - With hypothalamic amenorrhea, the root cause usually lies in stress and low-calorie consumption. In which type of women do Sara and Michelle see this condition the most?
[34:32] - Sarah’s number one recommendation for those hearing this information for the first time or just starting their journey.
[35:35] - Use the information you learn to better advocate for yourself. Seek a second or third opinion, if you must.