Endometriosis And Your Period: An Interview With Nicole Jardim

Nicole Jardim is a Certified Women’s Health Coach, writer, speaker, mentor, and the creator of Fix Your Period, a series of programs that empower women to reclaim their hormone health using a method that combines evidence-based information with simplicity and sass. Her work has impacted the lives of tens of thousands of women around the world in effectively addressing a wide variety of period problems, including PMS, irregular periods, PCOS, painful & heavy periods, missing periods and many more.

Rather than treating problems or symptoms, Nicole treats women by addressing the root cause of what’s really going on in their bodies and minds. She passionately believes that the fundamentals to healing any hormonal imbalance lie in an approach that addresses the unique physiology of every woman. This is essential to reclaiming and maintaining optimal health and vitality at any age.

As part of our Endometriosis Awareness Month focus, we were delighted to talk to Nicole about endo, periods, her passion for her work, and the critical lifestyle changes that can empower people with endo to live freely and fully. 

Foria: What inspires your passion for your work?

Nicole: I was the poster child for period problems as a teenager, so my passion dates back to my own struggles with my menstrual cycle - I had the most ridiculous heavy and painful periods that eventually became so irregular I didn't know when they were coming. It took me years to get answers and it wasn't until I saw an acupuncturist that I was finally able to start solving my ongoing period problems without medications or the pill.

This is where my desire to show women that they don’t have to give their power away, and they can indeed become their own health advocates stems from. Women have the right to be educated about their bodies. They need to know that they can be trusted to take care of themselves!

I passionately believe that all women can (and should) be active participants in supporting, improving, and maintaining their health, and I’m dedicated to showing women how to put themselves in the driver’s seat. Ultimately, it’s up to us - not our doctors - to decide what is best for us, and bringing this awareness to all women is what fuels me on a daily basis.

Foria: What are some of your favorite tools to suggest for your clients with endometriosis?

Nicole: I was someone who struggled with the blackout, vomit-inducing period pain that makes you see stars for years. It wasn't until I did a health overhaul that I was able to resolve this pain.

One of the ways I did this was boundary setting, which is one of my favorite tools. This is because women are programmed to overcommit, overprovide, and people-please, often at the expense of our own health. Any chronic health condition, whether it is endometriosis or an autoimmune condition will only get worse if we are not managing our external stressors and how our bodies respond to stress.

This requires taking a hard and honest look at your current commitments. Write them all down and then put an "x" next to the ones that do not make you feel good. Do you get a pit in your stomach or feel tightness anywhere in your body when you have to do this thing?

I get that it’s easy to get pulled into what other people ask of you, so, the practice is when someone asks you to do something that you know will compromise the health of your adrenals, practice saying,

“Probably not. . . but let me think about it.” Or, better yet, work up the courage to say no right away. For things you must do, find a smarter way of doing them; or delegate them. Don’t feel guilty about opting out and putting your needs first. 

Foria: What approaches do you suggest regarding food, supplements and exercise?

Nicole: I think it's important to understand that endometriosis isn't a problem with the uterus. It is a systemwide inflammatory condition that affects the uterus.

Endometriosis is driven by inflammation, so an anti-inflammatory diet will be super supportive for healing. Removing common trigger foods such as gluten, dairy, eggs, sugar, and soy as part of an elimination diet and then reintroducing them strategically to see how they affect you can be game-changing. Other foods that seem to have an impact on endometriosis symptoms include nightshade vegetables and fermented vegetables, so they might need to be removed too.

Balancing blood sugar is a critical part of managing endometriosis. When blood sugar is all over the place it will create an inflammatory environment in the body. Higher inflammation equals more pain! Increased insulin can also lead to higher estrogen (all our hormones are connected!), and higher estrogen can exacerbate endo. A high protein/high fat breakfast along with meals every 3-4 hours with protein, fat and complex carbs will stabilize blood sugar and prevent crashes.

For supplements, I recommend fish oil (highly anti-inflammatory), curcumin (a major inflammation buster), magnesium glycinate and zinc (both of these have multiple functions, but they support ovarian function which will help you ovulate regularly to produce adequate progesterone). Progesterone production is crucial because it will help oppose estrogen and reduce its effects on our bodies if we are estrogen dominant.

Foria: What are some of your favorite success stories from your practice with endo patients?

Nicole: One favorite story was a woman who had tried every conventional medical approach. She had debilitating pain and nothing was touching it. She'd tried different diets, taken tons of supplements, been on the pill and was contemplating excision surgery. I had her start testing her blood sugar - like a diabetic would - as part of my fix your period program, and she was blown away by how seemingly healthy foods were causing huge blood sugar spikes and crashes. These kinds of blood sugar imbalances lead to insulin dysregulation and subsequent inflammation throughout the body. Once we isolated the problem foods, and got her blood sugar under control she got to the point where she didn't have pain with her periods anymore!

I had another client who did the excision surgery to remove her endometriotic lesions a few years ago. She'd had terrible pain that required prescription medication for the first 1-3 days of her period every month. We prepared for the surgery with an anti-inflammatory diet, targeted supplementation to support her estrogen detoxification pathways and some serious stress management. The surgery was successful and her first period came and went without any pain!

Foria: Do you have any upcoming projects you want to share or ways people in the endometriosis community can work with you?

Nicole: YES! My book Fix Your Period is coming out on April 28th and I could not be more excited about sharing my life's work with the world! Fix Your Period provides a 6-week protocol for addressing so many pain in the-you-know-what period problems. I walk readers through a proven nutrition and lifestyle plan that will change their health and their periods in ways they might never have thought possible.

By the end of week six, as good habits are carried forward week by week, readers will have a revamped lifestyle optimized for hormonal balance and the opportunity to experience a pain-free, regular period accompanied by fewer mood swings and more energy. There are tons of amazing bonuses available once you purchase the book that will help facilitate your own healing journey.

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