I've been a long time fan of Nicole Jardim and her vital work helping women with period problems, so when she agreed to an interview, I was very excited!
Nicole is a Certified Women’s Health Coach and the creator of Fix Your Period, a series of programs that empower women to reclaim their hormone health using a method that combines simplicity and sass.
Her incredible work has impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of women around the world in effectively addressing a wide variety of period problems, including PMS, irregular periods, PCOS, painful periods, amenorrhea, and many more.
So how did Nicole end up as ‘The Period Girl'?
As a teen, she dealt with irregular periods, and at the time thought it was awesome. No period pain? No worry about bleeding? Sounds great. Except it wasn’t great; something was wrong. So she went to the doctor and was put on a birth control pill. It eased her menstrual symptoms, and she started having regular periods. Until she began experiencing hair loss, melasma, UTIs, yeast infections, and an influx in gut health issues. She even had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic intended to treat a UTI, which landed her in the ER. Like most of us, she knew something was wrong but shrugged it off.
And then one day she saw an acupuncturist and unloaded her symptoms on him. To which he replied, “I think it’s your birth control pill.” That’s when the first switch flipped. She stopped taking the pill and led a pretty symptom free life. That is until an intensely stressful work environment put her body in turmoil. She began experiencing a resurgence of symptoms, and the second switch was flipped. She enrolled at a nutritional institute to study hormones and become a health coach.
Women have an unhealthy relationship with hormones, according to Nicole. “Women in their 20s, 30, even 40s think of hormones as puberty, menopause, hot flashes, and period problems and they don’t relate it to what’s really going on with their overall health and menstrual cycles,” she says.
Myths and misconceptions about periods
Nicole talked about two major myths around menstrual cycles and period problems that she comes across in clinic:
MYTH #1: YOU CAN GET PREGNANT EVERY DAY OF YOUR CYCLE
“This is something I’ve continuously had to debunk,” Nicole told me. Many women are under the impression you can get pregnant at any point during your cycle. But fertilization doesn’t happen randomly, and there’s actually a quite short window of time (about 1-2 days within a cycle) in which you can actually become pregnant.
“It’s important for us to recognize this, because [when we do] it creates a kind of paradigm shift,” she continues. “The pressure of preventing pregnancy is often pushed onto the woman. After all, it’s our egg, right? Well yeah, but we are only able to fertilize it for a few days of the month. Men, however, are fertile every day of the month. Yet the burden of birth control is thrust upon us as women.”
The goal of Nicole’s programs and teachings revolve around women learning the ebbs and flows of their own cycles. She teaches women what their bodies should be doing during each stage of the menstrual cycle, because once they understand their own bodies, they can begin to take back control.
MYTH #2: PERIODS ARE PAINFUL AND IT’S NATURAL TO SUFFER THROUGH THEM.
Periods suck, sure. But you’re not meant to suffer. “The normalization of women’s pain across the planet is astounding,” she professes. Doctors are quick to push band-aid medications and solutions to mask problems women often face during their periods instead of getting to the root of the problem. “I call your period problems ‘Period Red Flags’. Something along the way broke or malfunctioned, and your period is the first thing telling you something is wrong.”
Bottom line: It’s not ok to be agonising every day, bleed through your clothes, or lose your mind. We’re desensitised to PMS and period problems so much, that we don’t take ourselves seriously when we exhibit these symptoms. But it’s not normal, and you don’t have to put up with it.
Nicole’s key tips to hormone balance
There are no quick fixes to balance your hormones, however, Nicole did share a few of her top tips to get things on the right track.
- BE AWARE: Figure out what your symptoms are and what may be causing them. She recommends tracking your cycle, but also to go further. When do symptoms occur? What does your period blood look like? When does your period come, and how long does it last? Pay attention to your cervical fluid—does it get wetter as you approach ovulation and begin to dry out after? If it doesn’t, you may be dealing with estrogen dominance.
- TAKE ACTION: After you’ve done the observation and figured out what your period and cycle look like, then you can take action to begin fixing the problem.
- WHAT’S GOING ON WITH YOUR DIET?: Everyone’s favorite advice: eat better. We want fast results, but getting your hormones balanced takes serious effort. Integrate more veggies into your daily diet. It’s a very basic thing to do but very beneficial. Nicole also let us in on a secret: our perception of gut health is wrong. Digestion is a critical factor in our hormone health. She suggests chewing your food 25-30 times, to ensure your gut isn’t put under stress and has energy to absorb all of the good nutrition it’s getting.
Also, supplements aren’t the enemy. Hormone imbalances are usually caused by a nutrient deficiency of some sort. A few she suggests considering are Magnesium, a multi-vitamin, and zinc, iodine, or selenium, as well as a possible B-Complex or multi-mineral supplement. However, she urges to fix your food intake first, and then see if you’re deficient.
- GET YOUR STRESS UNDER CONTROL: And lastly, balancing your hormones requires getting your stress levels under control. When we’re under stress, it throws all our hormones out of sync. Do what you can to relax.
Take Nicole's FREE period quiz to get a custom report based on your unique physiology, and discover if you've got period problems— in less than 10 minutes.
Listen to the podcast interview here;