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Solving Period Problems One Cycle at a Time


We hear a lot about nutrition being vital for health, but do you know how it affects your hormones? Australian Clinical Nutritionist Jackie Frangeskakis is an expert, both through her work and personal experience, so we asked her about some practical ways we can improve our cycle.


Name: Jackie Frangeskakis
Pronouns: She/Her
Day job: Nutritionist/Director/Product Developer/Copywriter
Location: Eastern Suburbs, Melbourne


Tell us about your work?

I have always been a closet nerd with a weird obsession for medicine and human biology… ER & RPA being my favourite shows since I was 10! Fast forward 12 years, I faced my own issues with my cycle after completing a bodybuilding competition. It was that that truly led me down the women’s health avenue. Three university degrees later, I am where I am today, helping women improve their fertile health one cycle at a time.


Is there a connection between health and menstrual health?

Your menstrual health is a true marker of overall health. Every woman wants to be fertile, whether they want a baby or not. Women should be considering their reproductive health as a report card for their overall health. It is a monthly review of what is going on inside you.


What’s your tips for optimal menstrual health?

Honestly, it is so simple… eat. If the majority of what you eat is whole foods, the rest will take care of itself. The number of patients I see that do not eat enough food is astonishing. I think we are so ingrained in believing hunger to be a “bad” thing. When in fact, it is your body trying to tell you that you need fuel. Hunger is the fuel light for our own bodies. We need to flip the thought patterns and start looking at hunger and eating as positive things.



What’s your thoughts on the pill to regulate menstrual cycles?

The hormonal birth control may help your symptoms; however, it is simply a band aid. The pill, contraceptive implant, IUD, whatever your choice, will never truly solve the deeper issues at play when it comes to irregular cycles and menstrual symptoms.

And though the pill is an extremely convenient way of contraception, it does come with a whopping list of side effects.

Jackie Frangeskakis | Women's Health Nutritionist

Top tips for helping period pain?

We want to be looking at: histamine levels, hormonal imbalances, B6 deficiency, dairy intolerances, potential endometriosis, thyroid function, and the quality of our gut health. All the above link in with one another, and you need to find out the cause of your period pain before you can treat it efficiently and effectively. Remember - period pain is common, but it is NOT NORMAL.


What are some signs and symptoms of endometriosis?

When it comes to endo, your number one symptom will be pain. Second to that, nearly 95% of women with endo will experience IBS-like symptoms, and yes, they are totally related. Endometriosis is a problem of immune dysfunction. Over 70% of your immune system lies within your gut. Endo is an immune problem that impacts hormones and causes pain.


Are there triggers that can lead to an endo flare?

Diet. I am not anti-dairy, however, most of my endometriosis patients do much better off dairy. Additionally, the classic deep fried, trans fat-filled foods tend to be triggers and contributing factors to endo. We cannot deny the impact of stress on symptoms of endometriosis. Once again, this links back to the gut. Gut health and mental health are directly linked. Anytime one of those systems is “out of whack,” the other will be too.

What are some easy ways to help symptoms?

This may sound super boring, but eating mostly whole foods, ensuring you include all proteins, carbohydrates and fats and correcting any nutritional deficiencies is the key. On top of that, quality sleep allows the body to recover and minimise stress where you can.

Strength training and HIIT training are also fantastic at reducing inflammation long term, which is a large proponent of endo. At the end of the day, control the controllables as best you can. Aim for improvement, not perfection.

Some of my key favourite supplements are NAC, berberine, inositol and curcumin.


Describe the differences between endo and PCOS?

Pain. With PCOS, pain should not really be an issue. PCOS you will have irregular cycles, male like symptoms (think acne, weight gain, abnormal hair growth). If you are having bad period pain and you have irregular cycles and male like symptoms, there are chances you may have both. If you have both, focus your treatments on endometriosis first, as this is a more serious issue.


How can someone manage PCOS symptoms?

Amongst all the blur and confusion out there, I will say this, do NOT avoid carbohydrates. Avoiding carbohydrates will only worsen the problem. Avoiding carbs in PCOS is like trying to fan away the smoke of a burning house, without putting out the fire. You may be impacting symptoms, but again, it's not actually solving the problem. If anything, it may be making it worse.

You want to balance your plate with mostly fruits and vegetables, a palm sized serving of protein, complex, quality carbohydrates and a little bit of healthy fats to top it off. My top supplements with PCOS are inositol, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin D.



My period in 3-words: Easy, breezy, healthy

Period self-care means: Nourishing my body, but also allowing myself to indulge. Listening to my body when it comes to exercise and doing what I feel like.

Period self-care toolkit: I love a good face mask. A quality magnesium supplement and a cup of tea with a bickie.

Best period hacks: Magnesium, period undies and 10-minute dose of true HIIT training.

Contraception of choice: Fertility awareness method aka period tracking.

On day 1 you can find me: A quick sprint session on the treadmill, followed by a day of delicious food and chill time with Grey’s Anatomy.

Scarlet pick: A toss up between the Scarlet Period Cup or Scarlet Period G-String!


You can follow Jackie on Instagram: @thenourishedcycle and read more insights from her via her website.



Medical Disclaimer: This blog is for information purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. Always consult a healthcare provider or a qualified medical expert for concerns or questions regarding your own health.

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