Peri-menopause + Ovulation + Test results

keri Krieger, ovulation, Peri-menopause, women's health

 

At the beginning of the year I ran out of my T3 Thyroid medication, I do this every so often and think I’ll be fine and then two weeks later I’ve forgotten my own name so many times I realise that maybe I should go get the script re done.  I also thought that it had  been a while since I had my bloods done so it might be a good time to see how my hormone levels were.

My usual GP wasn’t  there so I saw someone else. He seems nice enough and tell him that I was taking T3 and it was really helping, that I’m 44 and sometimes I don’t ovulate  and I’m often tired, so I want to check oestrogen levels and make sure there is nothing obviously “wrong”. He asks me how I would know that I don’t and I reply “you know the usual, cervical fluid, energy levels, libido, body temp” He says nothing and offers me the script and the pathology form.

I don’t mention the word Peri-Menopause as I’m not really sure I want to get into that conversation.

I know I need to get these done on day 21 (this is when Progesterone levels should be rising for the final week of our cycle.)  

Feb rolls around and I’m at my sisters in Canberra, then March, and well we all remember March right?! 

So I find myself in May, on a Monday afternoon after clinic, it was a full morning and I feel myself crashing, I’m exhausted and emotional and I sit there in the car on the way home crying and inhaling a whole packet of m&m’s.

I’m not even sure what I’m upset about and I go home to run a bath and crawl into bed exhausted before the sun sets. 

I wake up the next morning and DING light bulb moment I realise it’s now day 22 and I think I know what’s happening.

I can already feel the energy in my pelvis dropping like my period is going to arrive and I remember the pathology test so off I go. This is the perfect time to catch what is really going on. My period turned up on day 23 this month, that feeling never lies.

 

 

Flash forward to last week when I finally call the surgery not having heard from the Dr about my test results. 

The receptionist calls me back after having found them and says “the ones from May?”  

Yep it’s  2020 and it’s taken this long. Really. 

“Oh he didn’t see anything out of order with them so there was no need to call you” 

“Great so can you send me the results please” 

Please know these are your results and you do need a copy of them, especially if you intend to see another allied health practitioners. It is incredibly helpful for us to give you the best possible care.

The data on most tests is pretty amazing, but you need the right set of eyeballs and a comprehensive context of your health to fully understand them. 

Your practitioner is still human, please remember this.

Let’s take them off that pedestal we often put them on. (except maybe brain surgeons .. that stuff is nuts! :))

So she emails me through the release form, I sign it and send it back and she emails me the copy of the tests.

I’m looking at them, knowing the state I was in when the bloods were done. I look at the hormone levels in the next screen and I’m wondering what I’m missing as it’s obvious that I’ve got no progesterone and relatively low oestrogen 

 

 

blood tests, womens health, peri menopause, hormone testing

 

I think, it looks pretty obvious what’s going on here so maybe I’ve missed something so I email them to my colleague and friend Jess. 

And straight away she’s also like” you didn’t ovulate”. 

(No ovulation = no corpus luteum = no progesterone) 

The piece that has been missing for so many of us is that these hormones aren’t just for our body or useful for having a easy period or making babies but this is also all about brain health and mental health. These hormones especially progesterone in midlife support our nervous system and when they are out of whack we are anxious, wobbly little insomniacs! Not fun!

I know it’s hard to hear but these levels are going to be unique to you. Someone could have the same levels as this but be experiencing hot flushes and likewise someone with lower levels than you is not experiencing them. It’s ridiculously individual.

For me these lower oestrogen levels aren’t not hot flush low, but a lot lower than they have been and low enough to encourage the body to create that belly fat (adipose tissue is another site for oestrogen creation)

They are low enough on their own to feel all kinds of out of sorts but also super high by comparison to the non existent progesterone. In some women it can be this difference that begins mid cycle bleeding and heavy bleeding in general. In peri-menopause some women experience the kind of lower levels seen in my test results here but there can also be very big swings in oestrogen throughout the month.

Without going over the top with testing tracking your cycle and noting your experience is very helpful to predict and support yourself.

All of this for my situation is called yang and blood deficiency in TCM. My period is getting lighter and lighter most months…. and the rest of me is getting softer and squishier!! Weight baring exercise here I come!

Viola this is my version of my current experience of PM!

(just quickly if you’re 25 & just come off the pill and you’re reading this freaking out don’t panic there are lots of other reasons you might not ovulate, go book in with your acupuncturist and get the support you need. It is almost impossible that you’re in PM )

And for those playing along at home below you’ll see my iron results from this and past years.

 

women's health, iron deficiency, Peri-menopause

It’s not ideal but has since been supported with diet. 

If you’ve read my methylation blog (please do) you’ll know the back story to this, with those low/high (H L) markers it looks like I had hemochromatosis.

I don’t but for a long time it was assumed I did, and basically it means that my iron is being “parked” in the wrong place and this (for me) meant that my copper levels were super high.

 

 

So what these test actually tell me is that I had low Iron, an anovulatory cycle, oestrogen and progesterone out of balance (enough to create emotional symptomology) and cortisol would be in the mix there because 2020 and BAM! 

You have a woman parked in car eating a bucket of sugar, emotional and freaking out. 

This test result and the support it offers me was deemed of no importance because most GP’s have understandably been   trained to look for pathology and that generally is indicated by data that is in the extreme low or high ranges.

This is great when we’re wanting to rule out cancers, diabetes, and all sorts of other named disorders.

But health and feeling well doesn’t only occur in extremes. We begin to feel “off” or out of sorts or tired or just not quite right well before then.

Without the context (knowledge of your history) and without the accurate reading of these results you WILL be told NOTHING is wrong with you, which I don’t need to tell you leaves you feeling like you’re bonkers (correct me if I’m wrong) 

 

Now before we get all antsy I’m not judging my GP or any Doctors, they do an incredible job!  They need to know everything from why your toddler has a red toe to helping your dad refer to the best hearing specialist.

Womens health has simply been missing from much of the research until as late as the 90’s. Nope that isn’t a typo. Your GP unless they specialised recently may not have had the specific education to translate the small changes in hormone levels with what that presents as in an actual woman.

It is exhausting I feel you, but you need to keep going until you get the answers and support that you feel you need.

Remember that what these Dr’s do best is discover pathology and yay for that I say, but we feel unwell long before that.

I remind all my clients that therapists, GP’s and allied health professionals are amazing and helpful but the responsibility for our health needs to fall to US. 

You know your body best and if you feel “something isn’t right” then you keep asking the questions until you find the right Dr or therapist or qualified person to support you.

Lara Briden has a fantastic article on her site about “Body Literacy” and the origins of that term I would love you read it.

The caveat here is please do not take random advice from an influencer or

Dr google.

Gut feelings with science always. 

This also goes for treatment, what is working for me might not be for you. 

I’m sharing my results so you can see just how nuanced it is and how information and self knowledge is supportive.

Peri-Menopause is not a static experience.

The levels of FSH (Folical Stimulating Hormone) which can be tested on day 3 are also helpful to indicate your waning ovarian activity.

So what am I doing as a result of this information? 

This information has backed up what I had felt was already occurring. Do not discount how helpful that is, as it allows me the knowledge that I might need a bit more support at certain time of the month. It allows me to communicate with my nearest and dearest what is going on and what I need.

It supports me in not feeling crazy! If you’ve questioned your own sanity recently as a result of wonky hormones you will feel me! 

Practically I’m continuing to treat myself with acupuncture, activated B’s especially B6, methylation support and adaptogens to support my liver pathways and stress response. I am prioritising my sleep and exercise in nature.

The simple things done with consistency have the greatest effect.

I have in the past successfully used chaste tree (a herb) and progesterone creams to support my progesterone levels. 

Your treatment with lifestyle changes, supplementation, Chinese Herbs, Acupuncture, Counselling needs to be unique for you. At some point you might personally choose to go down the route of hormone replacement therapy.

It’s an area I’m looking into at the moment at still refer clients to Integrated GP’s who offer these treatments.

Please know I cant diagnose your results without a comprehensive consultation.

If you’d like to see me at Nuwa on the Gold Coast or for an online health consultation it would be a privilege to support you.

This is a conversation that I will continue to write and educate about I would love to hear your questions.

Comment on this post or head here and leave me a message.

 

 

How was your 2019? – I think it’s time for a recap

 

 

This has been the most extraordinary year, looking back I cannot believe just how much has occurred and just how LARGE everything was. Nothing was done by halves this year.

At the end of 2018 I had come home from a truly soul nourishing overseas journey I wrote about here

I started my new acupuncture clinic in Kirra at Raw Beauty and ended a relationship that whilst it had been entered into with the best of intentions had highlighted the final ways that I continued to be willing to abandon myself.

So the year started with a house move in February.  Yes really, it continues to baffle me but evidently staying settled and anchored in the one place is not something I have been gifted with experiencing. Yet!

As such my word for the year was Anchored. The magical Alex from Violet Gray gifted me with this necklace before 2018 was out. It was also Alex that said, when I moved to Kirra, “that this place will heal your heart” . She knows her stuff that woman.

No-one enjoys a house move but this one really undid me. This was going to be the year where I got to re write my guiding narrative, and understand just how environments and locations get woven into our stories. As we walk past that house and this cafe we subconsciously (and sometimes consciously) remind ourselves of who we are, our place in the world and what we believe is going to happen in the future. Maybe this is not always an ideal thing. And there is power in relocating ourselves to access another thread in our stories.

I had been living in the same suburb for 11 years and SO much of my story had been woven into the surrounding streets, beaches and cafes. It felt like I was being forcibly ripped from the story of who I believed I was, told in no uncertain terms that the future I had been dreaming of there was not on the cards and plonked quite indelicately into a beachside apartment three suburbs south.

Yes, please don’t feel sorry for me, I landed in a very quirky but delightful ocean front apartment.

The story of how I ended up there is dripping in serendipity and quite frankly magic.

Five days before I had to be out of my house and still without a place to go to I went to my hairdresser. Ironically I had been putting off getting my hair done because of course there were ‘more important’ things happening right?

 

Let me be the first to remind you that some of the most powerful and life changing moments will occur in the everyday mundane and only be recognisable with the gift of hindsight.

 

I find this heartening to recall because there were times of such overwhelming confusion and struggle this year. But deep down I knew I needed to trust and so trust I did.

So with colour piled on my head Courtney promptly sent me to check out the empty apartment upstairs, by the time I had come back down the owner of the apartment was somehow in the salon and she was wrangling me a deal. Two days later Ruben and I were moving in. Yup. That’s how it can happen.

And whilst I had to contend with noisy neighbours a commercial kitchen literally at my back door and a coffee roaster outside my kitchen window (who else can tell these kinds of stories friends?) I woke up every day to the magic of this ocean view.

 

 

It was the most divine way to spend the winter with direct sunlight beaming into my bedroom every morning.

The first book of the year was Women Who Run With the Wolves on my balcony in the sunshine and boy oh boy did it rock my world.  It touched me deeply on so many levels but primarily it reminded me of the importance of a supportive female network, especially for the new mothers I was seeing in clinic. Clarrissa Pinkola Estes writes about The Goddess Mothers and inspired my article of the same name .

This article came straight from my heart to yours.  

As I worked my way through the unravelling of house moving / life changing grief I shared my health journey covering Adrenal Fatigue ,Under-methylation and so much more. It is so far is the most read article on the site. So many women have sent me emails in response to this piece.

If you’re nodding your head reading it maybe it’s time to book some acupuncture with me or organise a time for a Skype consult and see if health coaching is something I could assist you with.

The rocky start to the year had me re-assessing my relationship with pleasure and fun and had me asking myself what were my metrics for the year going to be? This is such a common thread for the women I treat and coach.

Slowly our collective beliefs are changing. Pleasure and relaxation and a nervous system in ‘rest and digest’ CAN co-exist with productivity and success.

I wrote about my most recent journey with this topic here.  Success and Pleasure 

I shared how I was learning to value the investment required of my acupuncture treatments in my clinic and confronting those often experienced beliefs that health practitioners should be giving their skills away for free.

Whilst diving into my new clinic I realised that I hadn’t shared the story of how I started studying acupuncture in the first place.

I love this story so much, it was fun to share.

In the same week as I moved house (I do not recommend this!) there were trips to Melbourne to collaborate with Dr Abbie and her Zhong Centre team and later in the year a girls road trip weekend with my bestie to Scotts Head on the NSW north coast. There was so many lady love sleep overs and new friendships this year. And as I reflect on my year I know it was a very big one for so many of you too.

Serendipity was working her secret magic through most of this year as in June I also met a very special man with blue eyes who had been under my feet the entire time. If anyone tells you you won’t meet anyone sitting in your own home alone minding your own business I have the perfect story for you …. but I wont share that here yet! 🙂

In July I hosted my first Womens Emotional Wellbeing Event.

I’ll be taking this on the road in 2020 and I cannot wait! See how the first one went here.

There was a wild (literally) trip to South Africa that happened in August to celebrate my youngest sisters wedding. It was a once in a life time trip and I am still marvelling at the fact that it even occurred.  I travelled with my family for the first time in 20 years and survived. If you’re wondering how you too might stay sane and actually thrive pop in and follow my 7 key practices here.

I was home for a very busy 24 days before the passport was once again out and I headed off for a working holiday to Fiji that came out of nowhere. I think we can thank Jupiter in Sagittarius for that one.

And while I was there I wrote about the one thing I believe that stands in the way of women asking for and investing in the help they need. We need to find a pathway to choosing ourselves and I think I may just have the beginnings of an answer here.

When I came home and was trying to catch my breath I had the extreme delight in having a conversation with two women I adore and haven’t had nearly enough time to catch up with.

You can hear the chat with Jema on her Well Woman Podcast and with Lindsey on Her Return here.

The year has begun drawing to a close with a second house move.

Against all odd and certainly against anything that 2018 Keri would have ever believed was possible, I moved in with said Mr Blue Eyes.

Ruben, (my dog) having lived here for most of the year while I was travelling, was delighted that I joined him finally!

November and that deeply challenging Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio saw some very deep healing occur. Sometimes I refer to the astrological patterns the same way I might refer to the days of the week, so take it or leave it if you’re not across (or aren’t interested in) these astro phenomenon.

I have had some of the hardest and most transformative conversations of my life in the last few weeks. It’s seen me step back from hanging out on the socials, downsize my work load and take some much needed time to rest and reflect.

Moving into 2020 I will be leaving so many trauma informed beliefs and behaviours behind.

I know I will write about this soon, there is so many important things to say.

It’s been an extraordinarily healing year. Hard on so many fronts but I am gently excited at how life is going to look as I establish a new fresh and healthy foundation. I look forward to sharing more with you as this unfolds.

And while there is still a few weeks to go and I have no doubt that 2019 has more up her sparkly sleeve yet I will let that be a surprise to share in the new year.

Your end of year Alchemical Ritual can be found here. I’ve updated it this year I would love for you to share your journey through it on instagram @kerikrieger.

You can also listen to most of these articles on my soundcloud if that feels easier for you.

 

However you’re spending this season, know that as I write this I am sending love and care out in all directions and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Take it gently as you move into the New Year .

I’ll see you there

 

x

Keri

Womens Emotional Wellbeing Event July 2019

 

 

Womens Emotional Wellbeing Event, Chinese Medicine, Gold coast Events, Keri Krieger

I know I am not alone in feeling that maybe July this year was perhaps actually about 3 years ago.

Better late than never, here is a recap of my first WEW event.

There are plenty more planned for 2020 I’m taking this baby on the road around the country. Yes I am!

It was an incredible day. I was so grateful for how it turned out and am looking forward to taking all I learnt on the day and making it even better for the future women attending.

Not only was it the first but it was an intimate size with 9 women attending and what turned out to be a magical “Beta Testing” experience.  There is always a wealth of knowledge in any room but the attendees in July were all leaders and teachers in their fields and included journalists, medical practitioners, psychologists, a chiropractor, occupational therapists just to name a few. This provided such a valuable experience for everyone there but also for me to really hone the day for the future.

One of the things that is always essential when women come together is to allow plenty of time for sharing as while I am there to facilitate the flow of the day, I trust that everyone attending is there to connect and share a little something of themselves that will be meaningful for others on the day.

I’m grateful for the intimate size of this first gathering as at bigger events next year the flow of the day will be managed a little differently.

We set up at the amazing space Pragmatic Thinking HQ on the Gold coast

 

Read More

Creating Holiday Rituals that Nourish

keri krieger blog, how to survive xmas, end of 2017, women's health coach, emma kate co

 

The end of year can be so tricky to navigate.

And I know I’m not alone in observing this. Obligation, unrealistic expectations, clashes of values and needs, it can all seem too hard. It doesn’t need to be this way though.

In my ongoing sorting and repacking of my storage unit, I found a photo of my sister and I somewhere around 1995. It’s a hilarious photo because for some reason we felt the need to kneel down beside my big kitchen table next the spread of food we had prepared. It’s this weird but festive photo with our almost disembodied heads next to plates of food! Let me remind you that there was no digital photography at this point!

I wish I had’ve taken a photo of it before packing it back away. This photo reminded me that for a number of years while we were still living in the same country we would celebrate our ‘Holiday Festival’ on the Solstice on the 21st Dec. This is when we gave each other presents and shared the highlight real of our year and our wishes for the next. *

This felt meaningful and connected as I didn’t align with the commercialism of the season (I still don’t) or the Christian one on offer. I made up my own rituals, borrowed a few from my pagan leanings to honor the summer season and I was on my way! Just add people I love, great food and music. In our childhood my sister played  ‘The Muppets Christmas Album’ version of the 12 days of Xmas so much that regardless of whether we are  together I hear Miss Piggy screeching 5 Golden Rings until the 2nd of Jan.

*(This was also a time in my life when I left a slice of birthday cake out for the ‘elementals’. True stories. Now I just eat all the cake myself! I figure I’m an elemental too!)

As the years have passed and my baby brother and sister were born, I adored celebrating with them. Their excitement at the Xmas tree, all squishing into the same bed as they couldn’t agree with who was going to sleep in the big bed with their sister! There was even Mass in the melting North Queensland heat with my quasi Catholic parents. I found my feminist alignment with this by ‘hanging out with Mary’ and feeling into the genuine reverence present. Which was undeniable.

My ex-husband was a huge xmas fan. The decorations were epic, the carols continuous and I’m ok with never having to clean up that much tinsel again! The holiday season in the norther hemisphere it has to be said feels so much more authentic to me. At that time of year it can be really nourishing to celebrate and raise your spirits. The gift of a white winter solstice is something I enjoyed so much.

My siblings are now 20 and 22 but my nieces have since been born and I have once again loved creating rituals with them and my sister. No longer two disembodied heads at a table but trying to keep the presents a secret and grab a minute of quiet time together.

This year I find myself at another ritual crossroads. My younger siblings are all grown up, my sister and my nieces living overseas and my parents having parties with friends of their own. (That of course I could join).

I am finding myself leaning toward the ways I naturally love to celebrate and looking forward to creating space in my life for these thing for the first time in a long time. Simple, natural and homespun fun. And honestly while I don’t want to make a huge deal about this one day, after an enormous year I do want to soak up the spaciousness of having a week off and connect with my loves in a way that feels meaningful and not contrived.

I’m feeling into what 23 year old Keri would want to do because whilst we often search into the future to see what our older wiser self might think, there is wisdom to be found in the simple honestly of our younger selves too.

I want you to know that if the season ahead is hard for you, that you can create your own meaningful rituals.

Some ideas you could play with are;

Volunteer for your local charity.

Celebrate an ‘orphans xmas’ with your besties.

Even solo, create and plan ahead for a beautiful day; food, candles, activities that you love doing.

A day in a hammock with a book sounds just divine to me, or curled up by the fire if your Xmas is a chilly one. Making a big gratitude list of all the things you’re thankful for this year is a heart lead way to keep your focus on all that is abundant in your life.

Some other resources you might find helpful-

You can reflect and unravel your year with my Alchemical Year Play book

Alexandra Franzen has this ritual here I think I might try.

And my gorgeous friend Kris has these cards that inspire wonderful connection between people, pop them out if you’re in a group of people that might not know each other well.

 

I’d love to hear how your approaching the holiday season.

What spiritual practices or festivities do you align with?

And know too that if you’re really struggling don’t go it alone, there are support services you can connect with.

x

K

 

 

It needs to be included that as I’m writing this my neighbours child has launched into a sing- a -long version of Jingle Bells on the keyboard. It’s official. The seasons is ON!

 

 

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Soul Coaching

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So I have been super procrastinating. I mean 5 star, award winning procrastinating, so much so that I have been productively procrastinating so I wouldn’t (hopefully) notice. Cupboards have been tidied, ovens cleaned, bookshelves dusted, files filed. Its been amazing! I’ve had people helping me add copy to my website (because you see I cant do anything until I’ve got all this sorted! ) oh me oh my its been extraordinary!

I even have months and months of blogs written, ready to roll… once of course I have everything else in place and its all perfect….. all of it!

You can see where this is going yes?

I’ve been struck down with perfectionista procrastinatoria … hmmm yup! That’s Latin for omg I’msofreakinscaredofcoming out of the cupboardandbeingseenandtheyareall probably going to think I’mafreak!!!

Did you get that?

Can you relate at all?

That is until the day before yesterday.

I received a message that broke my heart, cracked me wide open and made me cry, and has continued to make me cry every time I think about it. This was followed by another message that continued to increase the water volume from my face. These weren’t however, sad tears. They we happy joyous tears of gratitude and amazement. And they kicked me up the bottom and said..

“well bloody well get on with it, get out there, be you and shine because even on your worst day you just don’t know how much of a difference you might be making”

And so I am.

This isn’t my ego talking. This is one of the most humble moments of my life.

This gorgeous woman sent me a message out of the blue that thanked me for being me and to let me know that without even being a client of mine or seeing me in person recently she imagined the lovely things I might say to her on days when she really needed some help. And that it helped and she was grateful. Holy cow I’m tearing up just thinking about this.
So I gushed as I am now, thanked her for her vulnerability and sent her my ebook (that I wrote whilst I was being a perfectionista procrastinatoria) in the spirit of more inspiration and love.
I’ve printed out her return message this morning and put it on my white board. I may share her words here at some point down the track but for the moment they are a precious reminder that we don’t have to get it all right and perfect and it doesn’t have to be the most extraordinary thing ever to make a difference in this world. Words cannot express the emotions I felt whilst reading her message and the humble tears of gratitude that fell. The silent Thank You sent out to the universe that I get to do this for “work”