Chinese medicine practitioner, natural fertility doctor and author of ‘Beautiful You’, Nat Kringoudis is a specialist in all things female health and wellbeing. She’s on a mission to empower women everywhere so that they can take control of their hormonal health.
Tell us a little bit about your journey to becoming an expert in women’s hormonal heath and fertility?
Well I certainly didn’t choose to focus on women’s health from the outset – hormonal women go through A LOT (but I do love them). We’ve all been there and truthfully I didn’t feel that I was equipped to support them when I first started out some 15 years ago. But time went on and women continued to plea for answers and it seemed they just weren’t getting solid solutions – in fact, the conditions and symptoms we were seeing were new, simply because they were a direct result of modern living. I had to get savvy, investigate, be curious, use my patients as a source of learning and eventually weave my own style of treatment together; incorporating ancient medicine with modern wisdom. This all paved the way for what I do today and I’m so blessed to be able to serve women who are down and out and not getting the answers they need – it’s refreshing and it makes me excited to keep going.
What were some of the key challenges in pursuing a career in this field?
With risk of sounding a little bold, I feel like I’ve always ridden the front of the wave in this space. I don’t know really how this happens, but I consistently feel like I’m in unchartered waters. This means at times, my team and I are embarking on things that have never been done before. Whilst this can be so amazing and exciting, it can also be very scary and of course for all the wins there are a thousand fails. After 15 years I now know this well and I know what works best is authenticity, organic growth, trial and error with a lot of love thrown in the mix.
Nowadays Chinese Medicine isn’t so underground. Another challenge was the adoption and acceptance of eastern medicine in Australia. When I first started I’m pretty sure people thought I was mixing up potions in a cauldron in my yard. I love that over time we have seen this gentle shift between integrating eastern and western principles to really complement healthcare. It’s a total game changer when you can get the right balance.
What are two things that you want people to know about fertility/or hormonal health, that they don’t already?
1. That fertility isn’t about babies, fertility is about having a thriving reproductive system that works ‘kink free.’ That is, when the time is right for you to have a baby, you’re ready, but in the interim you still are able to experience optimal reproductive and sexual health. Hormones truly are your best life hack. Get the balance of them right and you’re set. When they are in disarray, the cascade of symptoms can be an awful mix, not to mention that we don’t often treat the problem but simply mask the symptoms with medication.
2. Period pain is not normal. It is common, but it isn’t a given. It gets packaged up with a group of awful symptoms every 28 days, as if that’s just part of being a woman. Women need to know that pain in the body is a sure sign that something isn’t quite right and to explore that. Most often, period pain is a direct result of stress, be it living exposed to too much pressure, having poor digestive function or perhaps living in an environment that doesn’t support your health. There is always a reason.
What role do personal care products and cosmetics play in the health of modern women?
As a woman, I like to look and feel good – it’s part of who I am and being confident. For me this involves products that help to enhance who I already know I am. The problem is that our conventional products are unregulated and contain a truck load of chemicals that are known endocrine disruptors – meaning they can have their way with our hormones, which can be a complete disaster and lead to a variety of issues including excess oestrogen; a major factor in conditions like PCOS, endometriosis, infertility and menopause. For me, choosing products that perform but do not expose my body daily to these chemicals is essential. I teach the same to my patients. But most of all for me, I want to be able to switch out conventional brands for something that works just as well – thank goodness for INIKA Organic.
What are some of the simple changes women can make to improve their hormonal health?
Nutrition is paramount. I feel that we don’t actually truly get this at times. Food is either of benefit or deficit. It takes our health in one of two directions – where we want it to be or where we don’t. It can be the catalyst for symptoms to arise or the slip stream to optimal health. So, ensuring that what you eat supports your hormones for me is so important – this means more good fats, protein, quality carbohydrates by way of plants and less of inflammatory foods - being sugar, gluten and dairy.
Simple changes with cleaning products, body products, cosmetics, shampoo and conditioners are also a very easy way of keeping your hormones happier – this also extends to limiting the use of plastics (water bottles/containers). Education is also key. Once we can make informed choices and understand in simple terms, how our hormones work, two things happen. We no longer fear the worst and secondly, we can make sound choices based on being empowered. This to me is so important for my patients.
What women’s issue are you passionate about at the moment?
Young women’s health. Educating young women on their body, how it works and how to look for clues that it may need some extra TLC. I realised after years of treating infertility, that had I been able to reach out to these women before they were ‘broken’ so to speak, then it would be a very different conversation. To really change the landscape of women’s health is necessary for the long haul and I can see it in front of me – this chance to educate the next generation is such a gift.
Tell us one thing you do for yourself every day to live a happier, healthier life?
I spend time with a handful women that I love, for a debrief most mornings, before I start my day. I find the download just so important. Women get women. We are used to ‘nattering’ to solve our woes when instead we should be lifting each other up and supporting each other. I think over time we have lost this, so getting back to this feels really great and I love starting my morning this way.
Check out Nat K in action as the host of top-rated podcasts, The Wellness Collective and The Period Party. For more information, visit her website http://www.natkringoudis.com/ or Instagram instagram.com/natkringoudis.
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