Your fertility, your weight & PCOS. 3 tips for success

If you’ve been TTC for some time, one of the first areas to address is your weight because, unfortunately having a too-high BMI goes hand in hand with fertility-related problems.

The good news is that overweight women who do lose weight, bring their chances of conceiving both naturally and using fertility treatment back in line with those who are not overweight.

Some 30-50% of women who have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) are overweight or obese.

PCOS causes menstrual disorders and the abnormal secretion of hormones, including the ones that control the reproductive cycle.

Today I’d like to explain a bit about how we view weight and PCOS in Chinese Medicine and share some tips that can bring your weight down and your fertility up!

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) sees obesity as an issue of ‘Dampness’ which is where fluids have accumulated inappropriately. Damp has a sluggish, stagnant, stuck quality.

Indicators of an excess Damp condition are:

  • Water retention
  • Bloating
  • Excess weight
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of appetite
  • A heavy feeling in the limbs, body and/or head
  • Yeasts/excess mucus/candida/thrush
  • Allergies
  • Eczema
  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Cysts and tumours
  • Watery or loose stools
  • Weakness and feeling cold or lethargic

In terms of your menstrual cycle and fertility, Damp can affect them both in various ways like:

  • Clogging the ovaries so they are unable to release an egg.
  • Slowing the passage of the egg through the fallopian tube or even blocking it causing the fertilised egg to miss its window for implantation. Think ectopic pregnancies.
  • It may also coat the womb in a thick layer making it difficult for the egg to implant successfully.

So, what to do?

Unfortunately, the diet for clearing Damp is extremely dull. But the good news is that you’ll feel better quickly and in the long term, lighter and more alive. You’ll also be upping your chances of a successful conception and pregnancy. That’s got to be worth it!

I strongly recommend you follow these 3 tips:

  1. Cut out or heavily reduce these foods and drinks:
    • Alcohol, especially beer
    • Dairy foods especially cheese
    • Chocolate
    • Curries
    • Bread & wheat in other forms such as cakes, biscuits etc
    • Fried foods
    • Sugar
    • Ready cracked nuts such as peanuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews (they are Damp forming because the oil is exposed to the air).
  2. Steer clear of anything too cold such as lots of cold water, raw foods or cold food straight from the fridge. Instead, nourish yourself with warm, cooked foods, soups, stews, lean and low-fat protein (but not processed low-fat foods).
  3. Work on your emotional relationship to food. If you have problems with binge eating or starving yourself, it will be hard for your body to come into balance so that you can conceive. You may find having some therapy helpful in this case.

If you’d like to hop on a no-obligation call to discuss how I could help you have a baby, please drop me a line at

I also have a colleague who works specifically with PCOS (based on her own personal experience) and am happy to refer on if I feel she’d be better placed to help you.

Sally Varley

Sally Varley

Hi, I'm Sally, a fertility expert. To read more about me click here.

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