PCOS is one of the most common contributing factors of infertility today, and many women don’t understand why it happens to them.
I’d like to share both the types of imbalances that ultimately can lead to a diagnosis of PCOS as well as tips and tools to unravel these imbalances so that you can be proactive in improving your fertility and your overall reproductive health.
When we begin to discuss PCOS, it’s important to note that while of course there are the factors that Western medicine would note, such as elevated LH levels and possibly cysts on the ovaries, in Eastern Medicine, which includes herbal/ botanical/ plant medicine, the focus is more on how energy is living in your body. This is important to note because this is the level at which plants and “energetic” type medicines like acupuncture, moxibustion and womb massage work.
These energies can eventually also manifest at the physical level, such as in the case as actual “cysts” and hormone imbalance but the energy that contributes to the physical cyst typically exists long before the actual cyst or hormone level elevation develops.
I want to simplify this idea as much as possible, so imagine that energy should ideally move through your body like air. Imagine how the air feels on a crisp, brisk fall day. You might feel energized. You might feel a spring in your step.
Now imagine a foggy day. There’s more moisture or dampness in the air. When you have PCOS, instead of your energy moving through your body briskly and easily, it’s almost as if a fog descends. There’s moisture and dampness in your body, which actually blocks the movement of Qi. In order for your energy to move, it has to work a lot harder, which may slow down many of your body’s functions.
Because everything slows down energetically, you might not ovulate. Your body’s ability to have that burst of energy you need for ovulation to occur isn’t available. Some women feel this sluggishness. Their limbs may feel heavy. They may gain weight.
If you think about the progression of the accumulation of dampness in your body, eventually it becomes almost like a sludge, like a thick accumulation of phlegm. The dampness can accumulate to the point that it actually solidifies into a cyst.
In treating PCOS, processing this dampness is essential.
*See below for more on the emotional energetic of PCOS.
Here are a few important methods for reversing the imbalances that contribute to PCOS.
1. One of the most accessible (do it yourself) ways to do this is to focus on balancing blood sugar. This is why so many women with PCOS are on Metformin.
It’s common to have a dis-regulated insulin response with PCOS. Sugar cravings may be high because when you have the fogginess that is common in PCOS, sweets can give you a quick burst of energy. While that energy does cut through the dampness, ultimately sugar creates more dampness, and it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle.
It’s best not to have any sugar when you have PCOS. While I don’t like to recommend restrictive diets for my patients and clients, unfortunately when you’re trying to conceive and have PCOS, stabilizing your blood sugar is incredibly important. In this instance, I do recommend a super low-sugar, low carb diet. It’s necessary to help to stabilize blood sugar and reduce the inflammation that can be contributing to difficulty conceiving.
This isn’t forever, but I recommend cutting out all grains, all tubers like potatoes & sweet potatoes and reducing starchy foods. Some women are okay with some fruit sugars like grapefruit or berries. For some women I recommend a Ketogenic diet, and most of my patients with PCOS immediately feel more stabilized.
Again, this doesn’t have to be your diet for the rest of your life, but if you have PCOS, it can absolutely be helpful. While this is not a diet I recommend for all of my fertility patients, the women in my fertility practice with PCOS who have adopted this diet are the ones who have gotten pregnant most quickly.
2. Avoid Dairy
Dairy is the enemy of PCOS. When you have PCOS, it’s essential to omit dairy from your diet. Milk and milk products can be extremely damp-producing, which is exactly the imbalance we are trying to correct in PCOS. If you’re continuing to drink milk and consume dairy, it’s virtually impossible to eradicate the dampness that contributes to the formation of cysts.Replace dairy products with non-dairy alternatives. My favorites are almond and cashew milk. I buy the unsweetened version and, if necessary, sweeten with a drop or two of liquid stevia.
3. What to Drink?
Often, women with PCOS will feel that drinking water doesn’t really quench their thirst. This is because water tends to just contribute to more dampness, and it does little to support processing of the dampness.
Because supporting the processing of dampness by the liver is our ultimate goal, consider adding lemon juice to your water. The acidity can help to penetrate some of that dampness and can support the liver.
4. Focus on “cutting through” the Dampness
All of the products in my PCOS Bundle are formulated to help invigorate your energy. This is done by encouraging your liver to process that “dampness” or “fogginess” (which on a more Western Medicine level, can support hormone balance). The following are all different “avenues” to get to the damp accumulation, and work on both the energetic and physical levels.
Botanical Medicinals (Herbs, Plant Medicine)
Other self-care items that should be on your shelf are liver-cleansing herbs like milk-thistle, dandelion and nettle leaf. The liver is the organ that helps to process the hormones and dampness that contribute to PCOS, so it’s imperative to support and detoxify your liver. In my PCOS bundle, I have two teas, the Detox and Fertile moon Tea, which contain those ingredients and many more. The Detox Tea is to be used for 7-10 days to really support invigorating the energy of the liver to cut through this dampness, and then the Fertile Moon is used after the Detox has ended to continue to energize and nourish the liver, and also contains herbs that support the uterus and ovaries to help regulate ovulation.
Fertility Womb Massage is important when you have PCOS, as you can manually move the energy that gets blocked, invigorating the flow of Qi and blood to your reproductive organs. I have free womb massage tutorials on my YouTube channel, so be sure to check them out. It’s ideal to perform the womb massage with my Womb Healing oils and castor oil, as they can both help to nourish the reproductive organs and energetically pull out some of that dampness. It’s normal and okay if you have diarrhea the first few times you perform the womb massage (this is the excess dampness leaving your body!)
Another important way that you can detoxify this dampness through your body is via the skin, your largest organ! The Mermaid Bath soak is another way to increase movement of Qi to cut through some of that dampness. The salts and the seaweed can grab onto that excess dampness as well, and the herbs added to the blend are all supportive of reproductive health.
You can absolutely use my products with common PCOS and fertility supplements, such as inositol (either form) and even if you’re using Metformin to balance blood sugar.
As far as the emotional energetic component of PCOS, I have found that there is a very common theme across many women I've worked with, which often has a lot to do with boundaries. We have both our own acquired patterns based on our own life and traumas, as well as the trauma of our ancestors, which we also hold in our wombs. I've worked with many women to explore and heal these patterns and explore this concept more, as well as share meditations and explorations on clearing our wombs and opening our bodies to receive ... in my 12-week online course to optimize fertility, The Fertile Mama Fertility Fix.
I have quite a few YouTube videos about PCOS, so be sure to check them out. In them, I discuss the overall imbalance in the body that tends to contribute to PCOS, and ways to support your body’s coming back into balance.