Weight and Fertility

(Here is a question from a lady on my e-mail list who wanted to remain anonymous.  She has issues with being underweight and wants to know how that affects fertility.  See her story and questions as well as my response to her.)


Question:  I have had no periods for four years but am otherwise healthy. I have had scans on my ovaries that are normal, and three blood tests suggesting that my hormones are in normal range.

The endocrine faculty at the hospital believe that my lack of periods is due to being underweight by half a stone. However I have always been very slim, other than a short spell at university.

My periods stopped when I stopped taking the pill, at my heaviest weight, and in the last four years I have only had three periods in total. I have had a lot of stress over the years and believe this to be the main cause of my problems, rather than my weight.

My doctor and the hospital are pushing me to start taking the pill again, but I don’t think this will help the probelem, just cover it up. I did agree to take some progesterone on two occasions for a week at a time, but even on the highest dose nothing happened. It only made me feel very anxious.

I am concerend that no periods for such a long time will impact on my fertility. I am 29 years old and would very much like to have children.

Does a lack of periods mean you cant get pregnant? How can I kick start menstruation? I have tried nutritional means but is there a more drastic approach?


My Answer:

Thank you for your question.

The short answer is that your weight and not having a period does matter when trying to conceive, and I do believe that your weight could be contributing to your lack of periods.

Being underweight or overweight does impact fertility. However, I don’t know what your doctor knows and only know what I’ve researched on my own.

You must have periods in order to get pregnant. Your menstrual period is the process that brings the egg out of your ovary to be fertilized. The bleeding signifies the end of the process and the beginning of the next cycle.

You’re right to not want to take birth control pills. That would only cover up the issue. There’s a reason you’re not menstruating, but I’m not sure what it is.

I don’t know of a quick fix for your problem. All I can advise is that you get to your optimal weight for your height and that you seek to be as healthy as possible.

The stress you mentioned could definitely be causing your problems as well and could be the factor in your being underweight also. Do all you can to minimize this stress and find relaxation time for yourself every day.

See more about stress here.

This may not be the answer you’re looking for, but a drastic change in your body could take some time and patience on your part.

If anyone else has any feedback, they can post what has helped them.

Please keep us all updated!

3 thoughts on “Weight and Fertility

  1. Hi girls. I’m at the opposite of the scale – having my periods like clockwork every month, but I think being overweight has definiately influenced my fertility in a negative way. I have decided to look after myself better – eating healthy wholesome foods, getting some mild exercise everyday and resting and relaxing more. Because I sure know how to stress over the littlest of things. But none of that! Thanks for your encouraging posts and updates. Will put all your tips to use and hopefully I will soon be able to say to hubby dearest: honey we are pregnant!
    Much love and loads of blessings

  2. Hi

    Mine is a similar problem too. I am almost 30 and have had irregular periods all through. My mom and sisters had irregular periods too and had healthy kids without abt issues.

    My problem is how do I know the ovulation time as sometimes I have periods for 10 days straight with a combination of heavy and light. Took pills to regularize them on doctor’s supervision and ended up with extra weight I can’t get off. I want to get pregnant so stopped the pills.
    Please let me know if you have any suggestions for me?

    Thanks in advance!!!

  3. Certainly one needs to be at her optimum health to get pregnant and to support the growing fetus later on. However, I wonder why I can´t get pregnant. I consider myself very healthy. I don´t get sick, no headaches, nothing. I eat healthy diet and live a healthy lifestyle. My blood test exams and imaging results are all good. The only reason that pulls me down is my age. I got married when I was 38, tried IVF a year after and another one the following year. Now I´m running 41 and still working on it.

    I´ve been vegetarian for 7years, tried vegan diet for 3 months, went back to eating fish and then back to eating beef and chicken. Recently we´ve started taking green smoothie very morning. I´m constantly changing my diet and see what works best for me.

    For everyone out there with fertility concerns, I hope we can find answers to our questions and be blessed to have what we are wishing for!

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