When dealing with hormonal issues like PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, or infertility, it’s normal to feel like your hormones will never be normal again. In fact, regulating hormones now is harder than ever (speaking from experience). We are constantly surrounded by hormone disruptors called xenoestrogens.
Xenoestrogens are molecules that look like estrogen to our bodies and our cells. Some of these affect our bodies by stimulating the production of more estrogen. Other types of these hormone disruptors pretend to be the estrogen produced by the body.
In simpler terms, they can worsen conditions with PMS symptoms.
How exactly, you ask? PMS and other related conditions becomes worse as a result of high levels of estrogen, or too much estrogen in relation to progesterone (called estrogen dominance).
Sources of xenoestrogens
These far too common hormone disruptors can be grouped into 3 main categories: plastics, parabens, and pesticides. The 3 P’s make it easy to remember! However, keep in mind that this isn’t a complete list of xenoestrogens.
Look around your house right now. How much plastic do you see? It’s in food storage containers, the lining of food cans, water bottles, cosmetic bottles, the bags for your produce… Grocery store meats and many vegetables are pre-packaged in plastic. The softer the plastic, the more of these hormone disruptors you’re picking up (I’m looking at you, saran wrap!).
BPA has been the focus of many studies, linking it back to cancer, hormonal and reproductive issues in males and females, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and the list goes on. As a result, many companies have started producing items made of BPA-free plastics. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but these plastics aren’t any better, unfortunately.
Next, think about the products you use on your skin and around the house. Look at your soaps, shampoos, makeup, face creams, bathroom cleaners, window cleaners, and so on. Unless you’re buying really clean brands or making these from scratch, you’re likely exposing yourself to parabens. These are preservatives for the products that are being absorbed into your body from your skin.
Some parabens can be recognized on ingredient lists because they end in -paraben. However, there are variations that make it harder to recognize. If you’re unsure of how clean your products are, check out the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database.
Finally, we have pesticides. You probably know that if you eat conventional fruits and vegetables, you’re ingesting all kinds of pesticides. You can find out which vegetables and fruits are the most contaminated by having a look at the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list.
Most people know that they can reduce their pesticide intake by buying organic produce. But did you know that tap water is also loaded with pesticides? Distilled water and reverse osmosis are the two safest ways to avoid hormone disruptors in water. However, ensure that the water you drink has been remineralized.
How do you avoid xenoestrogens? Tell us in the comments!