I recently gave a talk to a group of women about hormone balance. This topic really seems to resonate with women of all ages - from puberty to menopause and beyond! Why do so many of us experience uncomfortable symptoms related to our fluctuating hormones? So many factors are involved in the complex interplay between hormones that goes on in our bodies every minute of every day. One important factor in this day and age that can affect our hormones are Xenoestrogens, and luckily with some simple lifestyle modifications this is one cause of hormone imbalance that we can take steps to avoid.
Estrogen is the main sex hormone in women and is essential to the menstrual cycle. Although estrogen exists in men as well as women, it is found in higher amounts in women, especially those capable of reproducing. Xenoestrogens are chemicals that can mimic the hormone estrogen and produce symptoms of hormone imbalance in the body such as breast cysts, ovarian/uterine cysts, female cancers, PMS...etc. Xeno literally means foreign. So xenoestrogens means foreign estrogens. Some of the 100,000 registered chemicals for use in the world have hormonal effects in addition to toxic and carcinogenic effects. It is critical to minimize our exposure to chemicals in order to prevent imbalances in our hormone health and our overall health!
Here is a list of tips to limit your exposure to xenoestrogens in your day to day life:
- Use glass or ceramics whenever possible to store food and water. Heat up your food using a glass or ceramic bowl covered with dish. When plastic is heated, it diffuses very rapidly into food.
- Eat organic produce, meat and dairy to avoid pesticides which build up in the food chain
- Use BPA (Bisphenol-A) free products, look for this hard plastic products such as drinking bottles, baby bottles...etc. Some canned foods are also lined with BPA containing plastic
- Use natural home care products, cleaners and detergents
- Avoid inhaling fumes from things like paints, solvents, exhaust...etc.
- Do not use anything on the skin with parabens or phenoxyethanol in them. This includes shampoo, soap, makeup, hand lotion, body lotion, and toothpaste.
- Use condoms with spermicide instead of using the birth control to avoid harmful synthetic estrogens (I often help my patients transition off of the pill)
- Drink filtered or reverse osmosis water
- Eat more whole foods vs. processed foods which can have artificial ingredients and chemical preservatives in them
Keep in mind that these tips don't just apply to women and hormone balance. Everyone can benefit from minimizing their exposure to chemicals which not only affect our health, but the health of our environment. As a naturopathic doctor, I frequently help my patients make these and other beneficial lifestyle changes that can improve overall health and reduce the risk of disease and cancer.
Doctor Jackie's Blog
A place for me to share my own experiences as an ND & Mom, things I find interesting in the world of wellness & medicine, share recipes, health tips and home/DIY self care ideas. Between 2012 & 2016 I got married, moved twice and had two kids! But I'm back and have SO much to share with you now. Becoming a mom has completely changed my world and my practice. Stay tuned for lots more from me :)