We briefly spoke about xenoestrogens and endocrine-disrupting chemicals when we introduced you to our collaboration with Aleph Beauty, the conscious makeup brand that’s gorgeously flattering and free of any of these toxins. [link below]
The terms are big words and they’re a big issue for women going through peri and post-menopause because if you struggle with symptoms they could be one of the reasons why.
Did you know? The average woman is exposed to hundreds of these chemicals every single day?
Makeup, personal care products such as soap and shampoo, and cleaners for our homes are often loaded with xenoestrogens which can create hormonal imbalance in our body.
Let’s delve into it further but first a very abbreviated science lesson.
What Is The Endocrine System?
The endocrine system is our body’s glandular network that makes hormones, and hormones are chemical messengers that allow all of our body’s cells to talk to each other. The endocrine system is a little bit like the conductor of a physiological symphony that controls things like our moods, our organs, and our metabolism.
Some of the major glands involved may sound familiar to you: the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, the pineal gland (I talked about its role in sleep here), the brain, the thyroid, the adrenals, the pancreas, and the ovaries.
When the endocrine system receives a specific signal from the brain, it produces hormones that enter the blood and circulate through the system to these glands orchestrating our main body functions.
The pituitary gland is the master. One of its roles is to manage our estrogen levels, and, of course, the ovaries are key to us as well. However, every single one of the glands mentioned above also contributes to whether our peri/menopausal experience is highly symptomatic.
What Are Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals?
Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDC’s) are chemicals in our environment, personal care products and cleaners that interfere with the production and interaction of hormones thereby disrupting our entire endocrine system. For our purposes, they can make the symptoms of peri and post-menopause worse but they can also lead to many health problems such as autoimmune disease. Many people believe they are the culprits behind other diseases such as cancer too.
What’s The Difference Between EDC’s, Xenoestrogens and Toxins?
They’re all one. Xenoestrogens are EDC’s which are toxins. They have the ability to mimic our body’s natural hormones without giving us any of the benefits and affect our adrenals, thyroid and ovaries and the hormones these produce such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
Endocrine Disruptors and Estrogen Dominance
Of particular note here is EDC’s ability to mimic estrogen leading to excess estrogen or estrogen dominance. This is very common during perimenopause when estrogen often fluctuates a lot.
When we’re estrogen dominant it can be behind things like painful periods, heavy periods, sore breasts, acne may rear its head again and digestive issues such as gas, bloating, constipation and gallbladder problems can present themselves.
Some common signs of hormonal imbalance
Toxins can play havoc with our hormones and cause imbalances that may result in all manner of unwelcome maladies such as:
- Weight gain
- Sensitivity towards hot and cold
- Facial puffiness
- Weight loss
- Muscle weakness
- Joint problems
- Increased hunger
- Low libido
- Purple or pink stretch marks
What Can You Do?
- Choose natural personal care products and cleaners
- Get to know your ingredients
- Make your own – one of the best household cleaners I know is a mixture of white vinegar, water and a citrus essential oil – it makes the house smell beautiful
- Visit the EWG (Environmental Working Group) and download their free Dirty Dozen List Of Endocrine Disruptors here
- Detox your hormones (talk to us about that here).
*These can also be due to other medical problems so please ensure you see a doctor.
The Most Common Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non-profit organisation devoted to empowering the global population to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. They do phenomenal work and put out some very handy research and information. They also have an arm called Skin Deep which helps you decipher the best personal care products.
Download the Dirty Dozen List of Endocrine Disruptors here.
Visit Skin Deep here