Ever notice how so many people seem to struggle with hormones?
Whether it be heavy periods, infertility, low testosterone, or severe acne, it’s becoming more and more common all the time. But why? Although the answer isn’t completely straightforward, a big piece of the puzzle is endocrine disruptors!
If endocrine disruptors are new to you, think of them as little chemicals that play dress-up and fool your body into thinking they’re real hormones. But with endocrine disruptors, you only get the negative side of hormones and none of the benefits. These chemicals can cause abnormal periods, early menarche, birth defects, thyroid and adrenal issues, cancer, and even lower IQ, among many other things.
Many studies today show that the average person is exposed to as many as 500 chemicals every day–most of these in your own home!
In today’s world, it’s nearly impossible to avoid all of the endocrine disruptors out there. The more important part to focus on is minimizing your exposure as much as possible to keep your “toxin bucket” from overflowing and causing issues. For women, many of these chemicals come in the form of personal care products. Skincare, makeup, shampoos, lotions, perfumes, and feminine products are big sources of trouble unless you’re intentionally choosing safer products.
The skin and vaginal tissue are highly absorptive–of COURSE you’ll find these chemicals in the human body if we’re lathering them on, day after day. In fact, the problem is so ubiquitous that they will even find endocrine disrupting chemicals in fetal cord blood! (Pregnant gals, you should be especially careful to protect your little one!)
Along with personal care products, watch out for anything with fragrance–these are a huge source of phthalates–sorry all you perfume and candle lovers!
Cleaning chemicals, grocery store receipts, and canned foods are also big sources of trouble. Not to mention plastic–drinking out of plastic, reheating in plastic or eating hot food out of plastic is a big no-go. (Please don’t use those plastic crockpot liners–we may as well just add ‘plastic’ to your recipe and mix it right in with the food!) Flame retardants are another big source of trouble.
Companies tend to add these to kids’ clothes—buy organic cotton when you can! If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the things you’re trying to avoid, don’t panic. You’re not alone. Again, it’s not about avoiding every chemical out there–you’ll go crazy trying.
However, if you’re someone who has a strong family history of cancer, currently dealing with chronic disease or hormone-related issues, it’s something you should probably take pretty seriously. I’ve had several patients tell me that after switching out just their menstrual products, their cramps completely disappeared. (It really does matter!)
For everyone, minimizing our exposure is key. Choose glass or silicone for your food and drinks. Switch out your menstrual products for organic, dye-free, fragrance free, or a silicone menstrual cup. Swap out your cleaning products for those that contain only safe, natural ingredients. And as a general rule, avoid plastic whenever you can.
Don’t know where to start? I like the EWG’s Skin Deep Database: https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/. You can download the app or use the website and manually enter or scan a product and it’ll give you a safety score for that product and tell you what is in it that makes it safe (or not).
We also frequently share our favorite safer swaps on our social media pages, so take a look over there as well! If nothing else, take a look at product ingredients–if it says “fragrance” or has a long list of things you can’t pronounce, you probably shouldn’t be using it.
Now that you know better, do better! Clean up your standards–and your health.