I wish I had known this 20 years ago… although I probably wouldn’t have listened. My hormones have been really messed up of late and it is mostly because of things I have done over the last twenty or so years. You could be doing the same things. And what is even scarier for me – I don’t want my daughters to make the same mistakes.
In last month’s post I went into detail (some said too much detail!) about a woman’s monthly cycle. I did this to try and paint a picture about what is ‘normal’ (and let me say ‘normal’ covers a pretty wide range). In this post we’re going to look at the things that can throw our hormones out of balance. When our hormones are out of balance we can experience things like heavy bleeding, pain, cysts, fibroids and even worse. So, let’s look at the top things that can cause hormonal imbalance.
Oestrogen (Oestriol, Oestrone and Oestradiol) hormones cause cells to grow. This is often why when women develop certain cancers you may hear the term ‘oestrogren receptive cancer’. This basically means that the oestrogen is feeding that particular cancer. An imbalance in oestrogen levels may cause weight gain, fibrous breast tissue, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, fluid retention, acne and hot flushes.
Oestrogen has a key which unlocks certain ‘doors’ (receptor sites) on our cells in order to get in and feed them. Our cells recognise the substance as oestrogen because it has the right key and they let it in. However, there are other substances, which we are exposed to more and more these days, that also have the same key (similar chemical makeup). Unfortunately our cells wrongly recognise them as oestrogen, so they let them in. They are also responsible for cell growth and are referred to as Xenoestrogens.
The ‘xeno’ in front of the oestrogren means fake or mimic. These chemicals are synthetic and we absorb them into our bodies through what we eat, drink and put on our skin. As you’ll see, they are literally all around us in our modern world. The main sources of xenoestrogens include:
You’ll find xenoestrogens in the plastic water bottles we drink out of, the plastic containers we store our food in, the plastic we wrap our sandwiches in, the plastic that they line tin cans and aluminium cans with, as well as long-life milk containers. It’s the plastic we use to heat things in the microwave, the pods that we put in our coffee machines, baby’s bottles, children’s toys and the list goes on. And no! BPA (bisphenol A) free doesn’t mean you aren’t still absorbing plastic. BPA is just the nastiest chemical found so far in plastic.
A recent study, carried out on more than 250 water bottles sourced from 11 brands in nine different countries, revealed that microplastic contamination was nearly universal. It was found in more than 90% of the samples. So, what do we do??? The best thing we can do is switch to glass, stainless steel, cloth and paper to replace our plastics.
Most personal care products
Products such as shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser, makeup, body wash, bubble bath, hand soap, tooth paste, nail polish, deodorant etc. These products contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as parabens, phthalates and triclosan. You only have to think about all the products you have already put onto your skin today to realise how much of this we are exposed to. Multiply this by 365 days a year and the amount of years you have been using these products to see how much your body has absorbed.
Plus, if we’re stressed we aren’t able to flush out nasty chemicals as our liver can be overloaded with cortisol and adrenaline. So instead, our body wraps these potentially harmful chemicals in fat and stores them away to deal with later, when it is not so overloaded. However, that day doesn’t seem to come and the fat deposits in our bodies get bigger and bigger.
I worry most about my daughters and the amount of harmful chemicals they will be exposed to over their life times, so any little thing I can change or eliminate has got to be a good thing. As I always say – ,It’s not what you do once in a while but what you do every day that counts. That’s why I choose Young Living for my skin, hair and body care products.
These also contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals. We are breathing these in when we clean, we absorb them when we soak in our nice clean bath or stand barefoot in our freshly-bleached shower. Not only that, but our children’s food absorbs them when we put it on their nice clean highchair tray. Their hands and feet absorb them when they crawl on our mopped floors. We breathe in the air fresheners we plug in or spray around our house. We walk barefoot on our deodorised carpets and even absorb these chemicals from our clothes. Especially the new ones which are sprayed with chemicals so they remain crinkle-free in the shops.
Scary? Definitely! I’m even scaring myself as I write this! The good news is that there are alternatives. It is definitely worth looking at natural cleaning options for your home like the Thieves range.
Foods that have been sprayed with pesticides or have been grown on farms using herbicides contain xenoestrogens. These chemicals wash down into water ways and even affect marine life such as fish and dolphins. But when we consume traces of them in the foods we eat, they affect us too. In recent years, a lot of people switched to soy products as an alternative to dairy. However, it turned out that they had been given the wrong information. In reality, most soy products such as milk, cheese, yoghurt, ice cream and even tofu are actually xenoestrogens. This is due to the fermentation process.
Making your own or buying other types of milks such as nut milks might be another option. Are there some organic fruit and veggies you could look at buying? Or could you ensure that you wash your fruit and veggies before you eat them?
Yep, birth control such as the pill, Depo Provera, etc. and synthetic Hormone Replacement Therapy contain synthetic oestrogen. It may be time to look at natural bio-identical hormone replacement therapy or a different method of contraception.
Top 10 Ways to Reduce Xenoestrogens in Your Life
The thing is, all of these xenoestrogens add up. Together with stress, emotional issues, diet and lifestyle choices they can throw our hormones out of balance. As I said, the Good News is that there are definitely some positive changes you can make. Here are my top 10:
- Talk to your Doctor or other health professional about your hormones and possibly getting your levels checked with a blood or saliva test. This way you’ll know if there is an issue.
- Increase your intake of good fats such as coconut, olive oil, seeds, nuts, avocado etc. as our bodies need the good cholesterol in these to make hormones.
- Looking After Yourself – this includes exercising for 20 minutes at least 3 times a week. It also means avoiding stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol, increasing your water intake and getting 8 hours of beauty sleep each night to allow your body to reset itself. Plus, eating a healthy diet full of fresh organic foods, getting some fresh air and sunshine.
- Switch to glass, stainless steel, paper and cloth instead of plastic.
- Use natural plant based personal care products such as shampoos, conditioners, moisturisers, soaps etc.
- Switch to natural mineral and plant based makeup.
- Ditch your toxic cleaning products and switch to natural cleaning products.
- Buy as many organic foods as you can afford and wash everything. I wash my fruits and vegetables using the Thieves Household Cleaner.
- Cut out soy products – yes that includes soy lattes and cappuccinos.
- Talk to your health professional about your choicesfor contraceptives and bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.
If you would like a free copy of Dr John Lee’s Hormone Balance Checklist, click the link.