One of the biggest problems that women face is the exposure to too much estrogen. Excess estrogen in the body wreaks havoc in so many ways, and throws off a woman’s hormonal balance. But how do we get exposed to so much estrogen? Many of us are unaware of the dangers of xenoestrogens.
Hundreds of chemicals in our environment are classified as estrogen mimickers, or xenoestrogens. These chemicals when ingested into the body act like human estrogen. They are highly cancer causing and hormone disrupting. Our bodies (especially woman) become imbalanced when estrogen levels are too high. Some of the conditions associated with excessive estrogen levels are breast cancer, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, premature sexual development, uterine fibroids, heavy periods, infertility, and more. They also affect men! Men can suffer from excess estrogen, just as us woman can. The list below can help determine our exposure to these toxic xenoestrogens.
Sources Of Xenoestrogens
- Commercial Cosmetics
- including makeup products, soap, shampoo, conditioner, cleansers, perfume, lotion, deodorant, and any personal care products
- unless any of these products are natural or organic, there’s a good chance that they contain xenoestrogens such as parabens, phthalates, sulphates, parfum, and more
2. Dark Coloured Hair Dyes
- all conventional hair dyes contain these harsh chemicals
- the darker the hair dye, the greater the chemical exposure
3. Nail Polish
- most conventional nail polishes will contain chemicals such as tolulene or phthalate
- nail polish removers are also a culprit
4. Dry Cleaned Products
- if you get your clothes cleaned at the dry cleaner you’re being exposed to xenoestrogens through your skin
- dry cleaners use harsh chemicals to clean the clothing
5. Bleached Sanitary Products
- regular sanitary products such as tampons and pads are bleached and contain chemicals such as rayon
- they also contain pesticides and herbicides if the cotton was not grown organically
6. Non-Organic Foods
- foods not grown organically contain pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides which are endocrine disrupting
- some produce items can contain over 50 different pesticides on them!
- everybody knows the dangers of smoking, but most don’t realize the affect it has on our hormones
- many of the over 4000 chemicals in cigarettes are toxic xenoestrogens
8. Animal Fat, Dairy, and Meat
- farm animals are often given hormones to help them grow faster
- for example, cows that are raised for beef are given estrogen and testosterone
- when we eat these foods, these hormones get into our bodies as well
- a mother cow’s natural hormones are also in dairy milk (as the hormones are meant for their babies to grow)
- oral contraceptives contain hormones as well
- they usually contain estrogen and/or progesterone
- the hops in alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are xenoestrogens
- many drugs, aside from oral contraceptives, are sources of estrogen
- ulcer medication, tranquilizing drugs, and anti-depressants can be some of the worst culprits
- studies on Flagyl for yeast infections show an increase in mammary tumors in rats
- BPA in plastic is very estrogenic
- common plastics that cause issues are Tupperware containers, water bottles, and saran wrap
- heated plastics have a worse effect
- most canned good also contain BPA in the lining of the cans, and this can leach into our food
How To Avoid Xenoestrogen Exposure
So what can we do about our exposure to these common everyday items?
Avoid taking birth control pills. Look into natural birth control methods such as the FAM method or the LadyComp.
Exercise regularly and keep a healthy body weight. At least 30 minutes, 3 times per week. Exercising reduces xenoestrogens because xenoestrogens are stored in our fat cells.
Avoid taking prescription antidepressants. Use natural methods for battling depression such as supplementation, healthy eating, energy healing techniques such as Reiki, and other methods
Avoid dying your hair with dark colours. Try using lighter colours and always use natural hair dyes such as henna.
Use natural and organic cosmetics, makeup, beauty products, and personal care products. It’s usually too extreme to go out and buy an entire new supply of all of your beauty products. I recommend that as soon as you finish a product, replace it with a similar product that is all natural. It’s best to buy from your local health food store in order to ensure good quality and minimal chemical exposure.
Avoid dry cleaned clothes. Or try to find a dry cleaner in your area that uses all natural cleaning products.
Use organic pads and tampons, or a menstrual cup. You can buy organically grown cotton tampons that are completely chemical free at your local health food store, or in the natural section of your grocery store. Menstrual cups are another amazing alternative that is also very cost effective and great for the environment.
Use natural nail polish that is tolulene and phthalate free. The best would be to buy a completely natural or organic nail polish. Even if its tolulene and phthalate free, if it’s a conventional brand it likely contains other chemicals.
Eat as much organic foods as possible. Or buy organic from the dirty dozen list. Studies show that buying the 12 foods that are most pesticide ladden as organic, can reduce your exposure to pesticides by up to 80%!
Eat a diet low in animal products including meat, dairy, and eggs. Try to eat as many vegetarian and vegan meals as possible. The recipe section on this site contains delicious and healthy recipes to help balance hormones.
Try to reduce stress. Stress increases cortisol which increases belly fat. Xenoestrogens are stored in fat cells.
Avoid smoking cigarettes. Do whatever you can to quit smoking cigarettes. Find help to quit with a natural health practitioner such as a naturopathic doctor.
Avoid consuming alcohol. Avoid or minimize alcohol consumption, especially beer.
Eat a healthy diet filled with cruciferous vegetables and phytoestrogens. Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, collards, kale, bok choy, chard, and arugula are fantastic foods to detoxify the body of estrogens.
Overall, do your best to live the healthiest lifestyle you can in order to reduce your risk of estrogen related issues. Your body will thank you 🙂
To contact me personally with any questions, feedback, or for nutrition advice see my contact page. It is my passion to help guide and inspire you on your path to wellness.
- A Smart Woman’s Guide To Hormones by Lorna Vanderhaeghe, M.S
- Ecoholic Body by Adria Vassil