When it comes to hormone health, some of the biggest problems could be in plain sight in your bathroom, bedroom and kitchen. Lots of ingredients in your beauty and bathroom products contain chemicals that are known as endocrine disruptors. This means that they mimic, block or otherwise interfere with natural hormones in our bodies. Some of the hormones that can be affected include estrogen (a female sex hormone), androgen (a male sex hormone) and thyroid hormones. Endocrine disruptors can change the way that these type of hormones are produced or used in your body. For perimenopausal and post-menopausal women, this can lead to uncomfortable and even debilitating symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and even weight gain. Let’s take a look at some of the big culprits:
Personal care products: Shampoos, deodorants, moisturizers and makeup (to name but a few) can contain phthalates and parabens. Phthalates are considered hazardous waste and are regulated as pollutants in air and water. Banned in Europe, chemicals in the phthalate family are known to be endocrine disruptors and carcinogens, and linked to a number of heath problems. Choose products that don’t list phthalates or fragrance among the ingredients, or specify that they are phthalate-free.
Parabens are widely used as a preservative in all sorts of body care products and cosmetics to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. On ingredient lists, they appear as methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, isopropyl- and butylparaben. The FDA concluded that very low levels of parabens are a safe additive in cosmetic products, but this determination does not account for the constant exposure that we receive through dozens of products on a daily basis. Laboratory studies show that parabens mimic the hormone estrogen in the body, and in one 2004 study, parabens were found in the breast cancer tumors of 19 of 20 women examined. Look for products that say “paraben-free” right on the label.
You can check the safety of your personal care products here: SKINDEEP
Canned foods: Even your kitchen cupboards can be a dangerous place, with Bisphenol-A (BPA) found in many canned products. BPA is a known endocrine disruptor that can mimic estrogen and can alter immune function, increase your risk of obesity, encourage hyperactivity in children, and affect prostate health. It’s also linked to some cancers.
Non organic food: Pesticides can be hormone disrupting, as can herbicides. Eating organic foods as often as possible can cut the risk factor.
Plastic food containers and non-stick cookware: There’s yet another set of culprits in your kitchen in the form of plastic food containers and non-stick pans. Both of these can be sources of endocrine disruptors. Plastic containers can contain BPA, while non-stick cookware can expose you to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). The latter is linked to fertility problems, reproductive problems, developmental issues and thyroid problems.
Cleaning products: Cleaning products are a big culprit for chemicals that can disrupt hormones. Glycol ethers are banned in Europe because of fears around their safety, particularly for fertility and potential effects on unborn babies. You may see them on labels as 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME), for example.
You can check the safety of your cleaning products here: EWG.ORG
As a Certified Health and Hormone Coach, I’ve made it my mission to research products that are safe, non-toxic and non-endocrine disrupting for my Magical Ladies. You can find the products I’ve curated here: The Menopause Market
I add to the list frequently. So always check back!
Here’s to your Happy Hormones!
Cheers & Love! XO