The medical definition of xenoestrogen is "Any of the by-products of industrial or chemical processing that have estrogenlike effects" (mediLexicon.com). So obviously, a xenoestrogen is something that comes from a man-made process and looks like an estrogen hormone so your body tries to use it as such. So why should you be concerned about them?
As a woman with PCOS, you already have a hormone imbalance, usually higher levels of estrogen and testosterone and a lower level of progesterone. Hormones work like a lock and key, an estrogen locks into another estrogen, and so on. Your body makes enough so that they work together and (hopefully) there's no excess. When a xenoestrogen is ingested, and since it looks like an estrogen, it binds itself to other estrogens causing the natural estrogen that your body created to float free and spike your estrogen levels further with no where else to go. This doesn't just disrupt your reproductive organs. Estrogen is known to target other areas in your body - your uterus, breast tissues, bone, heart, liver and brain.
How are you exposed to xenoestrogens anyways? They actually exist in our food supply as well as up to 70,000 other synthetic materials. Here's some examples:
- Plastic (bottles, plastic wrap, plastic containers)
- Non-organic meats and dairy products (some livestock are given injections that contain xenoestrogens)
- Non-organic fruits & veggies (pesticides & herbicides)
- Birth Control Pills (synthetic estrogen)
- Sunscreens & lotions that contain benzophenone-3, homosalate, 4-methyl-benzlidene camphor, octyl-methoxycinnamate and octyl-dimethyl-PABA
- Cosmetics and powders that contain Phthalates
- Chemical-laden detergents and soaps
Here's some helpful tips on how to easily begin cutting out products that contain xenoestrogens in your home:
- Purchase organic foods whenever possible
- Make your own natural laundry detergent and other cleaners, or buy organic/natural cleaners
- Use glass containers for left-overs, never plastic
- Switch to using glass water bottles rather than plastic
- Never drink water from a plastic container that has been warmed in the sun or frozen
- Never refill a plastic water bottle
- Read labels on your cosmetics and personal products such as lotions and sunscreens. Your skin soaks up whatever you put on it! If you see the ingredient Methyl Paraben, don't use it!
- Wear gloves when you clean with any chemicals
All Purpose Cleaner - Add 15 drops of tea tree oil per 1 quart of water in a spray bottle.
Homemade Laundry Detergent (powder)
Homemade Laundry Detergent (liquid)
Foaming Hand Soap
Feel free to comment with any other ways that you have reduced xenoestrogens in your life. Enjoy!
Written by: Crystal Warren, Representative for Power Up for PCOS which provides support to women with PCOS through educational Power Up Groups, building connections with other PCOS women, calendar of upcoming PCOS events, professional referrals and reviews, PCOS store, and other specialized events to raise money for PCOS research. To find our more, visit http://www.powerupforpcos.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 810-545-PCOS (7267)
Power Up for PCOS - emPowering Women to Manage PCOS
*Please note that I am not a medical professional. I am not qualified to give out any medical advice. I am a woman with PCOS who is sharing my personal experiences in this blog and I advise you to consult a professional.*