5 Chemicals That Are Messing With Your Hormones

Let's face it, chemicals are everywhere, and they're part of our daily lives, from the clothing we wear to the plastics we use and even the pesticides used to grow our food.

The trouble is, when these chemicals enter our bodies, they have the ability to disrupt our hormones.

Think period problems, weight gain, PCOS, endometriosis, and infertility to name a few.

Our menstrual cycles are very sensitive to certain chemicals. They are known as endocrine disrupting chemicals because they may cause hormone imbalance.

How do they do this, you ask?

Well, when endocrine disrupting chemicals enter our bodies, they can either mimic or block our own hormones.

This can lead to symptoms of hormone imbalance like weight gain, irregular periods, acne, painful periods, and more.

It can be challenging to step out of the chemical soup we find ourselves in, but hopefully I can help you make sense of all this.

The truth is, avoiding chemicals altogether is impossible (unless you plan on living the rest of your life in a plastic-free bubble).

So, I’ve compiled a list of chemicals that are worth ditching. This is by no means a complete list (there are hundreds of these things).

But looking out for these chemicals is a good place to start, so let's take a closer look at what to look for, where these chemicals are hiding out, and what you can do about it!

Here are the top 5 chemicals that can mess with your hormones:

Photo by mali maeder

BPA: Bisphenol A (BPA) is an environmental estrogen (a.k.a xenoestrogen) that can negatively impact your endocrine system (the system in charge of all your hormones) and lead to major hormone disorders, and it's even been linked to cancer.

BPA acts like estrogen in the body and can contribute to weight gain, PMS symptoms, heavy periods and breast pain.

These are all symptoms of estrogen dominance, which occurs when estrogen levels are too high or when the effect of estrogen overpowers the effect of progesterone.

BPA is found in plastics, the plastic coating of canned items, and in up to 40% of retail thermal receipt paper.

Here's what you can do to reduce your exposure to BPA:

- Avoid heating plastic in the microwave

- Reduce canned foods

- Use glass, stainless steel or porcelain containers, especially for hot food or liquids

- Limit foods packaged in plastic

BPA-free containers may be safer; however, some may contain other chemicals like BPS, which may be more harmful than BPA.

Have you taken the hormone imbalance quiz?

If you think your symptoms may be related to hormone imbalance, this self-assessment quiz can help you understand your symptoms and give you insights into your hormone health. Take the FREE HORMONE IMBALANCE QUIS here.

Dioxins: Dioxins form during industrial processes when chlorine and bromine are burned in the presence of carbon and oxygen.

Dioxins are highly toxic and can cause cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, interfere with immune system function, and disrupt hormone function.

They are found around the world in the environment and tend to accumulate in the food chain, mainly in the fatty tissue of animals.

More than 90% of human exposure is through food, mainly meat and dairy products, fish, and shellfish.

While it’s nearly impossible to avoid dioxin exposure, you can reduce your risk by consuming fewer animal products.

The Environmental Working Group says that products including meat, fish, milk, eggs, and butter are most likely to be contaminated with dioxins.

Photo by energepic.com

Mercury: Mercury is a naturally occurring toxic heavy metal.

Research shows that mercury can affect the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and thyroid gland. These are all critical for the production and function of our hormones, which is why mercury exposure can lead to hormone imbalance.

Mercury is found in fish, especially large predatory fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish.

To reduce your exposure to mercury, avoid consuming these types of fish and opt for smaller fish such as salmon, sardines, and trout.

Photo by Sarah Chai

Phthalates: Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastics.

They are also used in personal care products such as perfumes, lotions, and shampoos.

Phthalates are known to disrupt the endocrine system and can lead to hormone imbalance.

They are found in many consumer products, including vinyl flooring, shower curtains, and plastic toys.

To reduce your exposure to phthalates, opt for natural personal care products and avoid using plastic products whenever possible.

Photo by Pixabay

Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs): PFCs are a group of chemicals used to make non-stick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics, and waterproof clothing.

They are also used in food packaging and firefighting foam.

PFCs are known to disrupt the endocrine system, and they are found in non-stick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics, and waterproof clothing and makeup.

To reduce your exposure to PFCs, opt for stainless steel or cast iron cookware, natural fabrics, and avoid using non-stick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics, and waterproof makeup.

I hope this information helps you make informed decisions about the products you use and the foods you eat.

Remember, small changes can make a big difference in reducing your exposure to these harmful chemicals.

If you're looking for a step-by-step plan for balancing your hormones, including recipes, herbal supplements and lifestyle tips, then check out the 28-Day Hormone Imbalance Reset Guide, complete with tips for each phase of your menstrual cycle.

Hey, I'm Dr Carmen…

I'm an integrative doctor, health coach, and medical cannabis clinician helping you fix your period problems naturally.

I am passionate about all things women's health and holistic healing, and I'm so glad that you're here.

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© Dr. Carmen James 2023

Dr. Carmen James is a licensed medical doctor in South Africa. The information shared on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any conditions. Please speak to your healthcare provider before making any dietary or lifestyle changes.