Xenophobia is the fear of strangers and other cultures. So what are xenoestrogens and why are they important to health and women’s halth in particular. Estrogen is a vital hormone for all humans, but especially important for women because it is one of the main mediators of the menstrual cycle, in that during a woman’s cycle estrogen levels fluctuate and peak.
The real danger is that contact with sources of estrogen that originate from outside the body can lead to what is called estrogen dominance. Increased and prolonged estrogen dominance over its counterpart progesterone can lead to a host of abnormalities in a female body. Some of the diseases that occur more frequently include worsening PMS symptoms (headaches, cramps, weight gain, water retention, chronic fatigue, loss of sex drive, mood swings), increased chances of breast cancer, fibroids, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, irregular menstrual periods, increased risk of stroke and heart disease, and gall bladder and hypothyroid problems.
Hormones and antibiotics unnaturally introduced into our livestock affects meat and diary products. Xenoestrogens are chemical components of many of the household products we use to maintain our daily lifestyle. Everything from fabric softener to plastic cups to the hormone replacement therapy prescribed by your OBGYN. In the same way that peanut allergies are a result of our society coming into increased contact with peanut related products (think plastics, oils) increased contact with estrogen-like compounds can muck up our inner hormonal balance.
Here’s a list of some common xenoestrogens in our environment:
- Commercially-raised, non-organic meats such as beef, chicken, and pork
- Commercial dairy products including milk, butter, cheese, and ice cream – Use only organic products that do not contain bovine growth hormone
- Laundry detergents, dryer sheets and fabric softeners
- Avoid Prempro, DES, Premarin, Cimetidine (Tagamet), Marijuana, and Birth Control Pills.
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- Progesterone creams made with paraben preservatives
- Soy products and ground flaxseed
- Minimize coffee and caffeine
- Avoid reheating foods in plastic or styrofoam containers
- Avoid drinking out of plastic cups and containers
- Avoid chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body:
- Sunscreens that contain 4-Methlybenzylidene camphor (4-MBC) and oxybenzone
- Paraben containing products: shampoos, deodorants, cosmetics, skin moisturizers, shaving gels, toothpaste, etc.
- Phthalate containing products: soft plastics, shampoos, hair sprays, deodorants, nail polish, air fresheners, etc.
- Triclosan containing products: antibacterial soaps, toothpaste, mouthwashes, etc.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulphate containing products: soaps, laundry detergent, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, etc.
- Butylated hydroxyanisole / BHA containing products: food preservative.
- Pesticides, Herbacides
- Do not heat food or water with plastic in the microwave. Do not drink hot liquids in foam styrofoam cups or receptacles. Use glass or ceramics whenever possible to store food and water. Heat up your food using a glass or ceramic bowl covered with paper.
- Change your laundry detergent because it cannot be fully washed from the clothes and can be absorbed through the skin. Do NOT use dryer sheets or fabric softener.
- Do not use anything on the skin with parabens or phenoxyethanol in them. This includes shampoo, soap, makeup, hand lotion, body lotion, and toothpaste. Oral substances are 90% filtered by the liver. Skin-absorbed substances are 100% absorbed by the body, thus, a skin dose is 10 times an oral dose.
- Avoid coffee if you have estrogen dominance. Avoid decaf coffee. No caffeine. No tea. No colas. Caffeine increases estradiol levels by 70%!
- No sunflower oil, no safflower oil, no cottonseed oil, no canola oil. (Guess that leaves olive oil).
- Avoid shampoos that are “rich in hormones” and have estrogen added to them.
- Use cosmetics with minerals or grapefruit seed extract as a preservative.
- Use natural pest control not pesticides.
- Buy hormone free meats to eat.
- Buy “Organic” produce, produce grown without pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizer or hormones.