Oestrogen (or estrogen) is a major hormone in the reproductive system of a woman and is found in small amounts in men too. It also plays an important role in various physical and neurological functions of the body. But too much of this hormone can cause many health problems.
Too much of oestrogen in comparison to progesterone, [also a female hormone, produced by the ovaries during the release of a matured egg] causes a condition known as ‘oestrogen dominance’. High oestrogen levels, along with depleting progesterone or lack of progesterone can lead to oestrogen dominance. Balancing both hormones is the key to good health.
In a woman’s body, the ovaries are responsible for producing oestrogen. However, all around us, there are many oestrogen mimickers. These substances, although chemically different from natural oestrogen, have an oestrogenic effect on us and can disrupt our endocrine balance. These can cause hormonal imbalances in men too.
Oestrogen mimickers are found in various daily use products and are also known as endocrine disrupters.
Keep away from these common oestrogen mimickers
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is one of the commonest oestrogen mimicker found abundantly around us. It is present in printed shopping receipts, air tickets, lining of canned food, plastic bottles, plastic containers and cutlery and contact lenses. Prolonged exposure to BPA is linked to breast cancer, early puberty and infertility.
BPA exposure can be avoided by using glass or stainless-steel bottles and containers instead of plastic. Do not ask for receipts at the stores if not required. Prepare fresh meals, avoid boxed ones and always avoid plastic cutlery. Be wary of products that read “BPA free”, as its substitute BPS is equally harmful.
Oral contraceptives—taken by lot of women to avoid conception or for treating acne and menstrual disturbances—change the oestrogen-progesterone balance in the body. They are also oestrogen mimickers, which disrupt hormonal balance. Long term use of contraceptives can lead to oestrogen dominance in the body. Consider using another contraceptive method that does not come with so many health hazards.
Health problems due to oestrogen dominance
- Thyroid disorders
- Brain fog
- Insomnia or racing brain while sleeping
- Sluggish metabolism
- Weight gain
- Mood swings
- Affects stress hormone (cortisol)
- Fertility issues in both men and women.
Hormones are a soup, so one hormone imbalance, can affect the entire cascade, leading to various health problems.
Triclosan is used in anti-bacterial soaps, hand washes, mouthwashes, moisturisers, make-up foundations, first aid creams and toothpastes. Triclosan an oestrogen mimicker too and poses a risk of hormonal problems, allergies and cancer. Always read the label before you buy any products, even though it may be recommended by friends or even your physician. Triclosan has been re-marketed as Biofresh, Microban, Irgasan, Lexol, Ster-Zac, and Cloxifenolum. Try to use products made with natural ingredients, or better still, try to make them at home.
These are chemical compounds used to increase the flexibility, transparency, longevity and durability of various plastic products. They are found in the packaging of children’s toys, paints, cosmetics, deodorants, shampoos, nail polishes, household cleaning products, food packaging, hairsprays, detergents, wrappers, and shower curtains. When looking for recycled product signage, look for numbers 1, 2, 5 and not number 3 & 7 as the prior ones do not contain phthalates.
Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) used in non-stick coating, inside of microwave popcorn bags and fast food containers are linked to decreased sperm count in men, kidney disease, thyroid issues and high cholesterol. Using stainless steel vessels or ceramic vessels for cooking and eating home cooked food is a simple solution to avoid PFCs.
It’s not possible to avoid every harmful thing in our environment but it’s essential to be informed and avoid as much as we can. Finally, the liver plays a major role in the detoxification of the toxins entering our body from various places. So take care of your liver. Do a liver detox once every six months to live a healthy life.
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