If a woman isn’t concerned about her hormones, she’s doing something wrong. Truthfully, hormones control everything we think and feel. Our emotions are regulated by these powerful chemicals. The reason we fall in love with the people we fall in love with is due to our hormones.
The reason we get annoyed with our partners before our periods is due to hormones. Even the reason we crave certain foods boils down to hormones.
When they aren’t in a healthy balance, hormones can wreak havoc on the entire body. We aren’t just talking about bouts of irritability and a few measly pimples. We’re talking about hair loss, thyroid dysfunction, infertility, cancer and more.
When our hormones are imbalanced and left to fester out of control, they trickle down and cause problems in nearly every organ system of the body.
Imbalanced hormones cause the thyroid to stop working as efficiently. As a result, thyroid hormones may also end up imbalanced. This can cause disorders like Grave’s disease.
Sometimes it’s more obvious culprits that disrupt the endocrine system and send hormones into a tizzy, such as birth control pills and disorders like endometriosis. Other times it’s lesser known things like the chemicals in products we use every day to clean our homes, get ready for work and sustain our health.
Switching to products that contain fewer harmful chemicals is a start, but the process of ridding our lives of endocrine disruptors and carcinogens is so vast that it can seem quite overwhelming. Most people don’t even know where to begin. Start here.
15 Bath Products
Just when you thought sulfates and hydration were all you had to worry about when it came to bathroom products, think again! Many shampoos, conditioners, bath soaps and lotions alike contain chemicals known as parabens.
These products aren’t bottom of the barrel either. Instead, parabens are commonly found in many top-notch, mainstream products. The fun doesn’t stop there, though. Parabens have also been found in food.
So, what’s the problem with parabens? They are estrogenic. That means whenever you introduce them, you are allowing them to compete for receptors with the natural estrogen that your body is producing. That means your body may produce too little or too much estrogen as a result.
Read: hormonal imbalance alert. Parabens have also been linked to the development of breast cancer. Mercola reports that 99 percent of breast cancer patients have parabens in their bodies.
Parabens aren’t just a problem for your hair, but your face, too. Make-up products commonly contain these chemicals, as well as a host of other chemicals that have been linked to all sorts of health problems. For example, benzophenone is in many cosmetics, like lipstick and nail polish.
It is used to protect the color of products from sunlight. However, it is linked to cancer. So is a chemical known as carbon black, which is used routinely in mascaras and eyeliners.
Butylated hydroxyanisole — or BHT of BHA for short — is in a vast array of all different types of makeup. It is used as a preservative in cosmetic products, foods and beverages. It is also used in package animal feed, too.
BHA can be toxic to the reproductive system and has been linked to not just cancer, but developmental disorders, too. It is so significantly risky that the European Union actually banned the use of it in cosmetics and foods, as did many other nations, but the United States still allows it.
13 Canned Foods
Sure, they’re economical and time-saving, but canned foods are a common endocrine disruptor that are in the homes of nearly every household at one point or another — if not regularly.
Bisphenol A, also known as BPA, is a chemical that is used to treat the linings of cans before food is placed into them. It all sounds innocent, but BPA is actually a synthetic estrogen that has been formally linked to the development of breast cancer.
Over time, BPA leaches off of cans and into the foods they were meant to protect from spoiling. BPA is also known to impair the immune system, decrease sperm count and escalate the growth of cancer cells in the prostate, which it is also known to contribute to the enlargement of.
If canned foods are that necessary to your lifestyle, it’s recommended that you can your own or buy foods that are canned in glass jars. These jars are not treated with BPA.
12 Plastic Products
The major problem with plastic products is the same as canned goods. BPA in many plastic products has been linked to cancer and hormonal issues. Although there has been a strong push to remove BPA from plastic manufacturing processes, much of it remains.
In addition, the safety of plastic has been called into question because BPA is not the only harmful chemical in plastic to boot.
Testing revealed that 70 percent of plastic contains chemicals that are estrogenic. Furthermore, when those same plastic products are exposed to practices of daily use, like dishwashing and microwaving, 95 percent of them leach said chemicals.
Another study noted that Americans had almost twice as much BPA in their bodies as Canadians did. There are three types of plastic known to leach harmful chemicals. Polycarbonate is what leaches BPA; polystyrene leaches styrene; and polyvinyl chloride can leach phthalates.
11 Eating Meat
A lot of people don’t like hearing that meat impacts their hormones, but that doesn’t make it any less true. The good news is that there are ways to manage your diet without compromising your health. When selecting meats, only the best in quality should be chosen. This means wild caught fish and organic free-range poultry and meats.
Industrial meats that are heavily processed are the hardest on the endocrine system. When meat is processed using chlorine or bromine, a chemical known as dioxin forms. This chemical builds up in the body and can lurk inside of women for years. It is most harmful to developing babies.
In the womb, exposure to dioxins can permanently affect sperm quality and count. They too impair the immune system, cause cancer and can damage the reproductive system. Eggs and butter can also potentially be tainted with dioxins.
10 Being Stressed
Stress is terrible for our health. We’ve been told this for years. So, it should come as no surprise that part of the reason it impairs our health is because of our hormones. Stress stimulates the body to produce a hormone known as cortisol.
When this hormone builds up, it can have a cascading effect throughout the body that hinders the production of other hormones. For example, cortisol actually limits progesterone activity. When it competes with progesterone for receptors, it allows estrogen to take the lead and a common condition known as estrogen dominance can occur.
When estrogen dominance is set into motion, the body is imbalanced. As a result, none of the systems within it are functioning at their most optimal levels. The immune system can shut down. People become at risk for autoimmune diseases.
Disorders of the menstrual cycle, like endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder, become more likely. In addition, the risk of breast cancer increases because there is too much estrogen in the body and not enough progesterone to balance it out.
All of this can occur just because of undue amounts of stress.
A healthy and functioning body is in hormonal balance. This balance is in part maintained by a protein known as sex hormone binding globulin. This protein does just what its name implies; it binds to estrogen and testosterone that are floating around the bloodstream.
So, when sex hormone binding globulin is low in supply, those sex hormones run amuck.
As estrogen and testosterone climb too high, they cause other hormones in the body to fluctuate, too. This can lead to difficulty getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. It can also cause mood swings, anxiety, and irritability.
Now that you understand what impact low sex hormone binding globulin has on the body, it is important to understand how it gets low in the first place. A common cause is in the majority of the food on supermarket shelves: sugar!
Ideally, we should consume no more than 10 to 12 teaspoons of sugar a day, but only around 30 percent of Americans over one year old eat that or less each day.
8 Carpets, Upholstery And Mattresses
Carpeting and upholstery has been doused in flame retardant chemicals for many years now, and there’s a lot of evidence that they can be blamed for contributing to everything from infertility to autism. In fact, some people actually develop sensitivities and blatant allergies to these chemicals.
The problem with VOCs (volatile organic compounds) is that they off gas into the air and cause health issues.
While there are organic mattresses and VOC-free upholstery options, they aren’t financially feasible for everyone. Crib mattresses in particular can be problematic. In recent years, there has been an increasing demand for organic crib mattresses in the United States.
These products, such as new carpeting, often leach chemicals such as benzene, perchloroethylene, toluene, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde. These chemicals are more than just irritants. For many people, estrogen dominance is induced because of exposure to VOCs.
7 Not Enough Sleep
We’ve all been there. We stay up so late that it’s been hours since we ate dinner and we just have to have something. A midnight raid of the refrigerator is the last thing someone who hasn’t slept enough needs. So why then is someone hungry when they stay up too late but not when they are asleep all night?
It’s because leptin — a hormone that typically suppresses the appetite — is reduced when someone hasn’t gotten enough hours of shuteye. As a result, ghrelin is also released, which ramps up hunger.
Sleep loss extends beyond the moment it is occurring, though. For instance, if you don’t sleep enough tonight, you’ll pay for it tomorrow, and it goes beyond just being tired all day. The lack of sleep from tonight impacts your cortisol levels tomorrow.
That cortisol can keep you up again and again, night after night. Of course, elevated cortisol also means estrogen is going to rise. Escalating estrogen means the risk of illness, cancer and more also rises. See the pattern yet?
6 Fluoride Treatments
Fluoride is an inorganic compound —a heavy metal in fact — that occurs naturally. That being said, there are plenty of natural products on the face of the Earth that aren’t safe for consumption. There’s a lot of controversy swarming around fluoride. Many people claim it isn’t effective.
The science says otherwise, though. Again and again, fluoride has been demonstrated to be effective at protecting the enamel on the surface of teeth.
That being said, just because it is effective doesn’t mean it’s not harmful on other fronts. Fluoride is a known endocrine disruptor. It interferes with the production and absorption of testosterone.
It also interferes with the thyroid and can predispose individuals who consume it to a greater likelihood of thyroid disease — a condition affecting some 20 million people in the United States.
In a study on rats of the concentrations of luteinizing hormone, progesterone, follicle stimulating hormone, estradiol, and testosterone, all areas saw a decline when fluoride was administered. In addition, ovarian and uterine damage was noted.
Genetically Modified Organisms. Most of us are familiar with them by now. Are they really harmful? In short, yes. The majority of soy and corn crops throughout the United States are now GMO crops. It is estimated around 93 percent of all soy is and 88 percent of corn.
Cotton, alfalfa, canola, papaya, and sugar beets are also GMO-heavy in the U.S. So, the farming industry has found a way to produce these foods faster for less cost — at least monetarily. You’re still paying a price when you consume GMO products.
Glyphosate — also known as Roundup — is a pesticide used widely across many of these crops. It has been linked to cancer and fertility problems. It has been shown to cause miscarriage. In studies on catfish, it was found this chemical caused reduced egg viability.
It also disrupted progesterone synthesis in mice, and caused reproductive issues in rats after they were exposed to it during puberty.
4 Dairy Products
Take a deep breath. If you’re worried I’m about to tell you ice cream is somehow making your hormones attack your body and that you might want to consider giving it up, well — you’re right. I know the struggle. Who doesn’t love ice cream?
I want it every day, but wanting it doesn’t negate the fact that it does indeed cause problems with our hormones. It’s time to stop making excuses because we are paying for those desserts with our health.
It’s not just ice cream but all dairy products. They contain estrogen and bovine growth hormone, and they have androgenic properties that cause your testosterone levels to increase, too. When estrogen and testosterone are elevated, it can cause infertility and even the growth of breasts in men and facial hair in women.
It may also contribute to bone loss and osteoporosis, as well as an increased risk of certain cancers.
3 A Negative Mindset
Did you know the hormone cortisol actually damages healthy cells in the body? It also causes inflammation. This is why individuals who work in high stress environments and those who grow up in stressful environments as a child are more likely to develop autoimmune diseases as adults.
Where mindset comes in is with negative thought patterns. Angry or emotional thoughts contribute to the production of more cortisol. As this hormone floods the body, it leads to further upset throughout the body. Hormone imbalance can lead to far bigger problems, like infertility and even suicidal ideation.
Yep, you can become so stressed out that your hormones lost control and cause you to feel extremely depressed. Cortisol hinders the immune system, too — which makes sense with it contributing to autoimmune illness. This means stressed out individuals will be more likely to become ill and less likely to get better.
2 Vitamin Deficiencies
When the body isn’t receiving optimal nutrition, it’s not surprising that things might go a little haywire. The hormones are no exception. When there is a shortage in supply of essential vitamins like vitamin D or B, the sex hormones are known for being depleted.
This can lead to more severe issues. Often, lab work will find that the hormones are low and doctors will recommend supplementation with synthetic hormones, which can wreak further havoc. All along, what is really needed are quality vitamins.
A vitamin D deficiency can cause low estrogen. From that, that imbalance causes everything from insomnia and lethargy to severe mood swings and chronic depression. It is thought that vitamin D deficiencies are a large culprit in the mechanisms of Seasonal Affective Disorder and other issues, such as some autoimmune diseases.
The same deficiency can also cause the parathyroid to stop secreting parathyroid hormones, which are responsible for regulating calcium. This breakdown in communication can also lead to substantial hormonal imbalances.
1 Caffeine Intake
Caffeine is a serious issue for women who are hoping to maintain balanced hormones — something we should all be concerned with frankly. The stimulant is known to affect insulin by increasing production of it while reducing sensitivity to it. What does this mean exactly?
It means your body stops recognizing insulin as it is produced which leads to overproduction of it. Is too much insulin a bad thing? Well, it can lead to insulin shock and is also quite hard on the liver. So, it isn’t exactly good for the body.
Caffeine also raises cortisol levels. In fact, some people often feel as though the stimulant effects of caffeine help them in times of stress, but really it helps in times of fatigue. Caffeine is shown to increase cortisol levels even during bouts of stress.
How caffeine impacts a woman may also vary among races. In one study, two cups of coffee lowered estrogen levels in white women while the same amount was shown to raise estrogen in Black and Asian ladies.