Growing up is a natural process of hormonal change that develops over several stages of your life. It’s not easy dealing with hormones: from puberty to menopause, your hormones are sending chemical signals that affect the way your cells and organs operate. Although hormonal change is a very normal affair, it may cause you at times to feel abnormal. For many women and men, it’s a breezy jog through the park, but for others, it’s a grueling sprint up a mountainside at every turn of the hormonal bend.
But not all hormone change is necessarily natural or good. Unusual hormonal imbalance can be caused by a variety of factors from chemicals to health issues. It can be hard to distinguish natural versus unnatural hormonal change, but here are a few symptoms of an irregular hormonal imbalance: persistent weight gain; belly fat and loss of muscle mass; low libido; fatigue, anxiety, and depression; insomnia and poor sleep patterns; sweating; digestion problems; cravings.
Watch this video for more on hormone balancing:
You may not know it, but there are hundreds of endocrine (hormone) disruptors around your house. These endocrine disrupting compounds are found in everyday household chemicals and products, and overtime they can cause serious problems for our hormonal systems. These substances interfere with the synthesis, secretion, binding, action, and elimination of regular hormonal patterns. Their presence will affect the development of your behavior, fertility, and metabolism. Simply put, they’re no good. Let’s take a look at the most prevalent hormone disruptors.
Six words: lowered sperm count and shrunken testicles. If you’re not concerned about this, then your partner sure will be. Glycol ethers are found in all sorts of materials, including solvents in paints, household cleaning products, and cosmetics. Prolonged exposure, such as living under the same roof with them, has been proven to cause defective damage to your reproduction organs, and can cause potential health problems for your children, like asthma and allergies.
What to do
Avoid products that include the ingredients 2-butozyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME). These chemicals are pervasive in certain cleaning products, so it’s up to you to do your own research when shopping around. The majority of colorless liquids, like printing inks, dyes, paints, and detergents, contain some degree of glycol ethers.
Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs)
Perflourinated chemicals are in all non-stick cookware. Non-stick pots and pans make your cleaning job a lot quicker, but as the Tortoise and the Hare once taught us, quick and good are not always the same thing. PFCs leach from the non-stick cookware into our food and then our body. Perfluorochemicals are present in the majority of us, which is a problem since they’re resistant to biodegradation. Research says that PFCs are linked to decreased sperm count, lower birth weight, kidney disease, thyroid disease, and high cholesterol.
What to do
Stop using those non-stick pots and pans. Life sucks sometimes, and food was made to stick to what it cooks on. Don’t risk exposure to chemical toxins in order to save a few minutes of your time doing dishes. Invest in some new cookware that has no toxic side effects, like cast-iron, stainless steel, or glass materials. Keep the grease on your elbow and out of your body!
Bisphenol A (BPA)
Bisphenol A structurally and functionally imitates the natural hormone 17B-estradiol by binding to and activating the same estrogen receptors as the natural hormones. Inorganic activation of your estrogen receptors causes a series of abnormal estrogen effects, such as altering your glucose and lipid metabolism. More broadly, BPA can cause breast cancer, reproductive complications, obesity, puberty abnormalities, and heart disease. The earlier in a development stage someone is exposed to BPAs, the greater the hormonal side effects it will produce.
What to do
BPA is a common material used in manufacturing clear, tough consumer products, like water bottles, sports equipment, CDs, and DVD. Epoxy resins containing BPA are also used to line water pipes and in creating thermal paper for sales receipts. BPA products can be disastrous for young children, and have therefore been banned in the European Union and Canada for baby bottles. The best precautionary measure you can take is to research the products you use. In general, avoid plastic water bottles, eat fresh food instead of canned food, say no to receipts, avoid any plastics marked with PC (polycarbonate), and keep your baby products completely organic.
You may think it’s an exaggeration when people say overusing health care products will kill you, but it’s the truth. There’s actually a hormonal signal in your body that instructs cells in our bodies to die, and it’s a completely natural occurrence for several billion cells to die and regenerate each day. But phthalates are causing unnatural and unwanted “death signals” to testicular cells, killing them earlier than normal and reducing your sperm count. The hormonal changes can cause low sperm count, less mobile sperm, birth defects, obesity, diabetes, and thyroid abnormalities.
What to do
Phthalates are chemicals that make synthetic products softer and flexible, and they’re often used in plastics. So, avoid most plastics as a general rule of thumb. Avoid plastic food containers and plastic wrap since they’re directly exposed to the food you’re eating – what goes in your food, goes in your body. Banned by the EU, phthalates are commonly found in preservatives in hair spray, nail polish, fragrances, and so on. Be judicious while shopping and look for cosmetic and healthcare products that only contain oils and other natural ingredients. For instance, looks for natural coconut oils instead of synthetic petroleum based lotions.
Your hormonal balance is very vulnerable to the chemicals that you surround yourself. Hormones have the ability to make your life excessively difficult, so make it easy on yourself by surrounding yourself with non-toxic, organic materials and products.