Today I’ll be talking about the major endocrine disruptors that can cause your period to either disappear or go seriously out of whack. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and can produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune effects in both humans and wildlife. The endocrine system is made up of all the body’s different hormones and regulates all biological process in the body from birth to old age.
- Eating low fat or not much fat. Your body needs various types of fat to create hormones including saturated fat and cholesterol. They are fundamental for hormone production and keep your inflammation low and boost your metabolism. E.g. coconut oil, avocado, grass fed ghee, wild caught salmon, egg yolks
- You are eating too many omega 6 fats, due to your highly processed diet. The use of vegetable oils in foods has meant that the omega 6 fat to omega 3 fat ratio has skyrocketed and this causes inflammation which can halt the reproductive system. Avoid vegetable oils at all costs and you can read more this here. The ratio in your diet should be about 1:1 which can be achieved through eating a wholefoods diet. One type of omega 6 fat that is healthy is called Gamma Linoleic Acid (GLA) and is found in hemp seeds and can support healthy progesterone levels
- Poor gut health. This is usually caused from a diet high in inflammatory foods like grains, dairy, sugar, alcohol, coffee etc and having a leaky gut can cause autoimmune reactions like thyroid disorders, also affecting your hormones and endocrine system. The best foods to consume are bone broth, kefir, fermented veggies and high fibre foods like vegetables and sprouted seeds and nuts. Repairing your gut lining will in turn balance your hormones as literally everything is controlled by the gut.
- Kitchen, beauty and skin care products. Chemicals that interfere with the production, release, transport, metabolism and elimination of the body’s natural hormones, can occur through air, water, soil, food and consumer items. These toxic chemicals can actually mimic hormones in our body, that can cause the overproduction or under production of our real hormones. Any conventional body care product is made with potentially harmful chemicals. Check the label for the following:
- DBP, DEKP, SLS, SLES, Methyl, proply, butyl, ethyl, DEWA, TEA, MEA, petrolatum
- Over exercising. This causes your body to possibly enter into a state of ‘flight or flight’ and as a result your body thinks that you are running from a saber tooth tiger like in the cavemen days. Thus it will shut down your reproductive system and divert energy into running away from the stressor…after all it’s clearly not a safe environment for a baby. Try yoga, pilates, swimming, powerwalking or any movement that you enjoy doing that isn’t too stressful on the body. Stressful forms of exercise like running actually creates free radicals and thus inflammation in the body.
- A lack of sleep. This can be the one of the worst things for hormonal balance because your hormones work on a schedule! Cortisol is regulated at midnight and therefore people who go to bed late don’t actually get a break from their flight or flight response. A lack of sleep will increase your cortisol levels, putting your body into a constant state of stress and thus your reproductive system will turn off to protect yourself from this ‘stressor’. Ideally you should get to bed by 10pm and wake up at a regular time
- Caffeine has a chemical that affects your central nervous system and raises your heart rate, increases alertness and changes the way you produce your hormones. Caffeine can increase your cortisol levels and adrenaline, putting your body into a state of flight or flight, and turning off your reproductive system and digestive system. Decaf coffee (1 a day), Green tea, black tea with some lemon (1 a day) or herbal teas are a great substitute.
- Alcohol. Alcohol impacts your ability for your liver to detoxify and get rid of unwanted hormones. Too much alcohol can contribute to estrogen dominance and cancers. The liver is vital for balancing hormones and having too many liver loaders (toxins, sugar, alcohol, coffee) will interfere with a normal elimination process. Load up on Brassica vegetables (cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussel sprouts, broccoli) to help detox the liver. Broccoli sprouts are particularly amazing for liver detoxifying.
- Birth control pills. So many women today use the birth control pill to mask an underlying hormonal issue. Things like PMS, cramps, clotting, no period, acne, endometriosis, a crazy heavy period, headaches, etc are all signs from your body that your hormones aren’t balanced. Your period is designed to come and go and anything else is a warning from your body that you need to support it through food, lifestyle or supplements. Birth control doesn’t cure any of these conditions, it just masks them and they will one day catch up with you. The longer your stay on the pill, the longer it will take to fix the issue when you come off the pill. It took me a year to fix my issue when I came off it!
- Cultural conditioning. Somehow over the years, women have gone from being goddesses, confident, powerful women who men bowed down to, to now being these scary creatures where we are shameful of our bodies, hate what we see in the mirror and don’t know the true essence of our femininity. We have been conditioned to think that our period is shameful and disgusting and so we disconnect from our bodies, and this toxic mind-body conversation tips us in a downward direction, affecting our hormonal balance. Instead, start to embrace your femininity. Read up on the power of the female body. I recommend the books Womancode, Pussy and The Female Brain
- Our modern diet and the desire for ‘quick fix’ solutions. The exposure to literally every fad diet we can think of can lead to your body consuming too few nutrients, too much sugar, too many carbs, too little fat and too much alcohol and caffeine. In addition, many food like products contains antibiotics, added hormones, insecticides and more – all which can harm your hormonal balance. Organic products don’t have these. Although some say ‘an apple is an apple’, the difference is that conventionally grown apples contain pesticides, organophosphates and other farming chemicals. Now you don’t need to go 100% organic, but I suggest that when possible you go for organic, or at least for the ‘dirty dozen’
- Stress. I’ve mentioned stress in the body a number of times. But I’m also referring to mental stress. Constantly running around and pleasing everyone else can leave you depleted and running on an empty tank. Your body will always be in ‘fight or flight’ and your reproductive system may turn off because it deems the world an unsafe place. It is important that you try to take at least 5 minutes out of your day for yourself. Nourish your body in other ways that food – have a bath, dance around the kitchen in your undies, read a book, meditate, do some yoga, watch the sunset.
I know that this is a long list but this doesn’t mean you need to do this all at once!!! Everyone is different so it is important to have a range of options that you can try. But stressing about the endocrine disruptors also won’t help…and you know why by now 😉