Xenoestrogens are chemical compounds that imitate estrogen, and occur in both synthetic and natural forms. The better-known types of xenoestrogen are industrial compounds that include PCBs, BPA and phthalates.
BPA, also known as Bisphenol-A, is a chemical used in plastics and canned food linings. There are a slew of health problems that are caused by BPA exposure. We have been told that BPA exposure can cause heart disease, intestinal damage, organ damage, diabetes and metabolic syndrome, an increased risk of obesity and behavioural changes in children. But we are mainly going to discuss how xenoestrogen exposure can also have a significant, negative impact on sexual reproduction and fertility for both men and women.
Within the female body, natural estrogen works to stimulate cell division in the uterine lining, breast tissue and ovaries. The issue with xenoestrogen exposure as it relates to this natural process is that xenoestrogens mimic natural estrogen, which can result in abnormal tissue growth that can eventually lead to the formation of ovarian cysts, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, fibrocystic breast disease, infertility and possibly cancer.
Xenoestrogens lower female reproductive hormone levels. Xenoestrogen exposure can also stunt the growth and function of female antral follicles, which are the egg cells directly involved in the ovulation process. If that wasn’t enough, xenoestrogens can also cause miscarriages and various birth defects that include the luteal phase defect and abnormally developed sex organs. Some studies suggest that xenoestrogen may be majorly to blame for the rate of infertility in industrialized countries. Furthermore, a recent environmental study found that many animal species living near xenoestrogen-contaminated waters were unable to reproduce successfully.
Studies have shown strong correlations between xenoestrogen exposure and low sperm counts, low testosterone, weight gain, low sex drive, blood sugar imbalance, heart conditions, impotence, mood swings, depression, infertility and early andropause in men. Andropause is the male equivalent to menopause and affect men between the ages of 40 to 55.
We’ve all been told to avoid the use of plastics when heating food, especially in regards to avoiding BPA exposure. But unfortunately the threat doesn’t end there. Take this for example: Synthetic estrogen and progestin are found in birth control pills and hormone replacement therapies. The excess, unused estrogen and progestin are flushed through the body and processed as waste through the urinary tract. In turn, this urine is flushed down toilets, recycled into lakes, rivers and water treatment plants … eventually returning to our taps from which we drink. Drinking water is treated with chlorine to eliminate bacteria like E. coli, but many harmful chemicals, synthetic estrogen (xenoestrogens) included, are NOT removed.
So what can be done to reduce your exposure and enhance your chances of conceiving? Here are some helpful tips to offset synthetic estrogen dominance and detoxify your body of harmful contaminants: