As people with periods, we know that hormonal ebbs and flows are normal and natural. But our hormones can be thrown out of balance from any change to our internal and external environments.
While we all know physical and mental stress can disrupt our hormone levels, there are other, extremely common, yet no less harmful hormone-disrupting chemicals we come in contact with every single day that affect our periods, inflammation, moods, sleep, and fertility. And you might not even realize it.
These toxins, or endocrine disrupting chemicals aka EDCs are ubiquitous in our environments, found in everything from inside our shampoo bottle to the lining of canned food. See, our external environment is full of foreign chemicals that are ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin, and while chemicals themselves aren't inherently bad, there are some that can wreak havoc on our hormones.
‘Toxins are everywhere nowadays,” functional nutritionist Torie Borrelli Hall (she/her) explains. “This is something not a lot of people are talking about. However, they are a huge contributor to the high rates of infertility and are damaging to our overall health.”
In fact, it’s posited that around 95 percent of us have endocrine disrupting chemicals accumulated in our bodies. According to a growing number of research studies, those who struggle to conceive have higher levels of EDCs, indicating that the higher the levels of toxin disrupting chemicals, the lower the chance of becoming pregnant, even among couples who use assisted reproductive technologies, like IVF. Chronic inflammation, pelvic pain, unusual periods, certain types of cancer, and early onset menopause are also associated with high levels of EDCs.
How do these chemical toxins negatively impact your hormones? Endocrine disrupting chemicals trick your body into thinking there are more hormones being produced than there actually are. Your body might respond by either shutting down or ramping up its natural production of hormones to maintain homeostasis.
All of this may sound scary, but so did buying lube for the first time. Knowledge is power, people! Identifying these toxic chemicals is the first step in protecting ourselves against future complications.
Whether you’re trying to conceive and boost your fertility, or just done with dealing with painful periods, chronic pelvic pain, or perimenopause, let’s explore the ways to optimize hormone health.
Common endocrine disrupting chemicals include
Many endocrine disrupting chemicals are hidden deep in product formulas as invisible contaminants during the production process. But they're not just in your skin and body care. EDCs are also found in household cleaners, cooking utensils, plastic take out containers, most processed and packaged foods, even receipts.
BPAs in plastic
Unless a brand uses certified organic ingredients, glyphosate, pesticides, and herbicides are likely present. At Momotaro Apotheca, we only use certified organic ingredients grown in nature and never use sulfates, parabens, phthalates, artificial fragrance, alcohol, or other filler ingredients that may be harmful to hormone or skin health. Learn more about our commitment to sustainability and sourcing non-toxic ingredients.
How to Protect Yourself Against Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
While the best way to reduce the damage caused by excessive exposure to EDCs is to avoid them altogether, there are a few simple swaps and additions you can make to reduce your exposure to help balance your hormones.
“We must do everything we can to limit [hormone disrupting chemicals] and also detox from the ones we have already been exposed to,” offers Borrelli Hall. “Toxic chemicals are passed from the mother to the child through the umbilical cord and breast milk causing pre-polluted babies,” so we must take care to eliminate as many toxic chemicals when trying to conceive and especially while pregnant, but also throughout all life’s stages to maintain homeostasis for smooth transitions from puberty to periods to peri/menopause.
Shop local and eat organic when possible to avoid glyphosate, pesticides, and herbicides. Knowing your food supply chais one of the most powerful things you can do to support your health and your community.
Read food labels to avoid unnecessary additives like food dyes and preservatives. EWG.org is a reliable resource for common food brands.
Stay properly hydrated. Drink natural spring water (or at least avoid drinking or showering in chlorinated, fluoridated municipal water) and eat structured water to get proper amounts of electrolytes and minerals.
NSF-Certified Water Filter
According to the National Science Foundation (NSF), Brita’s LonglastFilter removes 97% of chlorine and 99% of lead. The best part is it fits any basic Brita pitcher.
Move regularly for proper blood flow. Take a walk, play with your dog, do a yoga flow, dance in your underwear, just move.
Work up a sweat, preferably through cardiovascular exercise, or with the help of a sauna or steam bath if accessible.
For Between Sweat Sessions
If you don’t have time to shower after a sweat, no problem! Wipe away excess sweat and spritz Hydrosol all over. Its natural antiseptic properties help rebalance sebum production and acts as an antimicrobial on skin to help prevent irritation and body breakouts.
Get outside and walk barefoot in the grass, dirt, or sand if possible. Not only does fresh air do the body good, adequate (not excessive!) sun exposure can help regulate your circadian rhythm for better sleep and improved mood. Go to the park or a local greenspace, open a window, or look at naturescapes if you don’t have access to the outdoors.
Read ingredient labels on cleaning supplies and personal care products, which often include synthetic fragrances, and hormone disrupting chemicals like sulfates, phthalates, and parabens.
Many commercial moisturizers contain filler ingredients that can further irritate your skin or disrupt your hormones. A generous layer of this luxurious blend of organic cold pressed Argan, Jojoba, and Sweet Almond oils and steam distilled essential oils packs in a healthy helping of vitamins, minerals, and nourishing fatty acids, without the fake fragrance or irritants from pesticides or herbicides.
Prioritize rest. Sleep is a given (6-8 hours is ideal for most), but sometimes rest can be active — laughing with a friend, knitting, baking, creating art — anything that brings you to the present and helps take your mind off of ruminating on the past or fretting about the future.
Destress & Digest
Smoothly spiced and sweet like honey, Tincture only tastes like it’s bad for you. This botanical blend delivers full-spectrum Hemp for mental stress alongside organic Ginger and Raspberry to support digestive issues like cramps, nausea, and bloating.
Do your best. An all or nothing approach never works. Incorporating small daily habits into routines can help ease you into a happier, healthier lifestyle. Practice mindfulness, journal, meditate, read a book or magazine, try a new yoga flow, pick up a hobby you enjoyed as a kid...the possibilities are truly endless. Just remember everyone is different and it may take time to find what works for you.
If the whole journaling and meditation exercise feels like too much right now, focus on something more tangible. Like going for a ten minute walk, or try seed snacking — ahem, seed cycling — to help balance your hormones. The body works synergistically, and focusing on a single aspect can shift you in the right direction.
Protect & Promote a Healthy Microbiome
Our clinically proven Probiotic is deliberately formulated to protect, promote, and maintain a healthy gut, immune system, and vaginal microbiome.
How to Reduce Your Exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
Avoid factory farmed and commercial meat, seafood, dairy and packaged foods. Shop grass-fed and finished meat and dairy, pasture raised poultry and eggs, and wild caught fish — with BPA free tin cans, please! Learning the different levels of animal
Avoid excess sugar, alcohol, and highly processed packaged foods. These highly palatable foods may offer an initial dopamine rush, but also pack a punch of preservatives, food dyes, and other additives that only extend the shelf life, but do nothing for your own. Excess sugar and alcohol also literally feeds yeast and the bad bacteria in your gut and vaginal tract, making you crave more in a cruel feedback loop.
Ditch the (soft) plastic, which is a BPA bomb. These factory chemicals leach into porous foods and drinks. Invest in a stainless steel or glass water bottle, food storage, and recycle those take out food containers!
Avoid vegetable oils and industrial seed oils, which are highly processed high in Omega 6s, which in excess lead to chronic inflammation. Instead, opt for unrefined organic coconut oil or organic olive oil, and grass fed butter if you don’t avoid animal products.
Avoid doom scrolling. We already spend much of our time staring at screens, and an endless negative news cycle only exacerbates stress. Dontcha know stress isn’t good for you?
Throw out paper receipts (and opt for online receipts instead). The shiny surface covering many sales receipts contains BPA, so avoid handling these receipts (especially with wet fingers), and throw out all those crumpled copies in your wallet or at the bottom of your bag. The easiest switch for you and the planet.
Protect Your Hands
Studies have found that hand sanitizer can dramatically decrease exposure, although use it only when necessary and opt to wash your hands with soap and water when accessible.
Our Fertility Group by New York based Yinova Fertility Center offers a personalized opportunity for you to explore your fertility process with a supportive community. You’ll have the chance to share, receive individual care, and learn new ways to enhance your fertility health.
Fertility Out Loud provides resources and guidance to help you take realistic action and find a fertility specialist in your area.
YourFertility.Orgis an Australia based resource dedicated to helping you and your partner understand how to to improve your chance of having a baby
Environmental Working Group offers easy to understand consumer guides to help you navigate the grocery store and drugstore aisles.
SkinSafe is your “GPS for sensitive skin.” You can search products by brand, individual ingredients, and allergen-free markers so that you can make smarter decisions with your skin, body, and hair care.
PLASTICS, EDCs & HEALTH is a downloadable PDF guide educating the public and policymakers alike on endocrine disrupting chemicals and plastics
Momotaro Apotheca and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on Momotaro Apotheca is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition.