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Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) & PCOS

What are Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs)?

Have you heard of the phrase endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) before?

These chemicals are pretty widespread in our environment. This is bad news, because they can imitate the hormones our body produces, like estrogen. That’s why they’re called “endocrine disrupting” – they mess with our hormones.

One example of an EDC is BPA (bisphenol A), commonly found in plastics bottles, containers, food packaging, and even dental materials. Although BPA-free plastics are pretty common now, the replacement for BPA (BPS) doesn’t have a very clean record either (PMID: 27472198). 
 
BPA is referred to as the “environmental estrogen” (PMID:23808741). And exposure to BPA is linked to increased risk for a long list of diseases, including:
  • Breast cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Testicular cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Reproductive disorders. 

A study that looked at urine concentrations of BPA in children, adolescents, and adults found that 92.6% of the people in the study (n=2,517) had BPA in their urine. Children had the highest concentrations, followed by adolescents, and then adults (PMID: 15811827).

So, what about EDCs & PCOS?

There’s a good amount of research done in vitro (or in a test tube) and on animals that show EDCs directly contribute to the reproductive and metabolic symptoms that are collectively recognized as PCOS. Other studies have shown that adolescent and adult PCOS women have high levels of BPA, compared to reproductively healthy women. There’s also a positive correlation between high BPA concentrations and hyperandrogenemia that is also common in PCOS (PMID:26825073). Hyperandrogenemia is when the body makes too much androgens, like testosterone, DHEA, etc. This causes symptoms like adult acne, hirsutism (male-pattern hair growth), and male-pattern hair loss in women.
 

What can you do about your exposure to BPA/BPS?

You could start with avoiding the use of plastic containers to store warm/hot foods, heat up foods, and definitely switch to glass containers to carry your lunch and water. Another great tip is to opt for fresh produce over canned as many can liners contain BPS/BPA. 
 

I help women with PCOS feel confident in their bodies and have regular, painless periods without crazy, restrictive diets that leave them feeling hungry and exhausted. If you’re ready to transform your life and feel confident in your body, let’s talk!  Schedule a FREE 30-minute call here.

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