Personal experience is often a driver of passion. If you’ve read my personal story (early on in my blog), you’ll already know that it included a very early diagnosis of endometriosis. I was diagnosed when I was a teen… way back in the ’80’s. Back then…. literally a generation ago, endometriosis wasn’t yet a common women’s health concern. It was still considered more of an anomaly…. enough so that it took some digging and even some traveling to doctors who knew how to both identify and treat it to the best of their ability at the time.
Wow! Things have certainly changed over the last 35+ years…. It is now estimated that approximately 11% of women have this chronic inflammatory disorder. It is also being held accountable for up to 1/3 of fertility disorders. There is much debate over “how” endometriosis comes to happen in a woman’s body, but there is no debate on the fact that its destructiveness is magnified by something called ‘estrogen dominance’.
While estrogen is a valuable and necessary hormone within our female bodies…. “back in the day”, our fore’mothers’ only had to concern themselves with the estrogen their own body produced and perhaps, to a much lesser extent, something called phytoestrogens (a small select group of plants that could add estrogen to what the body already had on board).
Roughly 70 years ago, a subset of synthetic chemicals began popping up in foods, personal care products, packaging (lining of cans and plastics), medications, household cleaners (and dryer sheets!), and…… heavens!!… even disposable menstrual products (Talk about feeding the beast!). For many years, there appeared to be little cause for alarm…. until unusual goings on began showing up in the wild world of amphibians…. and male frogs began turning into female frogs inexplicably in the wild. The first people to sit up and take notice were wildlife biologists. It was the canary in the coal mine revisited (Spoiler Alert: It didn’t end well for the canary in that scenario either).
Scientists slowly began sitting up and taking notice as endocrine disruption expanded from wildlife to humans. 170+ of these chemicals are now known as “Xenoestrogens”, and they are the harbingers of hormone imbalance in both men and women. They mimic the function of natural estrogen, thus creating biological hormonal mayhem the likes of which include PMS, heavy periods, PCOS, breast cancer, fibroids, ‘man boobs’, etc….. and endometriosis. Estrogen dominance is of epidemic proportions in developed, ‘advanced’, industrialized countries: Too much of a good thing, can be…well, too much.
All that factory farm raised meat and dairy tainted with growth hormones? yep
(go local, and find your hormone free, grass fed, humanely raised animals… ie: support your local farmer and rancher)
Pesticide containing food products? yep
(eat organic whenever possible)
Tap water? yep
(drink filtered water!)
Shampoos, lotions, soaps, toothpaste, cosmetics… other personal care products containing ingredients like parabens and phenoxyethanol chemical compounds widely used with abandon by the cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies? yep
(please… for the love of your children and yourself… use natural products!)
Heating plastics or plastic wrap in the microwave, or simply storing food in soft plastic or plastic wrap? Or use bottled water or canned food that incorporates BPA into the packaging process? yep yep yep!
(use glass or stainless whenever possible. aside from the obvious landfill issues, plastic contains phthalates, a pretty nasty one on the ‘no no’ list)
See the verbiage ‘artificial color or flavor’ on a favorite packaged food ingredient list? Back away from the item. Seriously.
(Approximately 31 substances may be added to processed foods for the purpose of artificially sweetening, preserving, coloring, or enhancing texture and/or flavor and are guilty offenders)
Dryer Sheets? Totally loaded. Obscenely so.
(wool dryer balls…. message me, I’ll score you some, teach you how to make them simply, or use 1/2 cup of baking soda in your rinse cycle!)
Ahhhhh! Veering back on the bunny trail we started on. Endometriosis. I suspect you are starting to get my drift here. No wonder it’s become a common problem, right?
Endometriosis is very estrogen dependent… it doesn’t grow and thrive in an estrogen poor environment. Conversely, it can spread like bunnies on fertility drugs when exposed to bountiful amounts of estrogen regardless of the source. Common western medicine more often than not will use chemical means to suppress naturally occurring estrogen in our bodies to slow the dragon’s path. Rarely do they sit down and talk to the woman (or girl child) about the ramifications of xenoestrogen’s effects on their body and how to minimize exposure to them.
While endometriosis (or something like it) was identified in the late 1800’s, it was a rare creature…. not unlike dragons. In fact, the incidence of endometriosis in less developed countries today is significantly less than in those countries where plastic water bottle toting, microwaved plastic wrapped food noshing, dryer sheet using people live. People like myself… whom, as a kiddo and young adult did the same thing… before I knew better.
Endometriosis is technically not an autoimmune disease, but having it creates a hospitable environment for autoimmune disorders to set up housekeeping alongside it. Chronic inflammation within the body will do that. Misery loves company.
Friends, please don’t wait until something goes wrong to clean up your life. Truly. Life is too short, and it’s so much easier to minimize risk factors than it is to mediate and do damage control.
Life is short! Keep it clean ;)!
Love and hugs, Liz