Thoughts on Better Aging

5 Everyday Items that Could Trigger Early Menopause

May 25th, 2015

Environmental exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, especially phthalates, has been linked to early menopause.

It’s no secret that the average American is exposed to countless chemicals in their daily life. While organizations like the EPA and the FDA do try to protect us against high levels of exposure to dangerous chemicals, little is being done to assess or control the impact of a lifetime of low-level exposure to chemicals in our diet and environment.

One notable exception is a study recently published in the journal PLOS ONE. In this study, researchers analyzed levels of 111 chemicals in the bodies of women from all different regions of the country. They found that those women with the highest concentration of these chemicals in their bodies started menopause 2 to 4 years earlier than the women with the lowest concentration of chemicals. As the lead study author pointed out, this association shows that exposure to environmental toxins has a bigger impact on triggering early menopause than smoking, which is a widely accepted risk factor for early menopause.

It is important to point out that this study only shows a link between chemical buildup in the body and early menopause. It does not necessarily demonstrate a cause and effect relationship, tell us exactly how environmental chemicals could contribute to early menopause, or show whether one specific chemical or group of chemicals is responsible for the effect.

Nonetheless, we do know that certain chemicals that were included in the study can act as endocrine disruptors. In other words, they cause changes in the body’s natural production and use of hormones. One especially common endocrine disruptor is phthalates.

What Are Phthalates?

Pthalates are a group of chemicals commonly used to create soft, flexible plastics and to dissolve fragrances in various scented products. According to the CDC, the impact of low-level exposure to phthalates on human health is unknown, but exposure has been shown to affect the reproductive systems of lab animals.

Where Are Phthalates Found?

To limit your exposure to phthalates that could potentially contribute to early menopause, you need to think very carefully before using these 5 types of everyday products:

  • Plastic Food Packaging
  • Plastic Food Storage Containers
  • Perfume
  • Air Fresheners
  • Personal Care Products

With respect to food packaging, the worst risk of phthalate exposure comes when you microwave food in the packaging, as this allows chemicals to leach out into the food and contaminate it. Consider switching to phthalate-free brands of food storage containers such as Sterilite, and avoid TV dinners or other frozen foods that much be microwaved in their own plastic packaging.

With respect to air fresheners, perfume, and personal care products, the best thing to do is look for products that are made with all-natural ingredients.

If you have already begun to experience perimenopause or menopause symptoms, you can consult Renew Woman™ for safe and effective treatment options to restore balance to your hormones.

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