There have been extensive studies looking at the link between endometriosis and environmental pollution and chemicals in the environment. The use of chemicals has increased dramatically in the past few decades.
These chemicals then enter the food chain as well as the general environment. It is now being speculated that this increase in chemicals could be one factor that is causing endometriosis, or at least increasing the numbers of women and girls who are now developing the disease.
Our bodies are now surrounded by many toxic chemicals every day. These come from the air we breathe, the water we drink, from our food chain, from the harsh chemical based toiletries we use and the many house-hold cleaners we use in our homes.
Many of these chemicals can mimic the action of oestrogen when they are absorbed by the body. One group of chemicals that has caused much concern is Dioxin.
Nowadays these chemicals are found in pesticides, industrial chemicals (PCBs) and industrial by-products (dioxin and furans) during the production of chlorine-containing pesticides, wood preservatives and paper.
Virtually all human exposure to these chemicals occurs from foods and in particular through consumption of fish, meat, eggs and dairy products. Dioxin persist in the environment for years and accumulate in the fat of farm animals that eat contaminated feed, contaminated grazing, and water supply.
The effects of dioxin on the body are far-reaching and very damaging. Biochemical studies have shown that dioxins act as powerful “environmental hormones”. Like the body’s natural hormones, dioxin can cross cell membranes and alter the activity of genes that regulate the body’s processes of development and self-maintenance.
These damaging effects can include:
• the immune system
• fetal death
• reproductive dysfunction i.e. endometriosis
• organ toxicity – liver, spleen, thymus
• modulation of hormones and receptors
• birth defects
Many of the unwanted toxic chemicals that enter your body have a similar physical structure to that of natural oestrogen and it is vital that women with endometriosis try to avoid them. These chemicals are known as ‘xeno-oestrogens’ and when they enter the body they can trick the body into thinking they are the genuine natural structures of oestrogen.
The body then allows these unnatural chemicals to connect with the cells that communicate with oestrogen and interfere with the natural balance. This then leads to oestrogen dominance and helps to feed endometriosis.
Dioxin also appears to block the body’s production of progesterone and increasing the problem of hormone imbalance and oestrogen dominance.
Ways to reduce these xeno-estrogens:
• reduce you use of chemical based toiletries – they are utterly laden with chemicals
• reduce your use to household cleaners and use old fashioned remedies instead
• do not eat dairy foods or meat – these should be avoided on the diet for endometriosis anyway
• maintain liver health – as the liver is the biggest ‘cleansing/detoxing organ in the body
• reduce the amount of food stuffs you purchase that are packaged in plastic containers – ie. convenience foods