When it comes to women’s health, the knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine embodies may pearls of wisdom. One of the most well-known sayings is that a Chinese doctor would rather treat ten men rather than one woman! It is no surprise that women are the more complex gender. A woman’s unique physiology gives her extraordinary advantages, such as a longer life span. However, altering the very delicate and finely balanced female hormonal system can also predispose women to a long list of health problems that can compromise her physiological, emotional and mental well-being.
The modern woman faces many challenges in her quest to maintain hormonal balance. The hormone mimicking chemicals in the environment pose a huge challenge to a woman’s health, the health of her unborn and the health of future generations.
Tens of thousands of chemicals are now known to alter hormone levels in the body. Some mimic estrogen, while others cause other hormone havoc by blocking estrogen, androgens, as well as compounds that interfere with thyroid hormones.
Also, the level of contamination known to cause hormonal effects is often dramatically lower than established standards. For example, new data examining hormonal effects of the popular chemical, bisphenol A (used to harden polycarbonate plastics and found in water bottles, dental sealant and the lining of tin cans), suggest federal tolerances should be at least 25,000 times lower than what the government has mandated.
The hormone disrupting chemical soup that presently pervades our air, food and water has a free ride through the placenta barrier, directly impacting the development of the fetus. In some cases, these chemicals are able to alter the hormonal programming, predisposing the fetus to hormonal imbalances later in life to serious health issues such as breast cancer or prostate cancer. All other physiological systems, including neurological and immunological systems, are also at risk.
A recent test investigating 10 samples of umbilical-cord blood found an average of 287 contaminants, including mercury, fire retardants, pesticides, and the Teflon chemical PFOA. These 10 newborn babies were born polluted. In fact, it is now a well-established fact that not a single child today is born free of synthetic chemicals.
Even more worrisome are the findings from new research with rodents that suggest that your infertility could be the result of an environmental exposure that your great-grandmother experienced while she was in her mother’s (your great-great grandmother’s) womb. In laboratory experiments, exposure to two endocrine disrupting compounds at a key time in fetal development seriously impaired sperm count in almost all males in four subsequent generations, even though the exposure occurred only once.
When you combine the unrelenting exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals in the environment from the earliest stages of life, nutrient-depleted and imitation foods, an over reliance on toxic pharmaceutical drugs, and our hyperactive, stressful lifestyles, it’s no wonder that hormonal imbalances in women of all ages are so pervasive.
The cumulative effects of all these hormonal insults are being revealed in many disturbing ways. A problem of growing concern throughout the world is the prevalence of early puberty in both girls and boys. It is now estimated that one in every six eight-year-olds is showing signs of puberty.
Premature sexual development in women presents a greater risk for a wide range of hormonal imbalances later in life, including PMS, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, polycystic ovarian syndrome, infertility, miscarriage, fibroids, early menopause, and hormonal dependent cancers (i.e. breast, uterus and ovaries). In boys, early sexual development predisposes them to prostate and testicular cancers as well as low sperm counts.
Exposure to carcinogenic chemicals takes many years, usually decades before a cancer develops. At one time, breast cancer was mostly found in older women, but now one out of every 250 women diagnosed with breast will be in their 20s or 30s. What is most tragic is that the younger a woman is at the time of diagnosis, the more likely she will have an aggressive form of the disease and a worse prognosis.
While the challenges facing women’s hormonal health may seem overwhelming, they are by no means insurmountable. It is imperative that women understand that hormonal imbalances at any age are really symptoms of compromised health. By committing to a lifestyle that incorporates organic foods, adequate hydration, reduction of toxic exposure in the home and environment, daily exercise, proper rest, and regular stress management, along with a hormone balancing program that can include vitamin and mineral supplements, essential fatty acids, herbs, and homeopathic remedies, women can regain and maintain hormonal well-being.
The knowledge you gain, and the informed choices you make now—this very moment—will chart a course for health and establish a healthy foundation for a lifetime. The hormonal well-being of you and your children, and the generations yet to come, must be protected. When fully armed with an understanding of the problems, the necessary proactive actions and effective solutions, you can become an invincible force for positive change and good health.
You are the powerful voice of hormonal health and wellbeing that the children of the future are listening for.