Estrogen Dominance and Xenoestrogens

estrogenEstrogen dominance and xenoestrogens are words smart women are learning about to keep their bodies healthy and strong in our plasticized world.

Signs of excess estrogen in your body include painful or unpredictable periods, PMS, cervical dysplasia, depression, anxiety, worry, decreased libido, fatigue, weight gain in the hips and stomach, possibly cold hands and feet, and fibrocystic breasts or cancer. Estrogen dominance is partly caused from foods, cosmetics, and other products that carry xenoestrogens (fake estrogens) into the body.

Some chemicals found in plants act like the female sex hormone estradiol, our primary estrogen. Synthetic forms of this chemical are found in plastic, pesticides, dioxins, PCBs, and in drugs given to livestock and poultry to prevent miscarriage and promote growth.

To lower the chances for these xenoestrogens to enter your body and behave like estrogen, reduce or eliminate foods that come in plastic wrap and plastic packaging. This includes water you buy in plastic bottles, since chemicals in the plastic leach into food and water.

In a study at Tufts University published in Environmental Health Perspectives in 1991, Drs. Ana Soto and Carlos Sonnenschein observed that breast cancer cells placed in plastic dishes would grow quickly. Knowing these cells need estrogen to reproduce, they were curious about what contributed to the rapid cell growth. They discovered that the chemical nonylphenol, which prevents plastic from cracking, caused the growth of the breast cancer cells. Apparently nonylphenol had leached out of the plastic dishes and behaved like estrogen with the cells. Researchers then experimented with other commonly used plastics, detergents, and pesticides. They witnessed rapid growth when the breast cancer cells were exposed to these products. (See my post Breast Health through Liver Health for numerous ways to help your body clear these toxins.)

Conventionally-raised beef and dairy cows are given growth hormones. Their feed is treated with pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. When you consume conventional milk, cheese, ice cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, chocolate, and processed foods with beef, milk, or milk products in them, you risk overloading your body with xenoestrogens. (Not to mention what the GMOs are doing.) Read more about this in Milk: Does it Do a Body Good?

Organic, grass-fed beef and dairy are the better choice. If you can’t find them or if they are too costly, look for hormone and pesticide-free products. Eat organic chicken and eggs when you can find them, organic grains, and produce that is free from toxic sprays. Note that chemicals used to kill bugs and fungi on the food supply penetrate the surface of whatever they land on, including the soil. Even washing these foods well before you eat them won’t take away the chemicals they have absorbed.

Sometimes you will be in situations where poor quality food and water is all there is. I find this happens most when I travel or attend public events. Until the “food consciousness” raises in this country and truly healthful choices are accessible, we can make the best of it based on what is available. Bless your food and water then return to your organic, food-from-nature, plastic-free diet when you return home.

4 thoughts on “Estrogen Dominance and Xenoestrogens

  1. Judy Stone-Goldman

    I have been somewhat aware of this issue but have been lax in looking for ways to really reduce my exposure. I worry about children, who have a lifetime of exposure ahead of them and increasing sources of potential impact. You don’t mention receipts from store registers, but I understand that they, too, are affected and that it’s wise to keep these out of the hands of children. Thank you for a sadly necessary post.

  2. Deanna Heiliger

    Thank you for this post. Education is the best weapon, if we are willing to adjust our habits and eating styles. I cut out milk and most dairy about 9 years ago. I feel a lot better when I eat a plant-based diet. You are right in that this country needs to raise its awareness!

  3. Angie Millgate

    WOW! What an informative article. Now I feel all sorts of panic, wanting to get all of the plastic out of my existence immediately. I find that often happens with me when I read articles on holistic health… I go through this thought pattern of “OMG! I have to do this NOW! ALL OF IT! NOW!” And then I think about “all the effort” that will go into employing “all this” and then I feel defeated and I give up before I even start. I acquiesce to the “simpler” life that is packaged all neatly for me in shrink-wrapped plastic… *sigh*

  4. Imogen Ragone

    I hadn’t thought of this issue in terms of the problem with plastic wrap or containers. I already buy organic meat and dairy products. Would it be true that the plastic problem isn’t as significant with organic products because they have not been pumped with hormones in the first place? Thanks for bringing this to my attention.


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