Exposure to certain toxins could inhibit a couple’s ability to conceive a child. This brief article will highlight what some of these potentially harmful substances are, the reasons these chemicals or products interfere with the conception process and steps people can take to limit their exposure to them.
In many instances, the substances that threaten both a man and woman’s chances of successfully conceiving are scientifically referred to as endocrine disruptors. These chemicals disrupt normal hormonal production within the body.
A healthy balance of important sexual and reproductive hormones, such as testosterone, estrogen and progesterone, are critical to a man producing healthy sperm and semen, as well as ensuring that a woman’s vital sexual organs are healthy and fertile. Excessive or repeated exposure to endocrine disruptors could possibly lead to hormonal imbalances that damage these organs and tools essential to fertility.
Additionally, in women who are fortunate enough to conceive, such chemicals are believed to come into contact with the placenta, which could result in events such as miscarriages, birth defects in the newborn child or the baby developing various health problems as an adult.
Common endocrine disruptors include:
Bisphenol A (BPA) – BPA is a substance most often used as a component to create the plastic containers that house the foods and beverages most individuals regularly consume. Moreover, these substances are also found in tin cans.
Phthalates – These chemicals are added to plastic products for the purpose of giving said products a greater degree of strength and flexibility. That said, phthalates also comprise the chemical makeup of numerous household items such plastic bags, detergents, soaps, shampoos, hairsprays, shower curtains and several children’s toys.
Parabens – Parabens are chemical additives used to ensure the health and preservation of many cosmetic products. Therefore, these potentially toxic chemicals are often found in the makeup individuals typically use.
Pesticides – Products often employed to eradicate insects from the fruits and vegetables people commonly eat, as well as those applied to household lawns contain chemicals called organophosphates. Some members of the medical community suggest that these substances disrupt the process of hormone signaling, which can potentially interfere with the fertility process.
Heavy Metals – Metals such as mercury and lead are frequently found in many of the foods people consume and many of the water reserves individuals drink from and bathe in. These toxins are said to collect in reproductive organs over time. Should a reproductive organ sustain enough of an infiltration, fertility struggles could ensue.
Skin Care Products – Some popular lotions and creams used to remedy a variety of skin maladies often contains chemicals called retinols. When used in excess, retinols may not only inhibit conception but also has the potential to damage fetuses.
Hair Dyes – Certain hair coloring products contain various endocrine disruptors that enter a person’s body by seeping through the scalp, and possibly have a negative impact on reproductive ability.
Perfumes – Some perfumes and colognes contain endocrine disruptors. Typically, such products are synthetically made and not comprised of scents created from naturally abundant flowers and herbs.
Tobacco – Health professionals and medical researchers declare that this product, along with numerous other chemicals that are expelled in cigarette smoke, have been known to accelerate egg destruction in women of child-bearing age and might induce early onset menopause in women who either partake in the habit or are routinely exposed to second-hand smoke.
Caffeine – Some scientists suggest that the excessive ingestion of foods and beverages containing this chemical stimulant such as coffee, tea, chocolate and cola by women might precipitate miscarriages, premature births or incidents of birth defects in newborn babies.
How To Limit Exposure To Endocrine Disruptors
It is almost impossible to completely avoid contact with these substances. That said, there are steps individuals can employ that might limit their exposure and thereby increase their chances of successfully conceiving.
Cautionary steps include:
- storing food and beverages in containers that do not contain BPAs
- avoiding or limiting the use of cosmetics and other aesthetic enhancers with harmful ingredients, natural cosmetics is a good alternative
- avoiding foods containing high quantities of lead or mercury (especially some sorts of fish)
- thoroughly washing all fruits and vegetables eaten or purchasing organic produce
- reducing intake of products rich in caffeine
- to either not start smoking quit or limit exposure to second-hand smoke while trying to conceive