Getting pregnant and staying pregnant is one of the heaviest concerns on most women’s mind when adding to their family. It can feel overwhelming and searching for answers is a long and complex process. However, if you could eliminate one of the potential issues from the beginning, you just might be ahead of the game!
A look at parabens. What are they?
Parabens are a large term for a group of preservatives that all share the same chemical makeup. They can be found in all sorts of things we use, from cosmetics to prescription drugs and even your toothpaste and packaged foods. They are very good at keeping things fresh, so if you have things that are long term shelf stable, you most likely will have them on the label. They have antifungal qualities so you may also find them in over the counter drugs and remedies.
Most people were introduced to these chemicals through sunscreen use. They recently came under fire in the past few years. New research began to show that when this group of chemicals is applied to the skin and exposed to large amounts of UV light, they cause more rapid DNA breakdown and skin aging. Since that time many cosmetic suppliers have moved away from their use, citing it is free of them on the label.
How does this impact fertility?
There are a few key hormones that affect your fertility, estrogen being one. Parabens are estrogen mimics. That means the body can’t always distinguish between actual estrogen and the mimic. To keep your endocrine system running smoothly, the body has cell receptors for each hormone on organs and cells that require that hormone to function. Think of them as small docks, waiting for their ship to come in. Estrogen is one ship, but mimics are another; they just happen to look exactly like estrogen in the body.
The chemical mimic enters the body, either through ingestion or through a dermal application. When that happens, they can take up the estrogen receptors, (taking estrogen’s dock), effectively shutting out natural estrogen out of the loop. However, your body doesn’t know that. The receptors say that estrogen is in the receptor and it stops requesting estrogen to be made. Suddenly, the endocrine system is in chaos. Free floating estrogen has nowhere to go and organs counting on the cues from estrogen to work are left high and dry.
So, what can we do?
The easiest and best way to get them out of your system is to get them out of your life. Food is an easy one to spot because you can read the label, but cosmetics are sometimes harder. There are many sites that can help you discern what is in your cosmetics. But in the short term here are some ideas you can use to weed through products in your own cabinets at home, right now!
- Look for anything containing words ending in -paraben.
- Evaluate how many shelf stable items you use, from toothpaste to juice.
- Check all your cosmetics.
- Look over all your over the counter drugs and supplements.
- Be discerning about what you purchase from today on!
In closing, there are many factors that can lead to infertility, this group of chemicals being only one. Of course, you are encouraged to speak to your health care provider about your concerns. In the meantime, we hope we have provided you some easy information of eliminating one possible cause from your life today for your health and your future babies!