While menopause is a natural part of a woman’s lifecycle, most women would probably prefer to put off dealing with “the change” for as long as possible. But commonly occurring chemicals in our environment, including ones found in makeup, could be aiding in an earlier menopause for women with high levels of exposure. These chemicals are all known endocrine disrupters, which means they can alter the usual state of a woman’s hormone system.
A recently released study, Persistent Organic Pollutants and Early Menopause in US Women, reports that women who are exposed to high levels of commonly occurring endocrine disrupting chemicals enter menopause two to four years earlier than those with lower exposures. The study analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and encompassed information from over 1,000 U.S. women between 1999 and 2008.
Early Menopause Effects
Researchers are concerned about the effect of premature menopause on a woman’s quality and longevity of life. Early menopause, for example, could adversely impact a woman’s cardiovascular or bone health.
The 15 chemicals researchers found to have a strong link with early menopause included pesticides, flame retardants, and dioxins. Other chemicals from the group include phthalates, which are commonly found in personal care and beauty products including makeup, lotions and liquid soap.
Researchers are hoping to understand more about how these endocrine disrupters affect ovarian health over the course of a woman’s life, including the possibility of early onset ovulation.
Avoiding Endocrine Disrupters
Of the 15 chemicals pegged for causing the most disruption, many are hard to avoid because of their prevalence in soil, water and food.
Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to help increase your resistance levels against this issue, such as:
- Eating foods that haven’t been processed or packaged
- Checking your personal care products for hidden endocrine disrupters. You can visit the website, Skin Deep, for a searchable database of the hazard levels of everyday product.
- Drinking filtered water, not bottled.
At Gainesville’s All About Women practice, our board-certified gynecologists and midwives are committed to keeping you up-to-date on important women’s health issues and are here to provide you with expert care in the event of early menopause onset.