Monday, April 22, 2024

Understanding the Impact: Marla Ahlgrimm Discusses How Endocrine Disruptors Can Affect Women

Marla Ahlgrimm
Many women run straight for a warm bath after a stressful day. This is often coupled with the soft and soothing light of their favorite scented candle. But do these artificial odors affect a woman’s hormone cycle? To shed light on this, we turn to women’s self-help author and PMS expert Marla Ahlgrimm
What is an endocrine disruptor (EDC)? 
Marla Ahlgrimm: An endocrine disrupter is essentially a chemical that can have a negative impact on your body’s endocrine (hormone) system. 
What are some ways endocrine disruptors can affect a woman’s hormones? 
Marla Ahlgrimm: EDCs can mimic some of the body’s natural hormones, such as estrogen. This may confuse the body’s internal hormone messaging system, leading to imbalances in the many body systems regulated by the hormones. 
What is hormone disruption? 
Marla Ahlgrimm: Hormone disruption happens when an EDC (or other invader) causes a hiccup in a woman’s natural hormone production. 
Are there specific EDCs that women should be cautious of? 
Marla Ahlgrimm: There are many, yes. BPA, for example, which is found in many plastic bottles, may have an effect on a woman’s menstrual cycle. It’s theorized that BPA might even increase a woman’s risk of endometriosis and certain cancers.
How about scents from candles and other artificial sources? 
Marla Ahlgrimm: Many fragrances contain phthalates. These are chemicals that can affect early puberty, fertility, and a woman’s overall hormones. While candles are not necessarily a carrier of these – many candles utilize essential oils – women should be conscious of any home or body care product with artificial scent added. 
What are some factors that contribute to the effectiveness of EDCs? 
Marla Ahlgrimm: Exposure level, individual sensitivity, and even life stage. The more a woman is exposed to endocrine disruptors, the more likely she is to potentially experience adverse effects. Similarly, people sensitive to specific EDCs may be impacted more. 
Are EDCs more harmful during certain life stages? 
Marla Ahlgrimm: Yes. Unborn children may be most at risk of endocrine disruptors that are passed from mother to child in the womb. Young women experiencing puberty may also be more susceptible to the dangers. 
Is it possible to avoid endocrine disruptors? 
Marla Ahlgrimm: While it may not be possible to completely avoid endocrine disruptors, especially in a Western society, women can take proactive steps to reduce their exposure. By choosing BPA-free products, cutting down on processed food consumption, and opting for natural or fragrance-free alternatives in personal care products, women can empower themselves to minimize their exposure to EDCs. 
Are all scents endocrine disruptors? 
Marla Ahlgrimm
Marla Ahlgrimm: It's important to note that not all scents are endocrine disruptors. Natural aromas like vanilla, grapefruit, jasmine, peppermint, and rosemary can have positive effects on the human body. For instance, chamomile and lavender are known to induce a sense of calm, while the smell of citrus fruit can uplift mood. This should encourage women to explore natural scents as a safe and beneficial alternative. 
When should women discuss their concerns about EDCs with their healthcare provider? 
Marla Ahlgrimm: There is never a bad time to approach your doctor about any health concern. But many women may find that their annual well-woman exam is the perfect time to bring up issues that need to be addressed.