Are Toxins Causing Endometriosis? What You Can Do.
What is the cause of endometriosis?
Pretty lame that endometriosis is such omnipresent disease and common factor in infertility, and yet, a confirmed cause of the disease is still unknown. But regardless, endometriosis is a serious and horrible infertility issue AND women’s issue that needs answers, now. Like, yesterday. Case and point: endometriosis is showing up in girls as early as 7 years old.* Let’s look at the facts so that you wise Birds can come to your own conclusions.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Medical studies are bringing forth compelling evidence that endometriosis is caused by exposure to environmental toxins**…they just can’t solemnly swear it…yet. Not so much a matter of the facts not being there (they are), but a matter of formalities in the scientific method. But there is no denying that industrialization over the last century has seriously effed with our ovaries in many cases. Luckily, there is an eco backpedaling inertia, but in the meantime, let’s look at the here and now of endometriosis causing agents.
Among the numerous toxins found within typical human cord blood (around 287 chemicals to give ya a ballpark**), 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) is considered to be one of the most toxic, as is its structurally related brother polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These guys are a serious foe to endocrine and immune functions and have been linked to developmental disorders of the reproductive tract, increased risk of miscarriage, and endometriosis.
The Endometriosis Association has found a direct correlation between dioxin exposure and endometriosis in animals, as well as immune abnormalities resulting from dioxins that are similar to those of women suffering from endometriosis.*** The Endometriosis Association followed a group of female monkeys that had been exposed to dioxins, and within 10 years, 79% of those monkeys had developed endometriosis. Waah monkeys, but yay major breakthrough in endometriosis research.
Now, since infertility affects approximately 40% of women with endometriosis*** (and 25-50% of infertile women suffer from endometriosis****) it’s important to know what these dioxins are and how to try to avoid them.
Dioxins are primarily by-products of industrial processes, but can also be emitted from volcanic eruptions and forest fires.***** Think of taking a never-ending drag off a menthol cig…yeah. A number of industrial processes have historically released dioxins into the environment, including smelting, chlorine bleaching of paper pulp, and the manufacturing of some herbicides and pesticides. These emissions and run-offs have then been traced in soil, food, water, oceans, and air globally.
Food supply is the biggest outlet of dioxins, accounting for 90% of human exposure. The main culprits are meat and dairy products, fish, and shellfish. ***** Contaminated animal feed is often the root-cause.
Early life exposure to environmental toxins has been an area of increasing concern, in particular, fetal exposure influence in adult reproductive dysfunction. One reason that studies directly linking TCDD and PCB dioxins to endometriosis have failed to reach a consensus may be due to the complexity in diagnosing endometriosis, as well as the difficulty in finding similar test groups to confirm the hypothesis. Everyone has a different exposure history and toxin level make up, so this makes test hard to duplicate for researchers. We’re not totally unsympathetic. That sh*t's gotta be hard.
This isn’t news to the Feds, who have attempted to regulate industrial production since the 1970’s. Unfortunately, it will be a long time before we see dioxins cycled out of our water, soil, atmosphere, and food. Trimming excess fat from meat is one suggestion made by the Endometriosis Association, although make sure that you are getting whole dairy products for a fertility boosting diet. Eating a balance of organic foods abundant in fruits and veggies will help in avoiding excessive exposure to a potential source, and be conscious of endocrine disruptors in your food packaging and beauty products.
*The above content is not intended to diagnose, treat, or replace any medical advice given to you by your doctor. Speak with your RE or licensed medical provider about your unique situation, and as always listen to your own body and her needs.
THE NITTY GRITTY
** Bruner-Tran, Kaylon L., and Kevin G. Osteen. “Dioxin-like PCBs and Endometriosis.” Systems biology in reproductive medicine 56.2 (2010): 132–146. PMC. Web. 8 May 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2867352/
(No conflicts of interest present in the above sources)