How Environmental Toxins Can Trigger Early Menopause

Early menopause can arise from a variety of issues, and one of those include the environmental toxins which are more and more present in our homes, work and overall environment. Of course the age at which a woman will begin menopause is dependent upon several factors, most notably heredity, diet and exercise, the age which menstruation first began, the number of children a woman has born, and the age at which the woman delivered her first child. Should you begin suffering menopause symptoms such as unexplained weight gain, extreme water retention and mood swings along with irregular periods, you might need to consider early menopause.

Typical Age of Menopause

Lots of factors come into play when determining just how early is considered "early" when discussing menopause. The "typical" age a woman will go through menopause is 51 years, but this number can go both ways by several years. Menopause usually takes several years, and is not something that just happens one day. Most women will go through potentially years of peri-menopause where the full-blown menopausal symptoms flutter in an out of their life. There may be intermittent hot flashes, irritability, and periods which can be relatively normal for months, then go through a period of irregularity, only to return to normal once more. It can be very frustrating for women whose emotions are on a hormonal roller coaster, not for weeks, or even months, but for years.

Toxins Leading to Early Menopause

Women who have been subjected to chemotherapy to treat breast cancer may have their ovaries damaged by the strong chemicals, and find themselves in early menopause. In fact, in women under the age of forty, as many as half who have had chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer will find themselves in early menopause, while in women over forty, the numbers can range from 50% to as high as 94%. Another medication for breast cancer, which is generally used following chemo and radiation treatments, is the drug tamoxifen, which can also lead to premature menopause in a large number of women.

One particular environmental toxin which can lead to premature menopause is the array of chemicals found in cigarette smoke. Cigarettes typically include such toxic chemicals as ammonia, acetone, benzene, turpentine, formaldehyde, cadmium and butane. If you are a smoker, you likely already know you should stop, however you may not have realized that smoking can lead to early menopause. Most especially should you be trying to conceive, it is vitally important that you stop smoking as well as avoiding others who smoke. Second hand smoke has been found to be nearly as harmful to one's health as actually smoking the cigarette yourself, so if you live with someone who smokes, impress upon them how detrimental it could be, not only to their own health, but to yours as well.

Environmental Toxins as Endocrine Disruptors

Typical environmental toxins affect the entirely endocrine system, but most specifically the sex hormones, causing substantial changes to the normal functions of your body. PFC, PFOA and PFOS toxins (perfluorocarbons, perfluorooctanoate and perfluorooctane sulfonate) are all man-made chemicals, and PFC in particular is a greenhouse gas which is well-known to deplete the ozone layer. These particularly nasty chemical toxins are found in many household items, clothing, furniture, carpet and paints. PFOA is found in non-stick pots and pans and most especially the T-fal brand, and is also used as a stain guard and on carpets and furniture. One study found that women who had high levels of PFCOA's and PFO's were much more likely to experience early menopause than those women whose levels were significantly lower. While it can be nearly impossible to avoid all environmental toxins in our lives, you can lower your exposure by drinking only filtered water, using safe cookware, staying away from products with stain guard (whether clothing, carpets or furniture) and becoming a label reader to avoid paints with PFC's. Eat lots of healthy, nutritious foods, organic when possible, and avoid as many household cleaners as you can-baking soda and vinegar are excellent cleaners, with no harmful toxins. If you want to avoid early menopause, stay away from all the chemical exposure you possibly can.

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