Let´s talk a bit about xenohormones. They sound incredibly interesting, right? A bit like a boring science class. In this post I´m going to try and explain what they are, what they do, and then (possibly in a second post) ways in which you can manage the role of xenohormones in your life. Now it is possible that you don´t care about this at all, but I believe transgender people care about hormones.
Switching from one hormone system to the other often gives us tremendous insight in how exactly hormones work and the incredible influence they have – not just on our physical well being but also on our mental outlook and our behavior. For this reason, we observe our hormonal levels and our endocrine systems* like hawks. However, hormones shouldn´t just matter to people who take hormones.
In fact, you eat, drink and absorb hormones everyday. These hormones can be natural or artificial (Wikipedia), and mimic estrogen or testosterone. These are present in plants and animals, but also occur in countless products that we use everyday, including our drinking water. In nature, the exchange of hormones frequently has a balancing purpose (a plant with estrogen can affect the hormones of predators).
However the way that we consume xenohormones, they act as a disruptive rather than a balancing force. Basing myself on the Wikipedia page (this isn´t intended as a scientific article), chemical xenoestrogen has been most present in our lifestyle for the last seventy years, and are used by industrial, agricultural and chemical companies, for example in pesticides, but also in household items like shampoo.
Why you should care about this, is xenoestrogen is capable of upsetting the endocrine balance in our bodies. A surplus of estrogen is created, creating side effects such as increased PMS (volatility and mood swings) in women, greater risk for breast cancer and endometriosis. In men, it can have possible feminizing effects such as gynecomastia (breast development), prostate cancer and infertility.
Granted, those are extreme examples. On a small scale however, hormones affect our disposition to mental problems, our level of energy, the distribution of fat in our body, and our physical well-being. In a society where men are concerned about their masculinity and women are faced with disruptive amounts of estrogen, this is cause for alarm. In my next post I´ll discuss the products in which xenoestrogen abounds.