Research over the last several years has shown that the plastic component BPA (bisphenol A) actually accumulates more, on average in women with PCOS. Not only do women with PCOS have higher blood levels of BPA, they also have higher follicular levels of BPA. That means that the follicles that surrounds the very eggs that potentially make your baby and secrete hormones in a woman's body have high levels of a chemical that we know is toxic. Additionally, there is evidence that BPA may decrease aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen in the body. Remember, testosterone in women with PCOS is often high, causing many issues in the female body.
So what can you do?
- Number one is REDUCE YOUR EXPOSURE! BPA is found in products such as plastic water bottles, plastic food containers, plastic drink containers, canned foods, and receipts from registers. And don't be fooled by BPA free plastics! They have a form of bisphenol that actually may be worse than BPA.
- BPA is excreted relatively quickly compared to other endocrine disrupting chemicals, so getting your exposure down is definitely the most important. However, you can also SWEAT to get out BPA. Exercise and saunas (not when pregnant!) are great ways to excrete chemical laden sweat.
- Support your body with the proper NUTRIENTS for detox. For some people you will be able to accomplish this through a proper diet, but for others you may need individualized support from your doctor.
Even some change, even if it's not everything, can help your body deal with PCOS. Try cutting out one thing at a time if you need to, and see where you can go from there. Small, stable, step-wise changes that last a lifetime are often more important that wild shifts back and forth. And if you need support, reach out! Lifestyle change can be hard, and you can always have a community to support you!
Dr. Jen Riegle is a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) who practices in Santa Rosa, CA. Dr. Jen specializes in women's health, infertility, and oncofertility. If you live in the Bay Area and would like to make an appointment, you may schedule on our website or by calling (707)-243-8998.