Attention PCOS Women:  BPA Is a Serious Potential Threat

In the first section of this article, we reviewed that women with PCOS have higher levels of BPA (bisphenol A), an environmental chemical.  We also said this higher level of exposure is a suspect cause of this disease, that it could cause fertility problems, problems for your future baby, and disturbs ovarian function. 

We continue our discussion below.

How Bad Is this BPA Thing?

Bisphenol A is everywhere in the human environment.  All people have detectable levels of it. Studies suggest the average levels found in the body tissues of people in the developed world are high enough to cause a wide range of adverse effects.

A new analysis by the Center for Disease Control indicates that many Americans are exposed to bisphenol A at levels above the current safety threshold set by the Environmental Protection Agency.  These levels are significantly higher than what is known to cause many different negative health effects in animals exposed to BPA before birth.

So what else is so bad about bisphenol A?  Plenty!  

How Women with PCOS May Be Affected

Here are just a few problems BPA can create for women with PCOS:

  • It may increase insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a primary cause of polycystic ovary syndrome and infertility.
  • It's linked to recurrent miscarriage, which is a big problem for women with PCOS.
  • It causes breast cancer in lab animals.
  • It produces fibroids and polycystic ovaries in lab animals.
  • It makes you fatter because it suppresses a fat-controlling hormone called adiponectin. BPA increases your risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which is closely related to polycystic ovarian syndrome.
  • Both overweight and lean women with polycystic ovary syndrome have higher levels of bisphenol A than non-PCOS lean women.
  • In women with ovarian dysfunction, there is an association between bisphenol A and male hormone levels.
  • Exposure to bisphenol A during pregnancy disturbs early egg development in the unborn female fetuses of lab animals. When these fetuses reach adulthood, the disturbances are translated into an increase in genetically abnormal eggs and embryos. This effect is possible because female mammals, including mice and humans, form their eggs while still in their mother's womb. Thus, when a "grandmother" mouse is exposed to BPA, not only are her direct progeny exposed, but also the eggs that will become her grandchildren.

What Can You Do to Deal with This?

There are 3 things you can do. Reduce your exposure, find out if you have it, and try to get rid of the BPA you already have.

1.  Reduce Exposure

You can reduce your exposure by trying to find out where it is. It is used in a multitude of hard plastic products such as water bottles, food containers, infant bottles and medical equipment and supplies.

Yes, it's terribly inconvenient to reduce the amount of plastic in your life.  Just do what you can.

It may also be found in the lining of canned foods and in many other non-obvious products such as thermal-printed cash register receipts and some dental sealants.

Reduce the use of canned foods and eat more fresh food instead.  Try to use glass or ceramic containers instead of plastic for food, water and beverages.  Don't use plastic bottles to feed your baby; use glass instead.

Educate yourself about possible occupational exposure.  For example, if you handle thermal paper, dental sealants or certain medical supplies and equipment, either wear gloves or ask your employer if they contain bisphenol A.

2.  Find Out if You Have a Body Burden of BPA

You could get tested to see what your level is.  Don't forget, you're more likely to have excessive BPA than a "normal" person.  So don't let your doctor talk you out of it if you want to get tested.

If your levels are high, consult with an "environmental medicine" doctor for a program to get it removed from your body.

3.  Get Rid of BPA Yourself

It may be difficult to get rid of the bisphenol A you already have, but it's worth trying anyway.  Your liver can detoxify bisphenol A and send it to the intestines for excretion.  However, up to one-half of women with PCOS have livers that are infiltrated with fat, thus possibly slowing down the detoxification process.

There isn't space here to discuss repairing your liver. However, a healthier diet is definitely a place to start.

Another problem is that, as the detoxified BPA passes down your intestines into the colon, much of it is reabsorbed back into the bloodstream and goes straight back to the liver, where it just came from.  This problem is made worse if you tend to be constipated.

However, if you consume a diet that is high in whole foods and fiber, like the one in The Natural Diet Solution for PCOS and Infertility ebook, you improve your chances of flushing out the BPA before it can be reabsorbed into the body.

Please remember -- you can't see, smell or taste this nasty chemical.  It's completely invisible. Be alert.

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