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Toxins and how to find simple ways to reduce them.

Toxins cause a ton of problems in our bodies. When our body is hit with toxic chemicals it does not know how to break them down, so they are stored as fat.  These chemicals block the hormone receptor sites making it impossible for your hormones to enter your cells to do their job. These chemicals also impact the production of hormones as well. For women, the bad news is that more than 1,000 toxins have been proven to be endocrine disruptors, which lead to chronic disease like breast cancer, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) or auto-immune disorders. 

When we have large swings in estrogen or progesterone (as in our menstrual cycles) this causes the release of toxins stored in our tissues. Lead is one example, mercury another.  Those toxins that we store in our fat cells are another.  These hormonal surges cause release of toxins into our tissues especially in pregnancy, but certainly when estrogen is on the rise in ovulation and progesterone rises just before we start our period.  

What chemicals are we talking about?  There are many. However, here are the top five to be aware of and avoid: 

  • BPA plastics 
  • Phthalates 
  • Atrazine 
  • Oganotins 
  • Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) 

These are found in our food, water, beauty products, cleaning products, cookware and clothing.  Ugh. 

Some toxins found in food that you should avoid are: 

  • Monosodium glutamate 
  • Soy protein isolates 

Just the same way that too much insulin blocks receptor sites on the outside of your cells, so do these toxins. This can dramatically effect everything from thyroid to insulin and lead the way to weight gain, fatigue and mental health issues and autoimmune issues.  Detox can be a great way to improve on these health challenges and manage chronic health issues. Some simple ways to detox are: 

  • Start your day with 16 oz water with lemon juice 
  • Take alcohol out completely for a certain number of days
  • Epsom salt baths 
  • Sweat! sit in a sauna, take a hot shower, exercise 

Some other easy ways to avoid toxins as best we can are to avoid using plastic. Store food in glass containers instead, use stainless steel water bottles or glass water bottles. Drink filtered water. eat whole foods and avoid processed foods. You can go to the Environmental Working Group website to learn more ways to avoid toxins in your life.  

Why are we talking about this in pelvic floor PT? When your body is carrying too many toxins it struggles to heal from injuries. It also carries inflammation which just perseverates chronic pain, and conditions like endometriosis, PCOS, adenomyosis, fibromyalgia, IBS, inflammatory bowel conditions and any autoimmune condition. If you want to improve your quality of life, learning more and reducing your exposure to toxins can be a good way to start! 

Sarah is the proud co-owner of Foundational Concepts, Specialty Physical Therapy which opened in March 2013. Sarah lectures at the University of Missouri Department of PT, University of Kansas Departments of PT and Nurse Midwifery, and at Rockhurst University Department of PT. She is board certified in Women’s Health PT and holds certifications in medical therapeutic yoga, lymphedema therapy and dry needling.

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