Women Today Are More Likely To Have Hot Flashes — Are EDCs To Blame?
Menopause today vs. 50 years ago.
Using data on 50-year-old women from four different population studies within the Prospective Population Study of Women in Gothenburg, Sweden, the prospective longitudinal study compared the prevalence of daily hot flashes for women in earlier-born cohorts (1918 and 1930) to those in later-born cohorts (1954 and 1966).
Researchers found that later-born women were nearly twice as likely to experience daily hot flashes as earlier-born women, even after adjusting for potential hot flash predictors (e.g., smoking, body composition, perceived level of high stress).
The exact reason for this concerning increase is less clear, but researchers speculate that working conditions; changes in lifestyle, diet, and environment; and endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) may play a part.
How EDCs affect menopause.
As the name implies, endocrine-disrupting chemicals are compounds in our environment, food, personal care products, and manufactured goods that interfere with healthy endocrine function. Exposure to EDCs has been found to have a profound impact on hormonal health and, if left unchecked, can lead to long-term endocrine health implications1.
According to previous research, the conjecture that EDCs may be contributing to increased hot flashes isn't far-fetched: A 2016 2Reproductive Toxicology2 study2 found that women who used personal care products with phthalates (a type of EDC mainly added to plastic)—specifically, those derived from the parent phthalate DEP—were more likely to experience hot flashes.
Whether you're looking to support your overall endocrine health during menopause or beyond, finding ways to avoid EDCs is important for optimal hormone function.
How to avoid EDC exposure & support your hormonal health.
Whether looking at fertility outcomes or menopause side effects, it's becoming more and more apparent that modern toxins like EDCs are affecting our hormones in undesirable ways.
Avoiding exposure to EDCs is the first place to start. Check out this article to discover 10 places EDCs might be hiding.
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Hot flashes are twice as prevalent among menopausal women as they were 50 years ago, and evidence suggests EDCs may be contributing to this concerning increase.
Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition. Chamberlain believes in taking small steps to improve your well-being—whether that means eating more plant-based foods, checking in with a therapist weekly, or spending quality time with your closest friends. When she isn’t typing away furiously at her keyboard, you can find her cooking in the kitchen, hanging outside, or doing a vinyasa flow.