Around menopause, many women, at least occasionally, have difficulty sleeping. Experts often attribute this to hormonal changes or stress anxiety May accompany middle age.
New research adds another potential factor to the mix: endocrine disrupting environmental chemicals (EDCs), especially Phthalic ester..
“This research is important. Endocrine disruptors It’s everywhere.” Stephanie Forbion, MD, A Mayor Clinic female health doctor in Jacksonville, Florida, North American Menopause Society (NAMS).. “It provides additional evidence of potential gender differences in endocrine disruptor exposure (in this case, phthalates) and health effects.”
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Focus on a wide range of chemicals
Researchers at the University of Illinois Health survey of middle-aged women.. This major clinical trial, conducted between 2006 and 2015, evaluated hot flush risk factors in women who were not taking it between ages 45 and 54 in the Baltimore region. Hormone therapy.. Women have been closely tracked for years, so other researchers have subsequently mined health data to shed light on other issues around them. menopause..
Scientists focused on phthalates because previous studies had suggested that increased exposure to chemicals significantly increased women’s risk Hot flashes.. Animal studies also showed that effect hormone Associated with sleep.
More Phthalate, Less Sleep Suggests Research
The results confirmed that the frequency of sleep disorders in middle-aged women was associated with high levels of phthalates in the body.
However, the relationship turns out to be complex and can be affected by other factors, especially smoking. Since smoking is known to affect both sleep and hormones, women who were former smokers with the same levels of chemicals reported different sleep effects than nonsmokers. “This suggests that smoking history influences the relationship between phthalates and self-reported frequency of sleep disorders,” the authors write.
Sleep is a major problem in middle age
Yet, anything that reveals possible reasons for sleep disorders is welcomed by many middle-aged women.
More sleep and chemical exposure research needed
This is an observational study, not a randomized clinical trial, but because of the effects of smoking confounding. Is needed,” says Dr. Forbion.
In addition, the underlying mechanisms by which EDC exposure affects sleep in middle-aged women need to be clarified, the researchers write.
Phthalates are ubiquitous in the environment
But even before the study was done, experts say it was wise for all women, including middle-aged women, to minimize their exposure to phthalates as much as possible. Researchers point out that chemicals appear to be more concentrated in women than men.
Phthalates are described as a common EDC used in a wide range of industrial products to improve their performance. Nneka Leiba, MPH, Vice President of Health and Life Sciences, Non-Profit Environmental Working Group in Washington, DC.
They can be found in plastics and food packaging, Laiba says. The main way middle-aged women touch the skin is through skin care products.
“Phthalate esters are used as ingredients in personal care products, including skin care products, perfumes and colognes,” she says. Also, since they’re usually part of a fragrance mix in a product, she’s more likely to encounter scents, from candles to detergents to trash bags, she says.
Black women may face more exposure to chemicals than others
Black women may be at higher risk of exposure to these chemicals than white women. “EWG research shows that black women use more personal care products than other demographics and have fewer products Especially sold to black women “It’s free of chemicals,” Leiba said.
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Limit exposure to chemicals as much as possible
Due to their popularity, it is impossible to avoid phthalates altogether. Limiting exposure means knowing what products they are hiding, but it’s difficult because manufacturers don’t have to label these ingredients, Leiba says.
Given that phthalates are often used in fragrances, Leyva recommends avoiding products with the comprehensive “fragrance” label. Instead, choose a product that discloses a particular fragrance ingredient. You can also contact the manufacturer about using phthalates in your favorite products, she advises.
EWG Skin Deep database Identify many skin care options without these other ingredients of concern.
If you come across a brand labeled “Phthalate Free” for any product, choose a brand that will help reduce the risk of EDC and advise your healthcare provider Endocrine Society..
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