PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and me.

PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome affects the heart, endocrine system and fertility.


I'm sharing a PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome diagram with you because I have this disease. What causes PCOS is not entirely understood but endocrine disrupting chemicals are thought to play a role in its development. As I've noted elsewhere, I've spent my life "heavily scented". Scent may be the link. It's not the only reason I started making BPA and Phthalate-free aromatherapy room sprays, but it is the reason I feel good about the mood sprays being in your home.

I've had everything you see on that chart. After years of misery, I finally had a hysterectomy and both ovaries removed at age 37. The metabolic conditions remain and so I exercise like a machine and eat vegan in the hopes that it will stave off full-blown diabetes and heart disease.

I really struggle to make sense of it. I'm an active person; I eat vegan; I take a full complement of doctor-prescribed medications and none of that seems to work at all. It's very hard to keep going when blood work comes back negative again and again. It's also difficult to deal with people's perceptions about what you can and cannot change about your body. Some of my friends think I'm being too extreme; others think I'm not trying hard enough. I'm in the middle just wanting a hug.

A few weeks ago, I shared a draft of an article I'm writing for Chickpea Magazine with a few friends. In the article I mention PCOS as one of the initial reasons that I went vegan (it's one of the reasons - not the only one.) My friends were surprised to learn of my health struggles. Which surprised me because I thought everyone knew.

So then it occurred to me that if I wanted support then I need to be more open about what I've experienced and how I continue to struggle with the metabolic disorder that is part of this disease. And maybe if I did people would better understand why I have to be such a crazy vegan/exerciser and stop posting bacon items on my Facebook timeline.

So there it is. Out in the open. Just know that I'm a crazy vegan/exerciser because I want to be one, except when I don't want to be one which is about four out of seven days each week. I'm just one of those people that has to do it, like it or not/whether it "works" or not. And it's not "working." So give me a hug. And the best way you can do that over the Internet is to buy the crap I'm selling because it makes me really happy when I get to send one off to someone. Seriously!!

Thanks for listening.


Phthalates, Synthetic Fragrance, Cosmetics, and Hormone Problems



I rabbit on about the dangers of synthetic fragrances but my friends just smile and nod. In all honesty, they probably decided I was crazy years before I started this anti-bad-mood spray company. My guess is that whenever my anti-phthalate argument kicks in at the dinner table they just tune me out and start thinking about their personal lives. Or maybe that's just my sister. I don't know. 

Anyway. The facts are these:

Phthalates are chemicals used in cosmetics, air fresheners, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, and perfumes to make fragrances last longer. Two common phthalates are DBP (di-n-butyle phthalate) and DEHP (di[2-ethylhexyl] phthalate).

In tests on lab rats, certain phthalates have been linked to an anti-testosterone effect, specifically testicular "changes," liver problems, and cancer. A study of 319 mother-and-child pairs from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health showed a link between higher phthalate exposure in utero and slower development in children. 

In an interview for The Environment Report, study director Robin Whyatt stated, "Three of the phthalates were significantly associated with behavioral disorders, or behavioral problems: anxious, depressed behaviors, emotionally reactive behaviors, withdrawn behavior.” The study also noted a link between the presence of phthalates in the mothers' urine and motor problems in children. The study controlled for a long list of other factors, including smoke, lead, pesticides, and other common chemicals found in our every-day environment.

The European Union bans DBP and DEHP, along with a third phthalate, BBP. The US Environmental Protection Agency has placed both DBP and DEHP on a list of chemicals that may be hazardous to humans.The problem is that manufacturers of cosmetics and synthetic fragrances aren't required to disclose ingredients on the label. You'll simply see "fragrance" on the list without being able to determine whether the phthalates were added to the product.

Now, obviously, I make my own air fresheners out of totally natural, good-smelling essential oils and sell them on the interwebs for anyone who'd like to give them a try. Sometimes, people tell me that they don't want to try spray my products in shared spaces and I don't say anything, but I'm thinking..."You have no idea how many harmful chemicals are part of your every-day world. A little pink grapefruit essential oil might be the best thing that ever happens to you."

But I don't say that. I just politely nod and smile and respect their decision. But a fifteen-year study from Columbia University is good enough evidence for me. I don't need my toddler to grow man boobs to convince me not to use fabric softener, ok? My towels smell like towels, not Jamaican Kiwi-Vanilla Shazam! And I'm just fine with that.




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