news item – is your shampoo keeping you from having babies?

So, if you know me, like know me, either from fb or real life, you know that I am the youngest of four kids in my family. So from day one I’ve always been ‘the odd one out,’ or different, or a little weird, the “typical” baby of the family. So it’s no surprise to like, ANYONE that I am a bit huggy-crunchy-granola type. It started for me when the whole plastics leaching BPA blew up about 6 years ago. BPA is  an endocrine-disrupter, meaning it can mess with the natural sex hormones in our bodies and even mimic them. BPA is known for specifically messing with estrogenic activity. Up until that point, I was known for always having my nalgene bottle with me at all times. When this all came out, I chucked all my plastics bottles, and as Jacob and I were just registering for our wedding, I registered for all glass storage containers and chucked our plastic storage stuff.

See the thing is, with me, I’ve always been a ‘a little off’ when it came to my cycle stuff. I have been diagnosed with PCOS, lean PCOS, and also been told I absolutely do NOT have PCOS. Doctors can’t figure me out. I’m an ENIGMA. Which sounds cool, until you try to get pregnant. Then it sucks. When you can’t ever say for certain when your CD1 or CD3 is, when your cycles can go from 20 days to 60 days. When you’re all set to take your Clomid on CD3 and then CD3 comes and your body decided it is apparently done, only to reappear 4 days later. Can I get a giant WTF? And your panicked call to your RE of “do I take it, do I not take it?” and her response of “Huh, wow, I don’t know.”

From all of these fertility frustrations I started reading, especially about the pesticides in our foods. Pesticides that mimic sex hormones as well (estrogen and testosterone). And so we went organic, free-range, hormone free, everything. It wasn’t perfect, we couldn’t always eat that way, but we were able to do it about 75-85% of the time.

And now, now we’re learning about phthalates. Which are in EVERYTHING. The study this article is talking about tested the phthalates level in couples seeking fertility treatments and those who successfully had children without treatments. And get this:

“Both the men and the women in the couples seeking fertility treatments had higher levels of phthalates in their urine than the couples with children did.”

Could this all just be coincidence and not correlation? Sure. Could I be altering my lifestyle for no reason? Sure. Could bigfoot really exist even though we have no clear scientific proof? Dear Lord, I HOPE SO. But I digress.

Here is what I do know. We had 5 rounds of failed Clomid and an IVF that resulted in miscarriage. Then we committed to eating all organic produce, dairy, meat. My DH had varicocele surgery and we also started acupuncture for both of us. We were told with my wonky-body we would still need some type of fertility treatments. And then I was pregnant. I will never know if there are environmental factors that have affected my fertility. Our little girl could be a giant fluke of luck and we could need fertility treatments once we try for number 2. I do know my cycles started regulating more and we both have felt healthier. I will never regret choosing to live as organically as possible, I think for me and my family, it is the best choice for us.

And I know plenty of women get pregnant and never even consider eating organically or not using plastic bottles. But maybe, just maybe, some women and men are more sensitive to it than others? Or maybe women who already have some fertility issues, these environmental factors increase those issues? Who knows. But I would love to hear all your thoughts and comments on this article. Please read “Is your shampoo keeping you from having babies?” and let us know what you think. Also there is a stupid video embedded in the article that I couldn’t figure out how to get rid of. Just hit “pause” once the ad plays and you can stop it.



  1. Also, here’s a link to an article that talks about how even BPA-free plastics leach endocrine disrupting junk:

  2. I recently went to a talk at a school of medicine about how these things (phalates and other chemicals) impact the developing brain–different organs but still astonishing and scary. Here’s a resource they handed out that’s somewhat helpful:

    • P.S. The link is kind of random–I just googled the document, which I have in hard copy, and came up with that.

  3. Coming back to respond to, “But maybe, just maybe, some women and men are more sensitive to it than others?” My understanding is definitely that some people are genetically predisposed to be more affected by certain toxins in the environment. For example, out of a hundred smokers, only about 10% get cancer (my numbers could be off, but it’s something like that), and those aren’t always the heaviest smokers. A description I heard of causes of disease that made sense to me was that there’s a continuum of genetics and environmental causes. On the far end of genetics are things like sickle-cell disease, and on the far end of environmental are things like intense exposure to nuclear radiation. Everything else falls somewhere in the middle and is a combination of genetics and and the disease agent/toxin. Not everyone will respond the same to the same exposure to a toxin. I worry about this a lot, not necessarily for me, though that’s front and center in my life right now, but primarily for my daughter, who I would rather not have the same problems as me. It’s really hard to avoid the bad stuff when the bad stuff is everywhere and much, much easier to get and cheaper to buy than the alternatives.

    • Yeah the cost of trying to rid your life of these toxins is exspensive. We went from eating meat 4-5 times a week to about 2 times a week because the meat we buy now is so pricey. Also, all the female relatives on my Dad’s side have been like serious chain smokers, not a one has ever had lung cancer. So maybe I have genetic lungs of steel and ovaries of, well, not-steel. But I’ve never smoked so, we’ll never know 😉

  4. The BPA issue a few years back was the first time any of this ever came across my radar, and after chucking most plastic and going BPA free, I sort of forgot about it until TTC. Then I started researching more, and it’s scary the amount of crap that goes into stuff in our environment. We have made a point of getting toys for Stella that are all cloth or wooden (and no lead paint!) and buying organic fruits/veggies and buying local, grass-fed, organic meat. There’s more i’d like to do, but it is definitely more expensive, so you have to pick and choose I guess. Oh – also any sort of lotions/shampoos that go near Stella have been highly researched by me. it’s important!


  1. […] CJ (metholic) wrote a really interesting piece about how our environment could be contributing to our infertility issues in “is your shampoo keeping you from having babies?“ […]

%d bloggers like this: