Thursday, 17 July 2014

Shampoo, creams,lotions - A Cause For Male Infertility !!

It is a shocking news that the shampoos and creams we use everyday, which we consider harmless can be a cause for  infertility and even testicular cancer in boys even before they are born. The culprit is Phthalates commonly found in  skin lotions, shampoos, conditioners, make-up, perfumes, nail polish, hair spray etc. Phthalates is rarely listed as an ingredient on the bottle, so most of the time we are unwittingly using them

Phthalates are hormone-disrupting chemicals. Numerous studies conducted worldwide have confirmed that they are toxic to reproductive system and have other side effects. Phthalates reduce female fertility and can cause premature breast development in young women. Phthalates in a mother’s body can affect the fetal development of her child. Pregnant ladies who are exposed to high levels of phthalates are more likely to have sons with altered genital development and altered levels of testosterone.

 This chemical disrupts the male hormone testosterone at a crucial stage of foetal development and doubles the rate of defects. In men, phthalates lower sperm counts, reduce sperm motility and damage sperm. The alarming increase of reported cases of testicular cancer may also be attributed to this chemical. Women of reproductive age were found to have higher level of Phthalates in their body; the reason could be the growing use of cosmetics and plastic products. Phthalates have also been linked to obesity, as they can also act as endocrine disruptors. Statistics show that in the last 50 years, infant boys diagnosed with genital abnormality have doubled. By  using some brands of shampoo and  make-up, the pregnant women are unknowingly increasing the risk of their sons suffering defective sex organs, low sperm counts and even cancer.


Phthalates are used to make plastics soft and flexible. A 2002 study tested 72 cosmetic products from major U.S. brands found phthalates in nearly 75% of them. None of them had the word phthalates on the label. The only remedy for this Gordian knot is to reduce our exposure to phthalates by avoiding Vinyl and PVC plastic and choosing  phthalate - free cosmetics. Alternatives like Shikkakkai and herbal powders can be used for shampoos, dye can be substituted with natural henna  and homemade fruit face packs and honey can be used to replace chemical rich cosmetic creams. The  health and wellbeing of the future generation is in our hands, so taking a little extra effort will ensure our children will be hale and healthy.

Dr. Anita Mani
Infertility& Surrogacy Specialist at Gift IVF Centre

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