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What is Endocrine Disruption?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Endocrine disruption is a medical issue characterized by disruption in the function of the endocrine system. There can be a number of reasons for the endocrine system to fail to function as it normally does. Many people think specifically of disruption caused by chemicals known as endocrine disruptors when they hear about endocrine disruption. Malfunctions in the endocrine system can have very serious consequences.

The endocrine system is a network of glands which produces hormones. These hormones are one of the key communication systems of the body, working over time to keep the body stable and functioning. Hormones are especially tied in with growth and development, and also play a role in immune function and other functions of the body. If the endocrine system is not functioning normally, the body can become severely impaired.

When people are exposed to endocrine disruptors, these chemicals act like hormones in the body, confusing the endocrine system. In the mid-20th century, scientists began to express growing concerns about the prevalence of endocrine disruptors, pointing to problems in plant and animal populations which could be hormonal in origin. A number of chemicals have since been identified as potential causes for endocrine disruption, including both natural and human-produced chemicals.

Endocrine disruption is a problem for organisms at all stages of development. For young organisms which are rapidly developing, disruption of the endocrine system can lead to serious issues with development. For adult organisms, the normal regulatory functions of the endocrine system can be impaired, leading to health issues caused by hormone in balances. During fetal development, endocrine disruption can potentially lead to fatal or very severe birth defects.

A greater understanding of the endocrine system and the ways in which it can be impaired has led to tighter controls around the world on substances which can cause endocrine disruption. Some have been banned, while others are severely restricted, as they are recognized as being of value, but also dangerous.

Tests can be run to determine whether or not someone is experiencing endocrine disruption. These tests can check for levels of natural hormones in the body and also look for the presence of endocrine disruptors which may be interfering with the endocrine system. These tests can be used diagnostically to explore why someone appears to be experiencing a hormone problem, and they can also be used as a precaution to screen people who may have been exposed to chemicals which could impair endocrine function for early signs of medical issues.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By anon281605 — On Jul 24, 2012

I am a visitor on a website where health issues and different techniques for health benefits are discussed.

There is now a heated discussion about a new or reinvented Chinese technique called Lajin-Paida

The technique exists in two applications. One is for stretching of the meridians through stretching the legs in a certain way. The other one (and this is the one the discussion is about) is to slap yourself on every joint of the body for about a minute or so. This will stimulate the meridians, also.

The issue is there is a woman on the forum who is sure that this method, if applied every day (the slapping), will disrupt the endocrine system, because every time the person slaps him or herself, there would be a release of endorphins.

She said if the body is forced to release endorphins, it feels good, and non-invasive energy work also feels good, but for a different reason, and the body isn't forced to release the endorphins.

Could this be true? Could this slapping cause an disruption of the endocrine system?

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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