Environmental oestrogens have been implicated in the pathogenesis of hormonally treated cancers (such as breast and prostate cancer), male infertility, and abnormalities of the male and female reproductive tracts. They may be derived from plants (phytoestrogens), pharmaceuticals, or other synthetic compounds not originally intended to have oestrogenic activity (including soy based infant formulas). This review will discuss the evidence from both animal studies and humans for an effect of these ubiquitous compounds on the development of the human female genital tract, in addition to prolonging the menstrual cycle, alleviating symptoms of the menopause, and protecting against the development of endometrial carcinoma.
- environmental oestrogens
- DDT, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane
- ER, oestrogen receptor
- FSH, follicle stimulating hormone
- LH, luteinising hormone
- ppm, parts per million
- SHBG, steroid hormone binding globulin
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