For a woman, life is often defined by stages and changes. During childbearing years, for roughly 40 years, this stage is defined by monthly menstruation which bring on mood swings, cramps and other menstrual related symptoms. It would bear to reason that the next stage should be easy but it's not - menopause may mean no more monthly visits from Aunt Flo but this stage carries it's own set of undesirable symptoms. For those wary of the risks associated with hormone replacement therapy, recent studies have revealed that all-natural soy may be just as effective in relieving symptoms of menopause.
Contrary to popular belief, menopause is not just the cessation of menstrual periods. It is a transition from an estrogen-fueled body to one that no longer produces estrogen regularly. Your biological clock stops ticking and your body enters a state similar to reproductive retirement. Which doesn't sound so bad until you get into the side effects.
For many years, the only true relief for menopause symptoms was hormone replacement therapy (HRT). However, the National Library of Medine confirms that HRT may increase the risk of breast cancer, heart disease and stroke. For this reason, natural remedies are being sought after more than ever. There are several over the counter medicines and treatments that have proven helpful for many people such as progesterone cream, black cohosh, and chasteberry, but one of the most popular is soy.
Soy is rich is phytoestrogens, plant compounds that seem to mimic the biological activities of female hormones. It is also rich in nutrients such as protein, which can preserve muscle mass and stave off atrophy-related slowing of the metabolism. According to Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, phytoestrogens from soy have been shown to reduce hot flashes and protect against age-related diseases such as osteoporosis, heart disease, and cancer.
A study published in Maturitas revealed that women who added soy to their diet could experience similar relief from menopause as they would from HRT. 60 healthy women from the ages of 40 to 60 were given either 90 mg of isoflavones, 1 mg of HRT, or a placebo for 16 weeks. All women experienced relief from hot flashes, muscle pain, and psychological symptoms such as irritability and fatigue. Relief was greatest in the two groups who received either soy or HRT. The difference is soy is affordable, all natural, and does not carry the health risks potentially associated with HRT.
Soy can be found in tofu, soy beans, and supplements in powder or capsule form. Everyone is different so it is important to discuss with your physician available choices to treat symptoms of menopause. Along with HRT, another choice is bioidentical hormone replacement but adding more soy to your diet may be an easy way to start addressing menopausal symptoms. What have you got to lose - hot flashes, irritability, fatigue?