Can Soy Help With Hot Flashes?

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For a long time, dietary soy has been linked with reducing hot flashes: a common side effect of Menopause and Perimenopause in women. But is there any science to back this up?  There is, thanks to a study conducted by The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) and published in the online journal, Menopause.  However, there is a caveat:  according to the study, soy helps with hot flashes only in women whose bodies can produce soy metabolite equol.  Researchers estimate that 20% to 50% of women in North American and Europe have this ability. Also, the study showed that soy did not affect the severity of hot flashes, rather just the incidence of them.

Authors of the study were quick to point out that no conclusions should be drawn until the results of this study are confirmed by controlled, randomized clinical trials.  However, it does seem to support the theory that dietary soy does indeed play a role in hot flashes in Menopausal women.  With that being the case, it would not hurt to make sure that you include soy in your diet if you experience hot flashes on a regular basis.  Foods that contain soy include bean sprouts, edamame and soy milk.  However, before you make any significant changes to your diet, talk with your physician.  In addition to adding soy to your diet, there are a number of treatments that can be prescribed to help with hot flashes including hormonal and non hormonal treatments.

Hot flashes are often a normal part of Menopause.  However, this does not make them any less annoying.  If hot flashes are reducing your quality of life and making it difficult to work and care for your family, talk to your OBGYN today.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Carlos Alarcon, Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A.

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