Menopause

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Soy for Hot Flashes and Night Sweats? Depends Who You Ask

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As is always the case when it comes to the effectiveness of natural remedies for perimenopause symptoms, it depends on who you ask. It also depends on which study you want to cite. Such is the topic of soy to treat hot flashes and night sweats in perimenopausal women.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you right now that I drank soy milk for my own hot flashes and night sweats.  For me, it worked, so I am a supporter of soy for treating hot flashes and night sweats if it works for you.

I am well aware that soy poses potential health risks for some women due to the phyto-estrogens that are present in soy. For those women I would say, “Before you drink soy, consult your physician.”  I am also well aware that for many other women, soy is completely ineffective in getting rid of their hot flashes. To those women I would say, “Don’t drink it.”

There have been countless studies done on the effectiveness of soy on hot flashes.  Every single study I have read came to the same conclusion: soy appears to work for some women and does not appear to work for others.  Yet, for reasons that I still cannot completely understand, there are people who just get downright hostile over whether soy works or whether it doesn’t. 

For those who are anti-soy, CNN Health and a few other websites recently ran this story, citing a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Soy Isoflavones in the Prevention of Menopausal Bone Loss and Menopausal Symptoms.”

Not surprisingly, the study was not entirely conclusive.  When it came to the topic of bone loss and osteoporosis, researchers concluded soy was not effective.  With regards to whether soy actually helped with hot flashes and night sweats, the study cited that some women reported relief while others did not.

For what it's worth, I would like to point out that the FDA was involved in this study.  I would also like to point out that there continues to be a great divide among healthcare professionals when it comes to the effectiveness of alternative therapies for menopause symptoms which have not been approved by the FDA, compared to those remedies which have.

While I do not wish to be a rabble-rouser, I do think it is important to take these facts into consideration when evaluating the outcome of a particular study.

Now, for those, who like me, found some measure of relief from soy for their hot flashes, you might be interested in a recent study just published by the Chinese in the journal Menopause.

Without going into too much detail, I can tell you that the Chinese study revealed that out of 90 Chinese women who took soy germ isoflavones and kept a diary of how they felt,  40% noted a drop in hot flashes. For those women who received placebos, a 29% drop was reported.

Not surprisingly, American researchers have taken issue with the study. But, it all seems rather simple to me.  If soy works in reducing or eliminating your hot flashes and night sweats, as it did mine, then barring any other extenuating health concerns, by all means, drink it.  If it doesn’t work for you, then do not bother drinking it. See?  It’s that simple. Case closed.

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About the Author

Magnolia is dedicated to empowering women to take responsibility for their own health.

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