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Soy Isoflavones for Menopause, Especially Vaginal Dryness

Updated on September 10, 2016

Menopause can be a challenging time of a woman's life because of hot flashes or flushes, mood swings, insomnia, decreased sex drive, and vaginal dryness.

Soy isoflavones (plant version of the female hormone estrogen) have been suggested to help. Research evidence for isoflavone effectiveness has been mixed. Effectiveness may be linked to an individual woman's ability to convert isoflavones to equol (which can be tested for in urine). Isoflavones seem better able to prevent vaginal dryness and resulting painful intercourse than other menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes.

Some specific isoflavones are daidzin, daidzein, glycitin, glycitein, genistin, and genistein.

Women who make equol out of isoflavones are subject to isoflavone side effects of a slightly increased risk of breast cancer and endometrial hyperplasia (a thickening of the lining of the uterus which can lead to cancer).

I have used soy isflavones from Pilgrim's Pride in an amount equal to 69 mg. isoflavones per day with excellent results in helping vaginal dryness. As expected, I still had the occasional hot flash. There is no need to test your urine for equol. If isoflavones work for you, you know you produce equol and therefore also run the risk of serious side effects.

Less serious possible side effects include nausea, bloating, and constipation. Allergic reactions with rash and/or breathing problems may also occur.

Other methods to try for vaginal dryness include K-Y Jelly and its generics or prescription vaginal estrogen, which is available as a cream, tablet, or ring. Vaginal estrogen is thought to have fewer side effects than oral estrogen, as less gets into the blood stream.

I currently use a vaginal estrogen ring called Estring, which only needs to be changed once every three months. The soy isoflavones were more economical, but I am betting on less systemic side effects with topical estrogen.

If we lived in a perfect world, there would be a study comparing the side effects of vaginal estrogen to side effects of soy isoflavones in women who produce equol.

Check with your doctor about all supplements you take.


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    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i thought eating well balance foodcould help overcome menoause without flushes, . great news thanks

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 4 years ago from northeastern US

      thanks for the good wishes, marie.

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 4 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      Having gone through a near-death experience and being 61 years of age, I experience whole body dryness. I drink plenty of water and eat soy routinely, including TVP (texturized vegetable protein). I've just started to incorporate yoga asanas back into my life, but hydration and especially enzymatic digestive juices seem to be very low. (I have a good deal of flatulence due to inefficient digestion.) With Violet Flame and my gluten-free vegan diet, I don't worry about cancer, and there was little family history of it. But how to rehydrate and help the digestion? Short courses of probiotics don't even seem to help.

      I'm glad you found some success with the soy isoflavones. I only wish I could figure out a solution to my dilemma, so I'm looking forward to more hubs from you. --Blessings!

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 5 years ago from northeastern US

      happy for you.

    • Rfordin profile image

      Rfordin 5 years ago from Florida

      Yes. I actually ended up adopting my "first" and then when she was 7 months old SURPRISE I was pregnant. I now have two beautiful daughters 15 months apart :). Thanks for asking.....


    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 5 years ago from northeastern US

      hi, becky,

      thanks for reading and commenting. did you succeed in having kids? i hope so.

    • Rfordin profile image

      Rfordin 5 years ago from Florida

      Interesiting enough soy isoflavones are also compared to a fertility drug known as clomid.... Back in my trying to concieve days many of my friends who were also having issues along the fertility lines achieved success using them simillary to clomid as a regimine.

      Interesting that soy helps with other female issues as well.

      I know that soy has also been linked to an increase in estrogen which seems to bring on puberty early in young girls so I guess everything has it's positives and negatives assocaited with it.

      Thanks for sharing this useful info!