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What are phytoestrogens, and how can they help menopausal women?

Phytoestrogens are estrogens from plants. Some women eat specific foods that contain phytoestrogens to get the estrogenic effects. The food most commonly known to contain phytoestrogen is soy, but beans, peas, lentils, and whole grains and seeds, especially flaxseed, rye, and millet, also contain these plant estrogens.

We have relatively little evidence to support claims for the effectiveness of phytoestrogens and even less information about their safety. Alternatives like these are much less likely to be studied in formal research trials than drugs are, but there are some data from both observational and randomized controlled trials. Some studies have shown that eating foods with phytoestrogens provides modest relief from hot flashes, and some studies have found that eating phytoestrogens causes changes in vaginal cells, which are similar to the changes caused by taking estrogen, and could relieve discomfort.

Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause

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Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause

FROM THE EDITORS OF THE CLASSIC "BIBLE OF WOMEN'S HEALTH," A TRUSTWORTHY, UP-TO-DATE GUIDE TO HELP EVERY WOMAN NAVIGATE THE MENOPAUSE TRANSITION For decades, millions of women have relied on Our...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.