Soy products okay for hot flashes?


Question from Bonnie: I was told to stay away from soy products since my breast cancer, and some advise to take it for hot flashes. What is safe?
Answers - Debra Barton There have been about 5 major placebo controlled studies looking at soy for hot flashes using anywhere from 50 mg of isoflavones to 150 mg of isoflavones. Most of the research has had women taking this from 4 weeks to 6 months, and most of the research shows that soy does not help hot flashes any more than a placebo does. In fact, the two positive studies had very mixed results. So the actual consensus from the North American Menopause Society is that there is not enough data at this time to support the use of soy for hot flashes.
Charles Loprinzi The pendulum has been swinging back and forth as to the safety vs. the harmfulness of soy in women with breast cancer. There are estrogen-type products in soy (called phytoestrogens). Soy has been on the list of agents that are thought to potentially prevent breast cancer and it has been recommended that it be studied for this situation. However, there are some test tube data suggesting that soy may cause breast cancer cells to grow. The bottom line from my standpoint at this point in time is that I do not recommend soy use to prevent breast cancer or for hot flashes. On the other hand, if a woman likes eating soy products in her diet, I do not feel there is information to recommend against that side either.

On Wednesday, March 20, 2002, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Managing Menopausal SymptomsCharles Loprinzi, M.D., Debra Barton, Ph.D., and Jennifer Griggs, M.D., M.P.H. answered your questions about hot flashes, vaginal dryness, loss of libido, and other symptoms associated with menopause.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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