What Is Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy?
With the controversy surrounding hormone replacement therapy
, some women choose to take herbal, natural, or plant-based products to alleviate their symptoms of menopause
. There currently is insufficient evidence to prove whether so-called "natural" hormone replacement therapy is helpful in relieving menopausal symptoms. It's important to tell your doctor if you are taking any of these treatments -- they may have side effects or make another drug not work as well.
Some of the most common natural hormone replacement choices include:
Soy as a Natural Therapy for Hormone Replacement
Soy contains phytoestrogens (estrogen-like substances from a plant). Some research has shown that soy food products can help with mild hot flashes
. The risks of taking soy, especially soy pills and powders, are not known. In addition, soy may not be safe for women with estrogen-dependent breast cancer
Other Sources of Phytoestrogens Used in Natural Hormone Replacement
As mentioned, phytoestrogens are estrogen-like substances found in some cereals, vegetables, legumes (beans), and herbs. These phytoestrogens work in the body like a weak form of estrogen. They might relieve some menopause symptoms
, but they could also carry risks similar to those of treatment with estrogen. This idea has not yet been fully explored or tested.
In addition to soy, other sources of phytoestrogens include herbs, such as: