Question: Dear Monique, I am almost 50 years old. I am going through menopause at the present time. I have had uterine fibroids for probably 20 years. When I started going through menopause, they began to shrink and were down from a 14 week pregnancy size uterus to a 6 week size (according to my midwife practitioner). At this time she placed me on hormone therapy for my hot flashes.
After about 5 months, I began having terrible pain from the increase in size of the fibroids. I saw a ob-gyn doc who is known 'knife happy' and he recommended hysterectomy. That is what I have been trying to avoid all these years so I just quit taking the hormones, fibroids have shrunk back down due to the 'non feeding' and I am quite comfortable, except for the hot flashes.
To make a long story probably even longer.....my question is, if I used the alternative estrogen, soy, etc. products, will they also feed my fibroids and make them grow back large again? My periods are real irregular, but I occasionally have one, most of the time, I don't have them. I just don't want to mess up this shrinking process, but the flashes are ferocious. I am having trouble getting a straight answer from those that want to whittle on my female parts. Thanks, Cathy S.
Answer: Dear Cathy, Thank you for contacting me with your concerns about soy. I am not a doctor, but I think you should listen to your body and your gut feelings. Many women have found relief using soy for their menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. From what I have learned about the estrogen in soy is that it is able to fit into the estrogen receptors in your body, and by doing so, block the harmful effects that human estrogen has on your body and your fibroids. The phytoestrogen in soy is 100 to 1000 times weaker than human estrogen or HRT.
You will have to try it out for yourself to see if you get positive results. Each woman is unique and reacts differently to natural treatments. But considering your alternative (hysterectomy), I believe it is definitely worth the try.
Begin by adding 2-3 servings of soy to your daily diet for at least 6-8 weeks. It will take at least this long for you to notice any effects or benefits. Try soyfoods like tofu, tempeh, TVP, soymilk, miso and soynuts.
To help you incorporate more of these soyfoods into your diet, read my book Virtues of Soy: A Practical Health Guide and Cookbook, it has 169 soy based recipes.
You may also want to try soy protein bars and shakes. Just make sure it contains both soy protein and soy isoflavones.
To help you with your menopausal symptoms, you should try walking 20-30 minutes a day. This will help with your hot flashes and energy level. You may also want to try taking a cool shower before you go to sleep to bring your core temperature down.
For more information about uterine fibroids and natural treatments, I suggest that you go to ...
(1) The Women's Health website at http://womenshealth.about.com/cs/fibroidtumors/
(2) Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uterine_fibroids
For more information about menopause, read my article "COPING WITH MENOPAUSE NATURALLY: Alternatives to HRT" with recipe for "Golden Tofu Strips"
Also, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menopause
I hope these suggestions help. I truly believe that surgery should be your last resort -- after all other options and alternatives have been exhausted.
You may also want to visit the Virtues of Soy website.
As well as read my Q&A's ...
Menopause and soy?
Soy's estrogenic effects on females and endometriosis?
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Monique N. Gilbert, BSc. has offered guidance in health, nutrition, fitness and stress management since 1989. Through her writings, Monique motivates and teaches how to improve your well-being, vitality and longevity with balanced nutrition, physical activity and healthy stress-free living.