Ultrasonographic patterns of reproductive organs in infants fed soy formula: comparisons to infants fed breast milk and milk formula

J Pediatr. 2010 Feb;156(2):215-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2009.08.043. Epub 2009 Oct 21.


Objective: To determine if differences exist in hormone-sensitive organ size between infants who were fed soy formula (SF), milk formula (MF), or breast milk (BF).

Study design: Breast buds, uterus, ovaries, prostate, and testicular volumes were assessed by ultrasonography in 40 BF, 41 MF, and 39 SF infants at age 4 months.

Results: There were no significant feeding group effects in anthropometric or body composition. Among girls, there were no feeding group differences in breast bud or uterine volume. MF infants had greater (P < .05) mean ovarian volume and greater (P < .01) numbers of ovarian cysts per ovary than did BF infants. Among boys, there were no feeding group differences in prostate or breast bud volumes. Mean testicular volume did not differ between SF and MF boys, but both formula-fed groups had lower volumes than BF infants.

Conclusions: Our data do not support major diet-related differences in reproductive organ size as measured by ultrasound in infants at age 4 months, although there is some evidence that ovarian development may be advanced in MF-fed infants and that testicular development may be slower in both MF and SF infants as compared with BF. There was no evidence that feeding SF exerts any estrogenic effects on reproductive organs studied.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Bottle Feeding*
  • Breast / growth & development*
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Female
  • Genitalia / diagnostic imaging
  • Genitalia / growth & development*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Formula*
  • Isoflavones / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Organ Size
  • Ovary / diagnostic imaging
  • Ovary / growth & development
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostate / diagnostic imaging
  • Prostate / growth & development
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Soy Milk*
  • Soybean Proteins / adverse effects
  • Testis / diagnostic imaging
  • Testis / growth & development
  • Ultrasonography
  • Uterus / diagnostic imaging
  • Uterus / growth & development


  • Isoflavones
  • Soybean Proteins