Introduction: Menopause is associated with many unpleasant symptoms which vary in different phases of menopausal transition. Although, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is considered the most effective mode of treatment for these symptoms, its use is associated with increased risk of breast cancer, endometrial cancer and thromboembolic events. Soy isoflavones are being widely used as a safer alternative to HRT, even though scientific evidence of their efficacy is poor or lacking.
Aim: To study the effect of soy isoflavone supplementation on the menopausal symptoms in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women.
Materials and methods: An observational pilot study was done involving 29 perimenopausal and 21 postmenopausal women prescribed 100 mg soy isoflavones for 12 weeks. Menopause Rating Scale (MRS) questionnaire was administered to the patients before starting soy isoflavone therapy and at the end of treatment. Responses were analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software 23.0.
Results: Total score of both the groups were comparable at baseline. Among perimenopausal women highest score was given to symptoms of psychological domain. Urogenital symptoms were the worst among postmenopausal women. After 12 weeks of treatment, total scores improved significantly by 19.55% and 12.62% in the perimenopausal and postmenopausal women respectively. The greatest improvement was seen in scores of hot flashes for both the groups and the least improvement was shown by symptoms of urogenital subscale.
Conclusion: Soy isoflavone improves the MRS score among both the perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. As they are most effective for somatic and psychological symptoms, their use could be beneficial during perimenopause.
Keywords: Alternative medicine; Hormone replacement therapy; Menopausal symptoms.