A lot of women are taking soy supplements to help with the symptoms of menopause, because it contains a vegetable form of estrogen. However, new tests show it can reduce normal sexual behavior as much as 70%. Women may accept the end of fertility, but few want this to include the end of their sex lives as well.
Since the recent news about negative effects from prescription hormone replacement therapy (HRT), women are looking in health food stores for relief. Emily Singer writes in New Scientist that when rats were given a soy supplement in doses that were adjusted for their body size, their sexual behavior decreased dramatically. For some reason, the plant form of estrogen seems to reduce the levels of natural estrogen in the human body, which may be why Asian women, who eat a diet high in soy, have lower cancer rates. Estrogen-reducing breast cancer drugs, such as tamoxifen, have a similar effect on women.
Reseacher Heather Patisaul, who did the studies, thinks women taking the soy supplements may blame their lack of sex drive on menopause, and says, "?No one has asked these women about sexual side effects."
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