instead of or in addition to estrogen and progesterone?

I have been reading a lot about alternative treatment for menopause problems lately. My problems are not that bad actually; at least not yet (I'll turn 47 later this month, but I read somewhere that hypothyroid women tend to go through menopause a few years earlier than euthyroid women where the average age for the last period is 51 years).

So far, I have had irregular periods for the last year; my OB-Gyn prescribed Primolut-Nor which helped, but I don't want to continue taking it (my hormone doctor thought I never should never taken it in the first place).

I have been on Estrogel and natural progesterone (Utrogestan) for the past four years, not because of menopause, but as part of my adrenal fatigue treatment plan (along with Medrol and Testim, testosterone, which was discontinued after I saw my hormone doctor in August and it turned out my T levels were elevated; I cannot say I feel worse after I stopped taking it).

I am not afraid of taking hormones, especially not the bio-identical ones, but I have been looking into alternatives/complementary treatment alternatives lately.

I have read several times that Asian women going through the change have a lot less problems than Western women, for the simply reason that they eat a lot of soy products and tofu. However, I have always been told to stay away from soy when hypothyroid. Does anyone know if hypothyroid women can use soy products like soy milk or tofu to help them through the change; if it does tend to suppress thyroid function or, in our case, render replacement therapy less effective, maybe it would be enough just raising the dose slightly...?

I have also been reading a lot about a supplement called Monk Pepper or Agnus Castus. It is said to help with both infertility and menopause; in the latter case, especially if sweating is a problem, which it is to me.

I know I am not officially menopausal until I have not had a period in twelve consecutive months, and I had a period in September after taking the drug Primolut Nor. I have not taken it since, and I have not had a period since. Good riddance...I just want to make sure I don't take more drugs or even supplements than I have to, when maybe soy products (which I have avoided ever since finding out about my thyroid condition fifteen years ago) would do the trick...any input welcome.

12 Replies

  • you can look in to something called maca, it balances hormones naturally without adding any hence i used at the beginning and wish i had stayed on it hence in my own experience it is really hard to stop bhrt hormones of any kind once you are on them bec your body gets used to not having to do anything.....I have tried to go off and not been successful....some people take herbs like black cohosh evening primrose oil etc......

  • Thank you! I agree with you, it's very difficult to wean off those hormones once you are on them..:-(

  • As far as I know, Asian women don't eat lots of soy and tofu. 1998 survey showed that the amount of soy protein consumed in Japan was less than two teaspoons a day.

    They do use fermented soy products like tempeh and miso as seasoning, but not fake meat, soy milk etc. And also soya beans cooked as beans. And people who do eat more tofu (not a fermented product) have a higher incidence of cancer (I forget which one, possibly stomach). But they do eat far more seafood and sea vegetables (and vegetables in general).

    I fell for this and tried drinking miso soup and eating tofu and it did nothing for me.

    Also tried maca (probably also a goitrogen) and every other type of herbal remedy known to woman. Nothing worked except biohrt. However, I have central/secondary hypo and low cortisol, so perhaps I just don't make any hormones very well.

    For me, most successful (if you discount progesterone cream), was Agnus Castus and sage tea (but really none of them helped much).

  • Totally agree with you, Angel. It's a great big myth that Asian women eat a lot of soy, dreamed up by the evil Genius marketing people who are paid to sell soy to an unsuspecting occidental market. They Don't eat that much unfermented soy. They certainly Don't have it as a main meal!

    I'm pretty sure maca isn't a goitrogen, so Don't worry about that. But it didn't do anything for me, either - although I wasn't trying it for menopause. It just didn't do... anything.

    But I'm afraid I can't help with menopause, because I've no idea when mine was. I had a hysterectomy at 41, and just sailed through the menopause at some point, without so much as a hot flush. My mum said she was the same. Must be our genes!

  • Lucky you! My cousin was like me - terrible menopause, but both our mothers (sisters) had no real symptoms at all. Don't remember my maternal grandmother having any real problems either.

  • Well, I deserve some sort of a break, I think! Been hypo since I was a child. lol

    I've no idea about my grandmothers. One of them didn't live long-enough to get to menopause before the Hashi's got her! (Indirectly. Heart attack.) And the other one, I was much too Young to know anything about that sort of thing. But I'm pretty certain she had Hashi's too, in retrospect...

  • Miso is fermented, so better than unfermented soya, & is good source of B12. :)

  • Apparently miso doesn't contain B12. I always though it did and couldn't work out why I was so deficient. Dr mcdougall wrote:

    "Choosing a bioactive form of B12 is important. There are many B12-like substances called analogues found in food supplements, such as spirulina and other algae—these are ineffective and should not be relied upon. Foods fermented by bacteria, such as tempeh, and miso; as well as sea vegetables (nori), have been recommended as sources of B12. Miso and tempeh do not contain B12. Nori—the dried green and purple lavers commonly used to make sushi—has been tested and found to have substantial amounts of active vitamin B12 and has been recommended a 'most excellent source of vitamin B12 among edible seaweeds, especially for strict vegetarians.' (Nori obtains its B12 from symbiotic bacteria that live on it."

  • Thanks for that!!!

    Another food myth dispelled ~ eek! >:(

    Some of the miso I get has seaweed bits in, so I was hoping there'd be plenty of B12, & also iodine. Unfortunately, I prefer it without the seaweed, so will add that to my lengthening "list of things to eat because they're good for me".

    I've been making kefir for a while, as that has lots of B12, & also K2 that comes from fermented foods.


  • I don't think you can take HRT if you're menopausal, just when you're peri-menopausal, but someone might pull me up on that...

    I take a bioidentical HRT that was recommended by my friend's gynae sister. I wish I'd not already gone through 6 years of hell from my mid-40's, & been prescribed it in 1979!!!

    Agnus castus is good for hormonal issues as it's adaptogenic. I saw qualified medical herbalists for several years before starting HRT. The herbs they prescribe are better quality than OTC/healfood store herbs, & helped with all my "women's problems", PMS, sugar cravings, pains, & hot flushes. They're also trained in contraindications with prescribed western medicines, so importantly, there's no accidental clash with other meds you need to take.

    NDT aside, I'm veggie, so ate a massive quantity of tofu & soya milk for menopausal reasons, till I read it suppressed thyroid function. I've cut down, rather than cut it out, as it's good for protein, & I like the taste. For me, it made no difference whatsoever to my menopausal symptoms, even in huge quantities every day.

    Soya as a health food, is only supposed to be beneficial if it's fermented, so things like tempeh & miso are better than tofu & soya milk. Sadly, tempeh's not so easy to find where I live, so I have a tsp of miso every other day for B12.

    A major issue that I had, as well, was becoming vitamin D deficient. I thought the 150-200% RDA of D2 (synthetic ergocalciferol) from expensive organic soya milk was good for me, till blood tests flagged up a serious deficiency. This has affected my calcium uptake, teeth, & possibly bones. I now make sure I take D3 (natural cholecalciferol) in the winter, or if I don't get enough sunlight in summer.


  • I started biohrt after menopause as I couldn't stand the symptoms any more.

    Apparently miso does not contain B12 or even a B12 analogue.

  • I started during peri-menopause. I thought the menopause was when all the nasty business stopped?

    Thanks again for the miso info!

You may also like...