Well, it took me quite some time to find convincing research results about a question that keeps me awake at night: Is eating soy beneficial for regaining my period or not?
At first it’s important to find out about the cause and state of the specific amenorrhea.
Is it due to PCOS, hypothalamic amenorrhea or even menopause?
PCOS and hypothalamic amenorrhea are quite often misdiagnosed or mixed-up but they are different and so is their natural treatment.
The results of the hormone level tests I’ve done during my gynecologist and endocrinologist appointments within the past year plus the ACTH stimulation test I did recently have shown that my estradiol (hormone that promotes ovulation) level is constantly low, my body is able to ovulate but the hypothalamus is just not sending the signal to do it. In addition to every other symptom it led to the conclusion that I don’t have PCOS (nevertheless I do have polycystic ovaries) but hypothalamic amenorrhea.
In fact I’m probably under-eaten.
It’s not so much about the BMI but about what I eat.
Some years ago I cut off processed sugars and decreased white flour products and carbohydrates in general because my skin got really bad, my energy levels dropped rapidly and every month I had terrible PMS.
After I did that almost every symptom disappeared and I felt way better.
But probably 1 year ahead my bleedings stoped completely. I didn’t mind for quite a while, I was actually really happy about not having a period but after 6 months I got worried. My estradiol level was still okay back then.
Cutting carbs, my for a long time not noticed lack of vitamin D3, insomnia and emotional stress may have caused the amenorrhea and osteoporosis in fact.
I didn’t lose weight significantly nor did I overexercise so I thought underweight shouldn’t be a problem.
My terrible gynecologist told me every time I visited her desperately in need for advice to take birth control without taking me seriously or offering any education about risks and side effects or back-checking my other medical conditions and history.
I have been taking birth control in a pretty young age and I swore myself I won’t ever do it again because the side effects were just unbearable.
Her reason was that birth control might prevent osteoporosis and substitutes estradiol with a synthetic version so my body doesn’t need to produce its own and I will be fine.
In fact my body probably stops doing it forever and more important: studies have shown that birth control has actually no effect in stabilizing bone density or even increase the risk for osteoporosis (besides all the other horrible side effects of birth control pills).
After the scary osteoporosis diagnosis I decided to gain weight and reduce exercising for a while to regain my period naturally. I knew my D3 level has already stabilized which is also an important factor for bone density and a healthy cycle.
Once I turned pescevegan the amount of soy products, beans and legumes increased in my daily consumption. All of them have a larger amount of phytoestrogens (especially soy). I educated myself about phytoestrogens and thought they might help relieving the symptoms of low estradiol levels and regaining my period but I was not fully convinced.
I was afraid that it might cause the opposite because of a receptor binding competition.
I got a lot of wrong advice and it needed quite some effort to find out:
Phytoestrogens cannot correct the estrogen deficiency of hypothalamic amenorrhea. The treatment for hypothalamic amenorrhea is to promote ovulation by eating more (carbohydrates).
For amenorrhea caused by PCOS or post-menopausal conditions it might be beneficial instead.
Soy increases insulin resistance which is wanted to treat PCOS and for menopause it has more pro-estrogenic effects because the body isn’t producing a relevant amount of estradiol anymore and phytoestrogens can ease menopausal symptoms like night sweats, hot flush, hair loss, dramatical loss in bone density etc.
Long story short: I draw the conclusion that I will definitely avoid soy products (because they have the highest dense of phytoestrogens) until I regained my menstruation and my cycle stabilized.
Additionally I will increase the amount of carbohydrates without eating refined sugars anyhow plus continuing the substitution of vitamin D3, K2 and magnesium.
Lara Briden did some really good research in this topic as well:
I also ordered her promising book ‘Period Repair Manual’ already and I’m super curious about what she has to say in detail.
I will keep you posted about my self-experiment in the upcoming weeks. 😉