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Written by

Kate Dyson

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Kate is a content specialist who is passionate about women's health. She's also mum to three kids, two dogs and unsurprisingly, a lover of wine.

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Glossary

For words you might want to know more

Osteoporosis

After menopause, women face an increased risk of osteoporosis due to lower estrogen levels, which is critical for maintaining bone density.

Perimenopause

The transitional phase leading up to menopause characterised by fluctuating hormone levels and irregular but not completely halted menstrual periods.

Phytoestrogens

Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring plant compounds that are structurally similar to estrogen, the primary female sex hormone, and can mimic or modulate the body's estrogenic activity.

Can plant-based oestrogen REALLY ease menopause symptoms?

Menopause marks a significant natural transition for women, a new chapter that is characterised by the end of our periods and fertility.

Understanding the options available to treat and manage the symptoms of perimenopause (and beyond) is important - and in many cases, unless there is a medical issue preventing you from doing so, most women will opt for Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) which helps to restore the balance of hormones. In addition to HRT, you might want to explore the power of plant-based oestrogen, also known as Phytoestrogens.

Phytoestrogens can be consumed, whether through diet or supplementation - alongside traditional HRT. Phytoestrogens do not interfere with the effectiveness of HRT. It is important to note that phytoestrogens are NOT a replacement for HRT; they don't offer the same protection for bone or heart health, but supplements that contain soy isoflavones, a form of phytoestrogen, show benefits in restoring the health of particular organs, such has the bladder.

How do Phytoestrogens work in the body?

Phytoestrogens are plant-derived compounds that mimic the activity of oestrogen in the body. Found in various foods like soy, flaxseeds, and some grains, these compounds bind to 'oestrogen receptors'. Oestrogen receptors are proteins that are in or on cells that attach to substances in our blood, and they are found in the reproductive tract and breasts as you'd expect, but also in tissues as diverse as bone, brain, liver, colon, skin, and salivary gland.

Phytoestrogens have a weaker action in the body than our natural oestrogen but there is evidence that shows that these plant-based compounds can help balance hormone levels - especially as natural oestrogen starts to decline.

How can I get more phytoestrogen in my diet?

Ensuring that you are eating a diet that is rich in phytoestrogen is a good place to start harnessing the benefits. Foods such as soybeans, tofu, tempeh, and linseed (flaxseed) are excellent sources.

However, it's not always easy or sustainable to be able to ensure that you are eating a phytoestrogen-rich diet daily, and for those leading busy lives, supplementation can help as an alternative or to boost your current diet.

If you have a specific issue such as Bladder weakness, phytoestrogen-based supplements can be a godsend for targeting specific issues such as a weak pelvic floor. When complimented with exercise and lifestyle changes, Jude's Bladder Strength Supplement helps to strengthen, protect and soothe the pelvic floor and bladder.

Can Phytoestrogens replace Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)?

HRT is a common and accessible treatment for menopausal symptoms. For most women, it's the gold standard treatment for managing the decline in oestrogen and subsequent symptoms. It doesn't stop menopause, but it helps to mitigate some of the impact on the heart, cognitive function, bone health and skin and hair.

Phytoestrogens aren't a replacement for HRT. They don't mimic natural hormones as body identical hormone therapy does, and there's little research or evidence to show that they offer protection against heart disease or osteoporosis, which women are at much greater risk of post menopause. There is more research that shows some relief from typical menopausal symptoms - ie hot flashes, brain fog, night sweats - as a result of taking phytoestrogens.

However, there are many women who are advised or unable to take HRT. Women who have had deep vein thrombosis, or liver problems, or gynaecological issues such as Endometriosis are cautioned against taking HRT.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides guidelines on the use of HRT, highlighting the importance of individualised treatment choices, but it's important to discuss any supplementation that you are taking for menopause with your GP.

When might Phytoestrogens not be suitable for me?

Phytoestrogens are generally safe, and they don't interfere with HRT, so adding them generally into your routine shouldn't be a problem. However, there are situations where they might not be advisable. For instance, women with a history of hormone-sensitive cancers, such as breast cancer, should user phytoestrogens cautiously and always consult their GP before starting any new routine.

Hormonal conditions, such as Endometriosis, PCOS and Adenomyosis are also thought to be potentially affected by phytoestrogen consumption, although further research is still needed into this area. If you have any of these conditions, ensure that you speak to your GP, gynaecologist or dietitian.

Jude’s clinically proven supplements give you better bladder and pelvic floor control, helping you sleep through the night and regain the freedom to live life on your own terms. With just one capsule morning and night, you'll have relief from need-to-go urgency in just 12 weeks.

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