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Why Are Soy Products So Bad for Endometriosis?

Yarrow for endometriosis

I often get women asking me why I suggest cutting out soy milk and any soy products from their diet. The main reason I recommeded this initially was because they contain isoflavones or phytoestrogens which essentially mimic our estrogen levels. Over time, this causes an excess of estrogen in the body and our symptoms with endometriosis become much worse, rather than better.


That was my basic understanding of soy and I have been avoiding it ever since. Today however, I received an article from a website I subscribe to from Dr.Mercola. You should seriously subscribe because it has some awesome information about our health!


What I read in there about soy totally scared me!

It basically states that we have endometriosis because of soy products and that soy products are not just in milk but in many foods that we currently might be consuming, especially if we are replacing our diet with vegetarian options!


The problem starts with how the soy is produced. Most of the soy beans are farmed in the USA and are genetically modified. There are now over 72 million acres of soy farmland in the States! What they have done is created a bean that is designed to withstand heaps of herbicides without dying! The main ingredient in these herbicides is an ingredient called glyphosate which is responsible for MASSIVE problems! It disrupts our natural hormonal balance by producing even more estrogen! It is a toxin and disrupts the placenta within women who are carrying a child. This damage causes miscarriages! The growth of the unborn child are also affected.


The sad thing is we are told that soy is a great natural alternative, especially if you have decided to become vegetarian. Unfortunately, the amount of foods that now contain this ingredient is frightening! Everything from tofu, soy milk, soy yoghurt, soy cheese, protein bars, protein shakes and even breakfast cereals contain it. Recognise MSG? TSF(textured soy flour) and Licithin? All the same stuff!

What is also scary is that they tested all this on rats, just to make sure, and guess what? It was directly linked to endometriosis.

Read this article:


Direct links to endometriosis!

  • Retrograde menstruation
  • Abnormal or heavy menstrual periods
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Damage to the pituitary gland
  • Digestive problems
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety and mood swings
  • Food allergies

Wow! How scary is that?

Now, what do we do?


Here is my solution:

Make it or grow things yourself!

That is really the only way you know where things have come from and what is in them! How can we trust anything anymore?

Here are other great sources of protein that don’t need to be soy or meat:

  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Quinoa
  • Maca Root

We have got the means to decide what we buy. Be informed. Read the label and if it’s packaged with clever marketing, be even more weary!

Would love to hear your experiences with soy. Have you been eating it? Drinking it? What about protein shakes?

Hugs, Melissa x
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This Post Has 43 Comments

  1. Melissa

    I am so sorry to hear of this experience. That is just horrible. I would work on getting the imbalances corrected naturally by looking at supporting your liver better before opting for surgery hun. There are many ways to fix things, besides just cutting stuff out 🙂

  2. Melissa

    It is quite possible it has affected you as a daily meal replacement with soy is probably far too much.

  3. Jean

    I’ve just posted here. I think my post menopausal dormant endo has just flared again because I used soya meal replacement shakes

  4. Jean

    I had a very late diagnosis of endometriosis after having pain for 20 years. At the age of 46 I had a laparoscopy which confirmed endo and the surgeon used diathermy to burn a lot of the plaques off of my ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus. Within 4 days of the surgery I began to have menopause symptoms. After trying HRT and suffering more endo symptoms I decided to stop using it. I have been post menopausal for 13 years. Fast forward to this January when I decided to use a Soya meal replacement diet. Within 3 months my previously dormant fibrocystic breast disease returned (diagnosed on a routine mammogram) and I now have pelvic pain which feels just like the endo which has been dormant through the last 12 years. I also managed to have a recurrence of hashimotos thyroid symptoms which had also been under control for the last 10 years. Please be careful with these meal replacement diets. The people selling them are well meaning, but they are not medical professionals and can’t possibly know the effects they may have on your existing conditions. I suspect that the only way that I can resolve my pain is with more surgery now. And by the way, because of my existing conditions I didn’t lose much weight anyway.

  5. Caroline

    At first when I was educated on what causes/effects endometriosis I was disheartened. I have began adopting a different approach. Phasing things out and reading labels. I am dairy, gluten and yeast free. That alone has made a massive difference. I am awaiting surgery as I have a soiled mass in my left ovary. It took severe pain and this second round of surgery for me to wise up. Don’t get disheartened. There’s loads to eat and natural beauty/cleaning alternatives. You can master your health. Thanks for this info ?

  6. Anonymous

    I was just reflecting on whether or not soy had triggered my Endo when I came upon this post. In my early 20s I took to having daily soy protein shakes to lose weight and while it did help with the weight loss my Endo symptoms truly began around this time. I have only recently started to learn about the links to soy and estrogen response and now I am almost certain that this was a major contributing factor to my Endo. Thanks for the great info regarding this.

  7. Melissa

    It is a good study but it doesn’t address women who already have endometriosis and the further use of these within the body. Hormone imbalance is not a key component of what we focus on anymore with addressing endometriosis. This article was published in 2007, which is over 10 years old. We have since discovered that endometriosis relates to inflammation and specifically the auto-immune response aspect. Hormone imbalance is more of a symptom than a key factor.

  8. Romane

    I’ve read a lot of your articles, thanks for all your advises, there is a lot of thing that I didn’t know and a lot wich are true. I just disagree with this one (I just want to help and not to blame your blog, I know that there is a lot of sources which are saying that isoflavones and phytoestrogens are bad and I don’t understand why, the results of the scientific investigations are really clear regarding these compounds.

  9. Romane

    Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2007. Effect of Soy Isoflavones on Endometriosis: Interaction with Estrogen Receptor 2 Gene Polymorphism Epidemiology. 18(3):402-408
    Conclusion of this study: Dietary isoflavones may reduce the risk of endometriosis among Japanese women.
    The reduced risk of endometriosis following ingestion of soy isoflavones may be attributable to antiestrogenic properties of these compounds. You can read the publication, it’s really interesting.

  10. Andria

    I recently decided enough was enough with the pain from endometriosis I experience every month. And so I started searching for what to do and came across your site and quite a few others. Thank you for so much information! It has been so helpful with changing how I eat. Since switching to a cleaner diet I’ve noticed the same thing in the number of products that contain soy and salt! It’s crazy, now I read every label before purchasing and have opted to make things at home with fresh ingredients to control what goes in. It’s no wonder so many women are suffering, they probably don’t even know that the excess estrogen in everything is throwing their hormones out of wack! Something I’m going to try incorporating into this endo friendly nutrition is more of other cultures cooking like Caribbean. With a few tweaks like type of oil used, they have many flavorful vegetarian recipes! Thanks again! & good luck all of you in healing your bodies from endo!

  11. Melissa

    Quite possibly – so many products have it in it and it is often used in meat replacement foods.
    However, I would also explore adhesion pain as a possible explanation.

  12. Jules

    Endometriosis was surgically removed from my body five years ago during my hysterectomy. Six months ago I opted a plant-based lifestyle. I am beginning to experience pain and intestinal issue much like my pre-hysterectomy days. SOY?!?

  13. Michelle

    I was diagnosed with endometriosis this past February after my husband and I failed to conceive. Since then I have been doing loads of research to help modify my diet and lifestyle. In addition to modifying what I put into my body, I am also making changes to what I use on my body and trying to eliminate the chemicals used in household products. I recently came across some shampoos and conditioners that are supposed to be clean, but several of them have disclaimers that say they contain soy or gluten ingredients. I know I am not ingesting the shampoo, but surely these ingredients make their way into my system. Should I avoid the use of body products that contain such things?

  14. Linda

    I was diagnosed with 4th stage endometriosis when I was 28. The doctor said it was the worst he’d ever seen at the time. I agree that it was soy that caused my endometriosis. Heres my story. I started my period when I was 10. I was 14 and a 1/2 before my first painful period. What changed in my life? I was sent to a boarding school that served lots of soy. My cramps progressively got worse and worse with each passing month. I had no clue and no one else did either. I went from boarding school to a college that only served vegetarian in the calf. (my dad was vegetarian, but we did not have many soy products in our house, they were very expensive, we got our protein from our small dairy farm, eggs, organic raw milk, beans and nuts.) I had two laparoscopies hoping that that would help me enough to get pregnant. It did not and in 2004 I had a THA with BSO. At the time there wasn’t much out there and the internet was just getting popular. One of my girlfriends from boarding school had the same experience. Two more were diagnosed with breast CA.

  15. FIONA

    Thank-you Melissa and all those who contributed in comments. I have stage 4 endometriosis and had an unusually painful night last night. Upon prompting from a friend I began looking at my diet and see it as no coincidence that a couple of days ago I ate tofu at a health shop(something I did for the first time. In fact I had him leave it out of my order of salad but then went back for it) and yesterday I had a bowl of oatmeal with soya milk (bought for the first time from the same health shop!). Last night I randomly came across a site saying avoid soya & this morning I came across your site. Oh,i almost forgot to say i also had several cheese sandwiches yesterday (the dairy…)which was also unusual eating for me (hence the link to what you’re saying makes sense). All of this food i ate in the last 48hrs is whilst i am on my period. No wonder i was in the worst pain i have ever felt since. I’ve also been increasing my sugar intake for the last few months so it’s time to change my diet. Thanks for making and confirming the connection!

  16. Nikki

    This is another great reason to stop with the soy … My paternal aunt was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer at 35 years old and after seeing so many oncologists she finally got one that specialized in not only breast cancer but women’s health. She was told that because of the increased levels of estrogen in soy products, some of the birth control she had taken, and other products with heightened levels of hormones that that was the cause of her cancer. She has always been one of the healthiest people I know. She runs. She was a gymnast who was still that flexible at 35 after having 2 children! She has always eaten very healthy. Other than a love for good red wine (and maybe a little too much of it), she was seriously one of healthiest people I knew before her cancer. That experience has obviously changed other areas of her health. I didn’t want to believe at first all of the things her doctor was telling her can create hormonal imbalances in women and lead to all kinds of health problems including “womenly” cancers! Be careful everyone!

  17. Princess_Mia

    Great post! I went vegan for a few years awhile back (I did a stint as both soy and soy free vegan to see if there was a difference). When I went soy free I discovered shan tofu. That stuff is amazing! And it’s super easy to make (it’s basically just chick-pea flower).

    Now when I get a craving for tofu I go for shan tofu. It’s got a different texture and flavor, but it’s a pretty good substitute for anyone avoiding soy tofu.

  18. Robin

    I also do not like cows milk buy I have endometriosis and pcos. I use almond milk, coconut milk, flax milk and hemp milk instead of soy milk. Maybe you could try those, the coconut with no added sugar in vanilla is amazing

  19. Melissa

    Hi Aurelie,
    I can agree, that there are certain differences in the quality of what we are eating 🙂
    I know that fermented soy products are actually quite good for us – probably where all the research comes from!
    Pleasure 🙂

  20. aurelie

    hello Melissa! Thank you for this article! I am very aware of the danger of modern soy products. There is a reason why asian people ferment soy for weeks and even months before they consume it….. when i was a vegetarian, i started drinking soy milk too and it made me really sick, after eating/drinking it i would feel really tired and bloated. But i also think milk is not as bad as people think. Modern processed milk make people sick because it is bad quality. but if you get nice organic raw milk, i think for most people it is a very healthy food. it not because water is polluted that water is bad for you and its not because vegetables are coverd in pesticides that they are bad for you…..you see what i mean? Food is all about quality and it is exactly the same thing with meat in y opinion.
    Keep on the good research and info Mel!!! thank you for you work!!

  21. Melissa

    Hi Katherine,
    It could certainly also be the BC 🙂 hope you figure it out.

  22. Katherine

    I just recently added soy to my diet after hearing so many articles and studies about how bad cows milk is for you, but now that ive read this some recent events in my life are starting to connect. I recently changed bc( 4 periods a year) and my first period was fine and then sometime inbetween my first and second period i added soy milk. My second period was horrible and my third was not so nice either, i thought maybe it was the bc, which it still could be, but i may try eliminating soy this next few months and see if that makes a difference.

  23. Melissa

    Wow! That is amazing! I am discovering more and more how much we should avoid oestrogens in our diets 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  24. Terry

    I stopped eating daily cereal with soy protein and my endometriosis pain went away. I was on Lupron for a year prior to that. Once off Lupron, the pain returned and didn’t stop until I eliminated soy from my diet!

  25. Melissa

    Wow! Such an instant reaction from chips! Frightening!

  26. Julie

    I was diagnosed with rectovaginal endometriosis and have suffered cramps in my bowls and uterus for many years. I had an operation and all symptoms disappeared. The other day, I had doritos chilli flavour and suddenly all pain came back in my bowels after 2 years of no pain. I read the ingredients and it said it contained a significant amount of soya. I have realised that everytime I eat soya, I get this pAin. Avoid soya!!!

  27. Melissa

    I totally agree! I have started my winter garden already 🙂 It is really the only way we can guarantee what we are getting. We decide what goes in the soil, what we protect the plants with and they are super fresh 🙂 Unfortunately, it does make it hard to trust anything you can buy at a supermarket.

  28. Sara

    Good info! I have been avoiding soy since you told us to, except the occasional italian soy sausage with sauerkraut lol… I used to eat tons of the stuff though, and I was in teen years so i am sure that mucked with things. I cannot believe all those years I thought I was eating healthy. I remember my mom buying me weight loss shakes and what not and those were probably high in all sorts of artificial flavors and colors and soy and sugar….gross! That was years ago but I am sure those poor eating habits and all the soy (and maybe birth control pills too?) contributed to, if not caused, this darned endo.I am outraged at our government for allowing such destructive practices to occur with our food. Food is the new poison, it is scary. I think we need to grow more of our own food and eat organic, it is the only way really for the long haul…

  29. Melissa

    Hi Gracie. That sounds really interesting. Funny I had not heard of it since I live in New Zealand 🙂
    Thanks for sharing. Will look into it some more.

  30. Gracie

    I too am a sufferer of Endo. I have gone through 1 laparotomy to remove 2 cysts from my right ovary in 2010 but after my 3-month Lucrin shots, the endo pain was still there.

    I’d just like to share that I’ve just started on Alpha Lipid’s Colostrum (cow’s first milk) powdered drink. I was introduced to it by my husband’s aunt. I have consumed it for 18 days now. My first period after taking colostrum, the pain is less severe than the ones I normally have. I am still taking painkillers though the pain is less. I have read that many consumers of Alpha Lipid’s colostrum have been healed of their Endometriosis pain after their 2nd or 3rd canister. So, I’m hoping that this will be the case for me! So wish me luck!

    And just to let you know, Alpha Lipid’s colostrum drink is derived from cows in New Zealand. Like Belinda implied, countries like Australia and New Zealand have the strictest guidelines and practices for rearing cows. The colostrum is derived from only pasture-fed cows that are pesticide, antibiotic and hormone-free.

  31. Melissa

    Hi SJT. I guess it depends on how you look at it. I think those things are bad for most people and they perhaps don’t really realize it until much later in life. We have a real opportunity to be healthy and treat our body well, even if it is endo pain that encourages us to do this 🙂

  32. SJT

    Thanks you guys! I was just curious about the whole dairy consumption issue. I can’t believe that is not illegal in the United States! Does this mean most dairy products are best to avoid? (Going hypochondriac now) How much is it that we endo sufferers have to cut out? I’ve heard soy and dairy, but I’ve also heard of things like meat being bad for you as well as gluten or sugars. . . it’s really too bad there’s not just a cure for this thing, because it seems like a lot of things to sacrifice for it- though I suppose it beats constant pain.

  33. Melissa

    Hi Belinda, thanks for pointing that out. I had no idea it was so well regulated here and in Australia. Unfortunately our poor girls from the states aren’t so lucky!
    I guess it is not so much about it being “biodynamic” but more that it aggravates the hormone balances in our body which causes extra pain. I miss milk too 🙂 Especially cheeses but the pain just aint worth it for me!

  34. Belinda

    I would like to comment on the claim that cows have been “pumped with hormones, anti-biotics and all sorts of stuff”.

    Being a former dairy farmer in Australia (and this also applies in the UK), I know for a fact that cows are NOT given hormones to make them produce more milk. This is actually allowed in the US and some other countries but certainly not in the UK, Australia and I’m 90% sure that it is illegal in New Zealand as well.

    If a cow is treated with anti-biotics the milk it is only to combat a health problem like mastitis. There is a very strict withholding period which means that any milk a cow produces, while being treated and for up to 7 days from the finish of treatment, is not allowed to be used for human consumption and that contaminated milk is sent straight down the drain.

    Milk processing companies will test the milk and if the bacteria count is too high or traces of anti-biotics or other drugs are found then the farmer can either be fined or lose their contract, so it is in the farmer’s best interest to ensure that the milk is not contaminated.

    Something that may be of interest to readers who love their dairy is organic “biodynamic” milk which tastes beautiful and many people who have had difficulty digesting supermarket brands of regular milk have giving glowing reports of biodynamic milk.

  35. Melissa

    Milk and dairy are said to aggravate the pain we have every month with our period. I shall do a longer explanation shortly but essentially it encourages the Prostaglandin 2 hormones to be more active which basically stimulate inflammation. So, not one we want to encourage. I also don’t like milk because it comes from cows and they have been often been pumped with hormones, anti-biotics and all sorts of stuff, which we land up drinking. The best is Almond milk but not always easy to find or make. I usually have rice milk and quite a little with my muesli/porridge in the morning.

  36. SJT

    Wow! This is a little bit scary for me- especially considering that a few months back I went on a vegetarian kick and drank a lot of soy milk/ate a lot of soy protein stuff. While my discovery of endo is fairly recent, however, I don’t think it is a result of the soy- though it very well could have increased my symptoms. I have always had issues with my cycle for as long as I can remember, but my mom always told me to drink milk. Personally, I’m not a big fan of milk or dairy, hence what got me started on soy milk- it had better taste and was “healthier” for you. My question is: do dairy products actually help out women with endo? Supposedly it helps other women with cramps, but I’m not so sure what to do. =/

  37. Melissa

    Hi Danielle,
    I am glad you have taken things into your own hands are starting to feel better! I am sure you will have children one day! Just keep healing your body with good nutrition and healthy herbs and supplements! It is my pleasure! 🙂

  38. Danielle


    I suspect I might have endometriosis but I have not been diagnosed because my doctor won’t give me a laproscopy. All I know is when I started eating organic, cut out dairy and SOY, cut out preserved foods and started supplementing with evening primrose twice daily and exercising my cramps improved by nearly 80%. I also have hypothryoidism and I am only 26 years old. I pray that I can have children one day. Thanks for your wonderful information.

  39. Melissa

    Hi Belinda,
    It sounds like a very similar condition to Endometriosis as it relates to our hormones and their imbalance. I don’t think you can find a single cure for any condition. Wouldn’t it be lovely if there was! I think it is all about combining diet, lifestyle, de-stressing and getting rid of bad emotions and yes using specific healing remedies such as herbs and foods to heal. The body needs to do the healing, not a tablet or surgery! You just need to guide it in the right direction. Try some Turmeric – my new article it indicates that it can help with irregular periods too!

  40. Belinda

    Unfortunately, no, I haven’t found any proper dietary answers for PCOS. People will often suggest alot of things based on something they read or anecdotal evidence but nobody has actually said “this really works” and then back it up. I have tried following several “PCOS diets” but always felt that they were depriving my body of what it really needs. The sugar cravings are the worst part of being a PCOS sufferer.

  41. Belinda

    Several years ago a naturopath recommended that I switch to soy and avoid dairy. Within weeks I stopped ovulating and just bled for weeks without relief, I truly believe soy disrupted my hormones and created oestrogen excess – being a PCOS sufferer with mild Endo, I was already battling oestrogen dominance so switching to soy was the worst thing I could have done 🙁

  42. Melissa

    That is scary! I never realised just how bad Soy was until I read these articles. I hope you have found a way to get the balance back now though?

  43. Melissa

    Thanks for sharing Belinda! That is scary stuff isn’t it? I hope you have found a way to heal yourself by balancing back your hormones!

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I'm Melissa

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