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Korean Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology 2007;50(3):389-415.
Published online March 1, 2007.
The efficacy of phytoestrogen in postmenopausal women.
Hyoung Moo Park
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Korea. hmpark@hananet.net
Phytoestrogen is a group of phytochemicals called phenolic compounds. Phytoestrogen may be functionally or structurally related to estrogens, resulting in agonistic and antagonistic activity depending upon the tissues. Phytoestrogen may provide desirable health benefits to reduce the menopausal symptoms and to prevent or treat chronic diseases in postmenopausal women. Phytoestrogen has the modest effect to reduce the vasomotor symptoms and to prevent the postmenopausal bone loss. Some beneficial effects on prevention of coronary heart disease may be also experienced through the favorable changes in lipid/lipoprotein metabolism and vascular functions. Phytoestrogen may have some roles in prevention of the breast, colon, other various cancers. Preliminary clinical data showed positive effects on postmenopausal cognitive decline and body compositional changes but no effect on vagina and endometrium. Because the efficacy and long-term safety has yet to be established, more evidence-based results are required through rigorous placebo-controlled randomized clinical trials before specific clinical recommendations.
Key Words: Phytoestrogen, Menopausal symptoms, Chronic disease, Cancer, Evidence-based medicine

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