FRIDAY, Nov. 9, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Soy formula feeding in infancy is associated with an increased risk for menstrual pain in young African-American women, according to a study published online Nov. 9 in Human Reproduction.

Kristen Upson, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the National Institutes of Health in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and colleagues used data from the Study of Environment, Lifestyle & Fibroids for 1,696 African-American women aged 23 to 35 years at enrollment to examine the correlation between soy formula feeding during infancy and menstrual pain in adulthood. Data on infant soy formula feeding was ascertained for 1,553 participants.

The researchers found that compared with unexposed women, those who were ever fed soy formula were more likely to report ever use of hormonal contraception for menstrual pain (relative risk, 1.4). During early adulthood (ages 18 to 22 years when not using hormonal contraception), those who were ever fed soy formula were also more likely to report moderate/severe menstrual discomfort/pain with “most periods” but not “every period” (relative risk, 1.5).

“In conclusion, our data suggest that soy formula feeding during infancy is associated with menstrual pain in adulthood,” the authors write. “Our observations add to the growing body of literature that collectively lend support to the reproductive health consequences of early-life exposure to soy formula.”

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