Women given soy formula are 50 per cent more likely to suffer moderate or severe menstrual pains between the ages of 18 and 22, and 40 per cent more likely to have used hormonal contraception to alleviate the discomfort.
Soy formula contains genistein, a compound that's known to interfere with the development of the reproductive system, and which can cause menstrual pain.
It can also cause endometriosis, where tissue from the uterus starts to grow outside, fibroids and heavy menstrual bleeding.
Researchers from the US's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences analysed data from 1,553 African-American women aged between 23 and 35, and their discoveries add to previous research about the impact of soy on women's reproductive health.
Earlier research had found that up to 60 per cent of women who had been given soy formula experienced severe menstrual pain.