I've moved your post over here to the No-Hormone Desert Oasis, which is the forum for ladies who are not using HRT (the phytoestrogens are not considered HRT).
Illness, stress, increased activity or exercise level and changes in weight can all affect your body's need for estrogen. So, it is possible that the infection stressed your body and this put you into a situation where the herbals you were taking were not enough to handle your symptoms.
However, IMHO it is more likely that during the very early post op weeks, the phyto prolief seemed to be working because your body still had stored estrogen that it could use; and then as that stored estrogen was used up, the symptoms started to appear. Many women find that if they don't start HRT immediately after the surgery, there is a 'honeymoon period' of a few weeks where they seem to be doing just fine, and then the hot flashes and mood swings begin. It is also possible that a lack of estrogen can lower your body's resistance to infection, thus allowing you to contract the bladder infection. UTI's as well as yeast infections are much more prevalent when estrogen levels are very low.
Have you talked with your DR about your symptoms? What does he/she say? Is there a particular reason you don't want to use HRT but do want to use the phytoestrogen products? Many women who've had clotting disorders or cancer or endo histories cannot use estrogen, but they are also not allowed to use the phytoestrogens including soy and black cohosh (Remifemin) because they can act he same way as estrogen.
BTW, the term "NHRT" is a bit confusing because it takes on different meanings depending on who uses it. "Natural" does not necessarily mean "bio-identical". Bio-identical hrt's are ones which our bodies see as the exact same as the hormones our ovaries made. Examples of bio-identical HRT's are Estrace, the estradiol patches, the compounded estrogen (bi-est, tri-est, estriol, etc.) creams and gels, Prometrium and creams containing USP Progesterone as well as natural testosterone.
Natural is anything derived from natural sources. Thus Premarin and Cenestin are natural but not bio-identical. Phyto Prolief is natural but not bio-identical (unless you are a plant
). Our ovaries did not produce phytoestrogens, so actually, when we ingest them, they are seen as foreign to us. However, they are similar enough to our own estrogen that they can help with some symptoms the same way estrogen does.... just as Premarin does.
I hope this helps... if you want to stay on the phytoestrogens, you may want to browse through the threads in this forum to see how other women are coping with their symptoms. Good luck, and I hope that infection is soon a thing of the past!