Rescued Premarin Foals. Image Vivian Grant Farrell.

Alternatives to the Premarin family of drugs in the treatment of menopausal symptoms

Rescued Premarin Foals.  Image Vivian Grant Farrell.

As long as women buy into the clever marketing by the pharmaceutical industry that menopause is a disease, they will seek relief from the symptoms of what in actuality are signs of natural hormonal changes.

As part of March for PMU Horses campaign against the manufacture of drugs made from the estrogen rich urine of pregnant horses and cruel destruction of their foals, we have compiled a list of alternatives that may be safer, effective and definitely more humane.

We encourage you to go online to further acquaint yourself with the effectiveness and safety of these compounds. There is a wealth of information out there, but beware of false claims and err on the side of caution.

Most importantly of all, please consult with your doctor if you plan to use any of these treatments.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES

Probably the simplest and most natural approach to the treatment of menopause is to adopt a healthy lifestyle in regard to diet, exercise and stress management. Not only will this help alleviate symptoms but the benefits will ensure that you remain healthy now and in the future.

    Nutrition: It should go without saying, avoid refined and processed foods, choose more whole foods, fresh fruit, vegetables and complex carbohydrates. Avoid high fat dairy products and meats and supplement these items with healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, seeds and lean cuts of meat or fish. Additionally, practice portion control and avoid empty calorie foods.

    Exercise: Exercise is vital to keeping symptoms in check. Exercise directly affects hormonal activities in the body by raising the level of endorphins, for example, to maintain emotional stability and suppress anxiety. Moreover, the benefits are unsurpassed: maintenance of muscle and joint strength, increased metabolism, reduced weight, improved cardiovascular health, increased cognitive function, maintenance of bone integrity, and the list goes on.

    Stress Management: It is a well known fact that stress induces more severe hot flashes. There are many stress-reduction techniques available to manage the burden of everyday anxiety – rest, relaxation, varied leisure activities, and most importantly self-affirming thoughts to maintain self-image and confidence.

BIO-IDENTICAL HORMONES

Bio-identical hormones are synthesized in the lab from plant sources and as the term implies are pharmaceuticals that closely mimic natural hormones produced in the body since they possess the same molecular structure. There are many indications that bio-identical hormones pose far less risk for the human species than conventional therapies such as Premarin.

DIETARY PHYTOESTROGENS

Dietary phytoestrogens are naturally occurring substances (e.g. Isoflavins) found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains such as soybeans, alfalfa sprouts, and oilseeds (such as flaxseed). There is some evidence that they have a weak estrogen-like effect that may reduce the intensity and frequency of hot flashes.

Eating natural foods that contain these compounds is safe but there are also non-prescription supplements on the market for which there is no long-term safety data.

NATURAL HORMONES

    Estriol: Can be used to treat hot flashes and other symptoms and helps in maintaining bone density. However, two studies have recently shown that estriol causes stimulation endometrial cells.

    Natural Progesterone: There is some evidence that natural progesterone is useful in the treatment of hot flashes but no evidence that it benefits bone density. Examples include: topical progesterone creams and oral progestins.

    DHEA: Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is an estrogen precursor meaning it is converted to estrogen and possibly some testosterone in the body. This may or may not increase levels of estrogen in the body naturally.

HERBAL REMEDIES

Herbal medicines are readily available however caution is advised since they can contain powerful ingredients that may contraindicate other prescription drugs and/or may have adverse effects on certain individuals.

Some examples include: Black Cohosh for hot flashes and sweating, Kava to reduce anxiety, Ginko to decrease the risk of onset of dementia and St. John’s Wort as an anti-depressant. No substantiated medical studies are available for these medicines and most do not have to comply with the stringent safety, quality and manufacturing regulations that govern conventional medicines.

IN THE NEWS

As time progresses many women – and doctors – are looking for safer and more humane alternatives to conventional HRT. Recently in the news a non-hormonal supplement called Amberen, manufactured by Lunada Biomedical, has been touted as the next cure-all for relief of menopausal symptoms. Claiming to have a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study to back its effectiveness, it contains 100% natural ingredients, all on the FDA’s approved Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) list. Only time will tell as to the authenticity.

CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR

In any case, it is important to separate fact from fiction and be astutely aware of the consequences of clinically unproven medications. Apart from the unmistakable benefits of lifestyle changes, before considering any of the alternatives listed please consult your doctor.

by JANE ALLIN

© Int’l Fund for Horses

— Print this article: Alternatives to Premarin and Prempro (pdf 3 pp)

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5 thoughts on “Alternatives to the Premarin family of drugs in the treatment of menopausal symptoms”

    1. I could not agree more. I have been a Vegan since I learned they were slaughtering horses for dinner in this Country. That was in 1995 and a horse that I rescued was on his way to the sale at Camelot which is practically on the truck. Later on, my mom informed me that during a meat boycott in the early 1970’s USDA had horse meat in the grocery stores and she said it literally ‘rotted off the shelves.’ Nobody would buy it then and there are a few extremists that eat it now. If they do eat horse meat they are violating a Federal Statute as all horse meat must be Federally inspected for human consumption. Ergo, if someone brags about how great horse meat tastes they are admitting to breaking the Law.

      Elle

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  1. The only point I would change is regarding eating any type of beef. These animals receive steroids and antibiotics and this has been taking its toll on little girls whom are growing breasts at the age of NINE years old. Beef is simply toxic and I finally convinced my younger sister to stop eating it as there are other sources of ‘Iron.’ There are reports that some workers in Slaughterhouses are contracting MERSA from working with Bovines and Porcines. The food supply is tainted.

    Elle

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