Why does it matter if a large percentage of women at this moment are not treating their menopausal symptoms? What could it possibly have to do with horses? Perhaps quite a bit. It may put the final nail in the coffin of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) drugs made from the urine of pregnant mares.
We find it all very surprising, thinking that the generations of women behind the current one would treat menopausal symptoms in an organic, non chemical way — such as not taking a drug like Premarin®, for example. It never occurred to us that they may not be taking anything at all.
Come to think of it, none of our own elder stateswomen are doing anything about their symptoms and seem quite well on it. What they all have in common is that they are all Vegans. Coincidence? Perhaps; perhaps not.
Deb Gordon, reporting for Forbes, writes:
The State of Menopause Study, conducted with 1,039 women ages 40 to 65 across the United States, showed that nearly one-third (29%) of women never sought information about menopause before they experienced it.
Nearly half (45%) the women surveyed didn’t know the difference between perimenopause—the transitional period leading up to menopause—and menopause itself, the biological process that marks the end of a woman’s menstrual cycles.
One-fifth (20%) of women surveyed had experienced symptoms for a year or more before being assessed by a healthcare provider and 34% had never been formally assessed or diagnosed as menopausal.
At one time, the world’s leading HRT drugs for the treatment of menopausal symptoms in women was Pfizer’s Premarin® family of drugs. The chief component of these drugs is why they have been and always will be controversial.
The Premarin® family of drugs is made with urine collected from pregnant mares, commonly referred to as “PMU horses.” PMU standing for pregnant mare’s urine. At the same time you can see what the drug is made from in its name: PRE-MAR-IN.
PMU mares are kept on their feet, confined and pregnant, in cramped stalls so they cannot lie down. Normal gestation can range from 320 to 380 days. Their foals are taken away and the mares are re-impregnated and the process starts again. When the mares can no longer get in foal, they are often ditched at a slaughterhouse to be killed for their meat. The resulting foals are often just as unwanted and sent to slaughter as well.
Premarin® farms contracted by Pfizer operate in Canada to supply the North American market but they are declining in numbers. In 2019 it was reported that Pfizer Canada’s made cuts to pregnant mares’ urine production by 17 percent. The 17 percent reduction translates into 33,000 grams of estrogen. Ranchers are paid per gram of estrogen and not on the volume of urine produced.
An article last year in the Manitoba Co-operator dated May 13, 2020, “Remaining PMU producers brace for more cuts”, signaled that Pfizer would be implementing further production cuts for the 2020-2021 season despite signing a three year, 18-week contract with the company’s Canadian division in 2019, reported Jane Allin.
A large portion of the above decline stems from the fact that women have become more aware of the dangers of taking these drugs and the animal cruelty and death involved, plus the fact there are now a large variety of plant based alternatives.
However, now we know that it has become more than that. Much more. An amazingly large number of menopausal women are simply not treating their symptoms — at all.
Most (73%) women reported that they were not currently treating their menopause, which included hot flashes (16%), weight gain (15%), difficulties with sleep (14%), and night sweats (14%), among others.
The Bonafide survey suggests there may also be a generational divide in women’s experiences with menopause. Eighty-four percent of women surveyed said they are not using the same menopause treatments that their mother or grandmother used. Just 9% reported discussing menopause with their mothers.
“With the number of menopausal women worldwide estimated to reach 1.1 billion by 2025, the market potential for menopause-related products and services is increasingly hard to ignore.”
Without HRT, many women have not had treatment options to address the symptoms of menopause.
Generational differences may be related to the steep decline in the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which had been the standard approach to menopause since the 1960s. Seminal research published in 2002 found that HRT presented more health risks than benefits, including small but significant increases in risk for breast cancer and cardiovascular disease.
That may finally be changing.
With the number of menopausal women worldwide estimated to reach 1.1 billion by 2025, the market potential for menopause-related products and services is increasingly hard to ignore.
“Not if women continue to choose to ignore them, like they are now,” says the Editor of Tuesday’s Horse.
No matter how menopausal women of the future decide to get relief from their symptoms, it most decidedly will not be with a product made from the urine of pregnant mares. Hallelujah!
• Canadian PMU farms’ losses are China’s gain, by Jane Allin, Tuesday’s Horse, 30th June 2020 »
• Premarin Horses and China, Tuesday’s Horse, 21st June 2019
• A look at a PMU farm in China, and it’s not all about Pfizer, Tuesday’s Horse, 21st Sept 2016 »
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