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The Dark Side of Billion Dollar Menopause Drugs

We've written about why using horse pee hormones as a human woman might not be the best idea, but what about the nitty-gritty of Premarin, Viagra, and how this money making machine doesn't have women's best interests at heart.

Where Does Viagra Come In?

Viagra, otherwise known as Sildenafil, is a big business. It is estimated to generate $500 million dollars per year in revenue (with over a billion in sales)... that's a lot of little blue pills. Whilst there are various reasons a man might take viagra, a lot of those reasons go hand in hand with age, meaning the main demographic using it are men who are more likely to be with menopausal women. These are women who don't have the same chemical support systems, and may be suffering with issues of their own. When it comes to the ins and outs of Viagra (haha) you can read more about it here.

So My Hubby Has Help & I Have None...

The solutions for women with low sexual desire are thin on the ground, and often relate to dryness and pain (intrarosa, imvexxy etc.), designed to treat the problems that make sex painful, but not whether you want to have sex at all. The solutions that do exist are few and far between because, for women, libido can be a lot more complex and requires insight into the entire hormonal picture. Understanding struggles with orgasms are complex, as we've written about, but there is truth to the idea that correcting menopausal pains will help with sexual desire.

This is where PREMARIN comes in

Premarin is a conjugated estrogen, designed to help women relieve menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness by replacing the lost estrogens. Premarin is made from horse pee (Pre -pregnant, Ma - mares, Rin - urine), and unsurprisingly, it comes with some pretty risky side effects. Outside of weight gain, bloating, upset stomach, and headaches, it has also been linked to blood clots, increased risk for stroke, and cancers.

As a side note, it is also known to be a pretty cruel industry, with mares hooked up to catheters 24/7 and kept continually pregnant, as well as unfortunate outcomes for the foals that are produced from the cycle of keeping the mares pregnant.

The negatives aren't unfounded, these links have led to drug manufacturers of Premarin facing close to $1.2 Billion dollars in payouts to class action lawsuits.

The Aging Industry

So, why are we still prescribing it? Well, it does work at treating those symptoms of menopause we all loathe. And, many doctors are still prescribing it, meaning women who are suffering and desperate for solutions are willing to try anything - especially if a doctor gives them the OK.

Everyone is now living way longer, and the aging industry is a big business, including drugs, cosmetics, and much more, in order to defy aging, or just to improve it. The problem arises when we fight aging - at all costs...

So, What Am I Supposed to Do?

Here are our top tips to figuring out how to make menopause great for you.

  1. Research, research, research - knowing about the options available is crucial when it comes to making informed decisions. For more insight into what each option is, check out this blog!
  2. Look at your diet, sleep, exercise, and stress levels - these all affect our hormones and our quality of life - as well as how effective drugs will be.
  3. Figure out your medical needs - ask for hormone testing to be done, and look into any medical issues that you might have and how these interact with your menopause, and/or how medications affect health issues.
  4. Look into milder treatment options that are topical and localized.

Why Topical & Localized?

Topical treatments are ones applied to the skin - meaning they are picked up and carried into the bloodstream (and the receptors that need them) without hitting the liver. Since the liver works so hard, and stomach acids can destroy so much, bypassing these organs can help hormones get to where they need to be.

Localized estrogens and progesterones have been found to be less proliferative - meaning they are less likely to interfere and affect things that they shouldn't - which is a win win when it comes to negative side effects.

Bioidenticals versus Synthetics

Let's be clear on one thing - all hormone supplements (bioidentical or not) are manufactured in a lab - they cannot be considered organic etc., because they are 'made'. However, bioidentical hormones are made from compounds found soy and yams, and are engineered to be identical to the hormones made by your own body. Furthermore, bioidenticals cannot be patented, which is why they're not being shoved down your throat on ads after America's Got Talent (or by your Doc). You cannot patent something which occurs in nature/naturally in the body. Bioidentical hormones have been used for years by knowledgeable and informed practitioners who understand their health value.

Now that you have a clearer picture of where these drugs come from, what they do, and how they work, you can be better prepared when it comes to making health decisions about your menopause. If you're interested in checking out bioidentical hormone options, you can do so here!