In the last couple of years, news stories surrounding hormone replacement therapy (HRT) have brought to light just how risky it can be. The best-known pharmaceuticals in this category are Premarin and Premplus. Premarin contains the equine estrogen hormone, which is extracted from pregnant mare urine. Premplus is similar, but also contains progestin in a single medication. So what is a natural alternative?
As of 2013, U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer had paid $1.7 billion to settle almost all 10,000 lawsuits the company had received over HRT drugs. The settlements claimed the drugs had contributed to breast cancer, ovarian cancer, stroke, and heart disease.
In 2004, a Canadian lawsuit was filed by Dianna Stanway, claiming that Premarin and progestin had caused breast cancer. Hundreds more joined the suit, and in 2015, Wyeth Canada (a subsidiary of Pfizer) paid out $13 million to the victims. After 2004, Health Canada changed the warnings for the product to include side effects such as coronary heart disease, gynecologic cancers, breast cancer and dementia.
For many women, the risks outweigh any benefit. In 2002, almost 18 percent of Canadian women aged 50-69 were taking the drugs; by 2004, after the U.S. government-funded Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) results were published, that rate had dropped to less than five percent.
While many may feel stuck between harmful pharmaceuticals and the harsh realities of non-medicated menopause, natural alternatives are available.
PMS and menstrual troubles are often linked to specific hormone imbalances. Especially for those with short cycles or short second phase of their cycle (ovulation through start of menses), progesterone can be the issue. Some people can add only a natural progesterone cream and see symptoms greatly reduce.
If you do use progesterone cream, do your own research and make sure you have a high quality brand such as Life Choice. They formulated a cream with natural ingredients such as red clover leaf, pomegranate and chastetree berry, make a great alternative for natural hormone balance. For those who prefer capsules to creams, there are products like Balanced Female capsules that contain these ingredients, plus many more, such as black cohosh root, false licorice root, and dong quai root.
And check out this video about naturopathic medicine and hormones:
*Article originally appeared on Prevent Disease.