“Menopause relief: Do not use if pregnant”

Recently, I came across this product available for over-the-counter sale. It was one of a number of herbal remedies, each targeting different ailments, that were available at this premises. I was immediately struck by the information on the label. As it was quite expensive I was reluctant to buy it, so I asked the clerk if I could instead take it down and take a photograph. To my slight surprise he agreed without question.

Perhaps the oddest feature of this product is that, although it is ostensibly for “menopause relief”, it is advised that women not use it if they are pregnant. Now while menopause is difficult to define concisely, it is clear that all definitions involve one key premise: namely, that you can’t be pregnant at the same time. In clinical terms, menopause begins 12 months after a woman has had her final menses (assuming that no other physiological cause is affecting her menstruation, in which case it’s not menopause). So menopause can only be declared if a healthy woman has had no period for a full year, which should indicate clearly to all concerned that pregnancy will be impossible.

Why then does this product offer a warning to users that it shouldn’t be used during pregnancy? Well, one explanation is that the manufacturers are employing the term ‘menopause’ very loosely. They might intend that their product be used by women experiencing perimenopause (i.e., the irregularity in menstruation that for many women characterizes the years prior to menopause), rather than menopause itself. Alternatively, they might intend that the product be used by women during climacteric (i.e., the longer phase of time that encapsulates both late perimenopause, menopause, and early post-menopause), on the flimsy basis that it is technically possible to be pregnant during late perimenopause. These explanations are somewhat problematic because, if true, they reveal that the manufacturers are very poorly informed about major features of the medical conditions that they purport to be competent in treating. Major features such as their precise names, for example.

A further possibility is that the manufacturers might just feel that women in the general population use the term ‘menopause’ loosely themselves, and what these women really mean is perimenopause. In other words, the manufacturers are playing along with the shoddy nomenclature that they feel is typical of the everyday discourse of ordinary people. At one level this can be seen as reasonable (or, at least, semi-rational), but the question then arises: is it ethical to deliberately perpetuate medical misconceptions among vulnerable people when offering (i.e., selling) them treatments? It certainly seems a strange approach to take; unless, of course, their primary aim is simply to sell more of the product rather than less.

A more disturbing interpretation is that this product contains ingredients that would be harmful to a woman or a fetus during pregnancy. In other words, the manufacturers might be protecting themselves from litigation in the event that a pregnant woman (i.e., one not undergoing menopause) consumes the product anyway, and experiences adverse side-effects from doing so. This would mean that this (“certified organic”) herbal remedy is actually quite a dangerous substance, the availability of which ought to be controlled by proper regulation. However, this product was available over-the-counter in any quantity to anyone who wished to purchase it. Nonetheless, the fact that herbal products can actually be extremely toxic and dangerous and are generally of unproven safety is always a possiblity.

In passing, it might be worth noting that, like many complementary/alternative medical products, this one is intended for use for a medical condition that is: (a) difficult to ‘treat’ using mainstream medicine; (b) characterized by psychological as well as physical symptoms; and (c) more common in women than in men. Suffice to say, there is little or no evidence to suggest that herbal remedies are effective in reducing the actual symptoms of menopause (which include osteoperosis, vaginal dryness, and dyspareunia), but we can predict that the placebo-effect of taking any purported remedy will probably alleviate some of the general mental distress seen in some women, at least for a while.

And where did I see this product on sale? In an approved health facility or pharmacy? In a health food shop? No, actually, I found this product for sale in the gift store at Lissadell House in County Sligo, Ireland. Lissadell House is a stately home set in the Irish countryside that became a tourist attraction on the basis of being the former country retreat of poet W. B. Yeats. So as well as postcards, key-rings, and CDs of poetry, fans of the Nobel Laureate and driving force behind the Irish literary revival can also stock up on menopause relief…so long as they remember not to use it when they’re pregnant.



Categories: Alternative/Complementary Medicine, Authority appeals, Dodgy advertising, Health, Herbal medicine, Naive optimism, Pregnancy, Scientific literacy

7 replies

  1. Since, as I understand it, contraceptives are illegal in the Republic of Ireland might the term, “Menopause Relief” be simply a euphemism for “Pregnancy Relief” or abortifacient?

    • Yeah, contraceptives are legal in Ireland. They have been since the 1970’s. You’re confusing abortion and contraception with one another.

      We’re a backwards country at the best of times, but not *that* backwards.

  2. Sorry but contraception is legal in Ireland and also widely available. Ireland may be a bit slow in some aspects but not that slow. I am sure you can find confirmation on the internet about this. Also Irish women would not have to use this to abort if they thought they were pregnant as emergency contraception is available over the counter if that is what you meant.

  3. I noticed you renewed https://thesciencebit.net/2011/02/22/menopause-relief-do-not-use-if-pregnant/ for a decent period, was that to help with search engine optimisation?
    Added a post on Facebook, hope thats okay

  4. It’s an remarkable post in support of all the online people; they will get benefit from it I am
    sure.

  5. All web addresses start with http, but a secure website will start with
    https. Apple’s i – Pad is a good example of a loss leader
    product, in which the loss incurred from selling below cost can be easily
    recouped from the applications, music selections, books and updates that are compatible with the device.
    The company caters to customers and members more than 200 million times weekly at retail units more than 9,880 under 60 different banners in more than 28 countries.

  6. what is the nice solution to keep your cartier timepieces.

    The Good Solution to Release Stress is find quite a few things make one feel happy and enable you to your investment worried things.
    Cartier Timepieces are one sort of things in daily life
    be precious and cherished forever. Cartier is a brand to trust when it comes to stylishness and luxuriousness
    of jewelries and even watches! Quite a number of people want to own an original Cartier watch but
    they cannot afford them just for its sheer price.
    Cartier Replica Watches give such men a chance to flaunt a Cartier
    look-alike on their wrist. Do not be fooled by the name of the watch.
    The look, feel and craftsmanship of the Cartier Imitation Watches are distinctive and are bound to fool actually the connoisseur who knows all well about the
    original watches.
    You could be assured that those Watches maintain the correct time
    as authentic ones does if you are worried about the time keeping capabilities
    of this beautiful watch. Perhaps you have seen action movies and
    have you noticed the personality of the main character?
    While his looks and clothes attract the attention of others.

    You can reach a position like that simply with the Cartier Replica watches.

    You can select from a wide range of models and most of the Cartier watch models are also available as Cartier Replica Watches.
    Such as Replica Cartier Pasha SeaTimer Watch, Replica Cartier Pasha
    Watch, Replica Cartier Santos Watches and
    Replica Cartier Tank Watches are most popular models.
    These Cartier Replica Watches come in a wide array of colors and
    models might help if you are likely to replace all of the watches of your house but
    are worrying of locating the same model in various locations in your
    own home. You will never have the ability to exhaust the complete of the Replica Cartier Tank Timepieces even though you keep another one in every the
    rooms of one’s condominium.
    Replica Cartier Santos Timepieces shall make sure that you will
    be the center of appeal at society. With costs at low you could have different Cartier Replica Watches for each and every full day time of the week.
    Make your existence felt with one of these Cartier Replica Watches.

    Most expert who wear these Cartier Replica Watches offers found a fresh image of
    themselves once they possess these Watches! Just what exactly are you looking forward to?
    Get among the countless types of the Imitation Cartier Pasha SeaTimer View and see your daily life change instantly.
    Cartier Replica Watches is capable of doing these wonders.

    However, before you get one of these brilliant ongoing works of workmanship, make sure you have a look at that you are moving in for the most
    recent style of the Cartier Imitation Watches. People
    who put on these Cartier Replica Timepieces are famous around the globe for the passion they exhibit for these watches.
    Please choose the most fashionable and most popular design Cartier watch at the best price!

»So what do you make of this?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,586 other followers

%d bloggers like this: