Is her birth control medicine made from dehydrated horse piss?
August 27, 2004 2:39 PM   Subscribe

An ex-girlfriend of mine was telling me that she recently went off of birth control for the first time in years because she found out it was made through some form dehydrating female horses and then processing thier piss. Sounds like an urban legend to me, but I can't find anything on google in either direction. Any clues?
posted by woil to Health & Fitness (22 answers total)
I don't know about the BCP being made through that process, but I do know that Premarin (sometimes it is called Premarine) has its origins in horse urine. Premarin is usually given to women in menopause or in cases of osteoporosis, I believe. Here are some google results. Don't see how that is tied to the BCP, but I'm sure someone else here will have an idea.
posted by fionab at 2:47 PM on August 27, 2004

Most birth control pills now use synthetic estrogen and progesterone. No horses involved anymore.

OTOH, Premarin, used for menopause estrogen replacement is still mae naturally and has some pretty strident opponents.
posted by smackfu at 2:49 PM on August 27, 2004

product inserts for the ortho novum birth control pills are available here. each is a combination oral contraceptive containing the progestational compound norethindrone and the estrogenic compound ethinyl estradiol (chemical names are listed on the page). while the page does not tell you how they are synthesized, i know that female hormonal birth control pills were first made from a wild mexicn yam, prior to that, progesterone and estrogen were synthesized from animal urine.
posted by crush-onastick at 2:50 PM on August 27, 2004

Equilin is horse estrogen. I don't know if it's still made that way though.
posted by riffola at 2:50 PM on August 27, 2004

Anyone know how progesterone is synthesized--the progesterone in Depo-Provera in particular? Just curious.
posted by Asparagirl at 3:04 PM on August 27, 2004

I think she's definitely confusing birth control pills with estrogen supplements--premarin definitely is made from mares (hence the name, I believe), but I don't think birth-control pills are made the same way.
posted by LairBob at 3:14 PM on August 27, 2004

the synthetic progesterone in provera is medroxyprogesterone acetate, it is apparently synthesized from progesterone itself. i would imagine animal progesterone, but i don't know.
posted by crush-onastick at 3:16 PM on August 27, 2004

Premarin = pregnant mare urine. It's a pretty appalling practice, keeping horses knocked up to harvest their piss, and sending the foals off to the glue factory, all for a treatment that is now considered questionable. Sandra Bernhard did an ad opposing the use of PMU that was a rather zesty ripoff of the "got milk?" campaign.
posted by adamrice at 3:53 PM on August 27, 2004

Thanks, crush!

(Amy Sedaris did one of those anti-premarin ads too.)
posted by Asparagirl at 4:18 PM on August 27, 2004

As far as I can tell the only drug with pregnant mare urine was used only for hormone replacement therapy, not as a birth-control method. Even the very first birth control pills were made from yam analogues. I could find no evidence at all that any birth control pill had horse urine at any time, as it seems the premarin is the only drug obtained this way. (unless premarin itself was somehow prescribed as a birth control method)

as for HRT treatment ...

Here's a long-ish article on several aspects of the issue.

Also a list from the Pegasus foundation (they rescue PMU foals) and it looks like (according to them anyway) provera is from soy.

CENESTIN by Duramed, soy and yam
CLIMARA by berlex, beets and yams
ESTRACE by Mead/Johnson, yams and soybeans
ESTRATAB by Solvay, soy
OGEN by Upjohn, vegatable
ORTHO-EST by Orth-McNeil, totally synthetic from yams
PROVERA by Upjohn, soy
ESTINYL by Sherine, totally synthetic
ESTRADREM by Ciba, sweet potato

Thanks crush-onastick for useful links, and I know you already covered some of the things I ended up putting in here.
posted by milovoo at 5:21 PM on August 27, 2004

Ask her if her orgasms aren't noticably better now that she's off of the little pills.
The dirty little secret about BCPs is it downregulates the lady's libido as well.
posted by Fupped Duck at 5:37 PM on August 27, 2004

"Amy Sedaris"

Must be David Sedaris' wife, right?
posted by ParisParamus at 5:43 PM on August 27, 2004

sister--she starred in Strangers With Candy as a 50yearold h.s. student. (and she bakes cupcakes for magnolia bakery in the village too!) : >
posted by amberglow at 5:52 PM on August 27, 2004

amberglow: hope, at least, you found that funny.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:57 PM on August 27, 2004

i did--David's on my team. ; >
posted by amberglow at 6:19 PM on August 27, 2004

This horse urine thing was mentioned on NPR's Fresh Air last week, an incidental aside in a longer story.
posted by Nelson at 7:14 PM on August 27, 2004

All those high carb ingredients, what are they making for Atkins women?
posted by billsaysthis at 7:31 PM on August 27, 2004

The dirty little secret about BCPs is it downregulates the lady's libido as well.

Not Depo, maybe because it doesn't use estrogen. Plus, the side effects were awesome: no periods at all for the entire time I was on it (three shots / nine months), clearer skin, and I went up nearly a whole cup size, whee! :-)

Highly recommended.

(Unless you have depression--a friend's mild but chronic depression got kicked up quite a bit, and she had to just grumpily wait out the shot's three months for it to go away.)
posted by Asparagirl at 7:49 PM on August 27, 2004

Asparagirl, you can do the same thing (have no periods) with oral contraceptives. I haven't had a period since 2001, and am (according to my ob/gyn, who does the same thing) in great health. Lots of women express a little uneasiness about *never* having periods, but I don't think I could ever go back to having them.

More about that here.

And my libido's fine. :)
posted by icetaco at 8:10 PM on August 27, 2004

My wife's been bleed-free since 1988ish, and absolutely rejoices in it. No cramping, no moods, no mess.

Her doctors over the years, male and female, have been thoroughly grilled, and they insist that everything is cool, so there is apparently absolutely no reason why a woman should ever have a period.

For those women who don't stop menstruating when on the Pill, it's because of the fourth-week no-dose series: either you're not taking pills, or the pills are sugarpills. Were you to go to a three-week cycle, you'll be free of menstruation.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:10 AM on August 28, 2004

there is apparently absolutely no reason why a woman should ever have a period.

Well, I'm just a dumb guy who's commenting on a thread that used to be about horse piss, and has since morphed into a discussion of menstruation - but: Isn't there some benefit in the "all clear" confirmation that comes with having period every month?
posted by aladfar at 9:50 AM on August 28, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks all for confirming my long standing opinion that she is indeed full of shit. (About a great many other things as well, hence the 'ex' part.) If her orgasms are better, more power to her.

I think the 'all clear' confirmation is for our benefit aladfar. :)
posted by woil at 9:07 AM on August 31, 2004

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