by Charly Massey
Today is the 13th World Menopause Day.
In the last 12 months the media's interest, particularly from where I write in the UK, has heightened. Sometimes it feels like this transitory phase of a woman's life has just been discovered.
In the last 50 years global life expectancy has risen by 15yrs and 5.88% of the population (464MM) is currently genetically female AND within the optimum age range to experience menopause related symptoms. From a Health-tech perspective, the risks are low - no one dies from the actual menopause yet they can feel really rubbish for between 5-7 years.
This cohort, Generation X women want a much easier menopause than their mother’s AND they actively seek technologies to ease the frictions in their lives and those they also manage. The internet, apps, Mumsnet, social media, shared calendars and VoD children's tv arrived just in time!
Tech tools that put your health into your hands, identify and track your symptoms, look for patterns, and collect data you can share with others are big ticks for their personal agency.
This is also the largest group with Private Medical Insurance in the UK (25%).
So what’s the problem to solve?
Every person’s menopause is as personal as her menstrual experience and Dr Kelly Teagle, CEO of Australian based Wellfemme describes her own.
“I know what a bad menopause feels like. I was sleep deprived from night sweats, irrationally emotional and confused about what was happening. It seemed all too hard to deal with whilst struggling to keep up with work and family commitments, but finding the help I desperately needed turned my life around.”
Leading the Women's Brain Initiative research program at Weill Cornell Medical Lisa Mosconi shared findings on how menopause affects the brain during TEDWomen. Tactical advice included get prepared, look after yourself and don't be self-critical.
However, as work from the University of Essex reports, this is really difficult to maintain when you're experiencing "loss of confidence, issues with self-identity and body image, inattention and loss of memory, increased levels of stress, and a higher risk of developing anxiety and depression. In the workplace, such symptoms can impact the woman’s capacity to perform to her optimal levels." And yes the female incontinence, possibly originating from childbirth continues.
Sounds quite a journey right? Welcome aboard the Menopause Express!
The great news is those already through to “aprés menopause” say that changes in lifestyle help. Symptoms are improved by increasing and changing the type of exercise plus cutting down alcohol intake. Suffers also benefit from the long-term assessment of various hormone replacement treatments (HRT). Prescriptions guided by health professionals are readily available and supported. 80% of clinically female GPs who are themselves in an active phase of menopause subscribe HRT.
As a Senior GP partner told me "Huge amounts of menopause care shouldn’t need to touch secondary care. So many women feel let down by their GPs. I always feel a palpable sense of relief from women when I talk to them and they realise they don’t have to fight to get the care they want and need. And it’s really good that…work is focusing on the whole lifestyle as not just HRT which is so important."
All is not equal.
In the 2020 SWA Study of Women's health across the USA (SWAN) showed that women of colour tend to enter peri-menopause and menopause at earlier ages, have longer transition periods and experience more intense hot flushes and vaginal symptoms. Karen Arthur’s podcast addresses menopause diversity support in the UK and often finds it lacking. Earlier menopause can influence the decision to test bone density to determine the presence of osteoporosis.
Bone health is theme of this year and an information poster is amongst the documents produced by the International Menopause Society.
Health-tech companies improving Menopause transition:
Bia Care: UK - UK's first lifestyle medicine clinic, revolutionising the space with a blend of individual and group remote menopause-expert practitioner care, registered dieticians and wellness consultations.
Peppy: UK - connecting businesses and their employees to trustworthy, highly-trained practitioners who can support them and their working lives.
RDPIntl: UK - offer businesses workshops and 1-2-1 coaching on Midlife Matters.
Eli Science: Canada - point-of-care device for women to get their everyday hormone profile. Our patent-pending technology measures the actual levels of key hormones.
PauseWellAging: US - skincare range developed to respond to skin’s needs during each phase.
Gennev: USA - Menopause Telehealth. Supply products for over 15 menopause symptoms. Provide access to menopause-expert OB/GYNs and registered dietitian coaches, wellness products, education and community.
Madorra: US - the first, non-invasive, non-hormonal medical device to treat vaginal atrophy. This is an easy-to-use, at-home device, providing both immediate and long-term benefits.
LifeSense Group: Holland - makers of Carin wear - app & sensor that helps women strengthen their pelvic floor and recover from urine leaks.
Baubo: Holland - A digital companion empowering women through the menopausal transition.
Wellfemme: Australia - Telehealth menopause clinic, providing evidence-based menopause information and treatment in collaboration with a woman's usual GP.
Elecktra: Menomorphis program: USA - Integrative & evidence-based solutions – from lifestyle changes to supplements to medications – from board-certified clinicians.
Elocare: Singapore - Personalised healthcare assistant for every midlife woman.
We’re going to be talking about how the OneHealth Tech community can help and support companies and most importantly women who are somewhere on their menopause journey in a super exciting new style event.
Please let us know of people working in the space and please let us know what you would like to hear more about.