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The many faces of menopause: Why it is a unique stage for each woman

While the symptoms may be similar, women go through menopause differently



No one told me that hot flashes could start in your mid-30s and continue into your 60s, says Cindy Moy Carr, founder of mySysters app. She tells FemTech World how menopause can affect women in different ways at different ages. 

The menopause is a natural time of ageing when a woman’s periods stop and the ovaries lose their reproductive function. Usually, this occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, but as Cindy Moy Carr found out, this is not the case for everyone.

“After I turned 40, I started having these horrendous migraines which I had never had before,” she remembers. “For a year and a half, they would just come and go. I went to the hospital, I had an MRI and I was told that it was all in my head.”

Her case is not singular. A Yale University review of insurance claims from more than 500,000 women in various stages of menopause states that while 60 per cent of women with significant menopausal symptoms seek medical attention, nearly three-quarters of them are left untreated.

Moy Carr had not been told about menopause until she turned 50. “I was talking to a nurse practitioner and she said ‘Well, this is all menopause-related’. And that was the first light bulb moment when I asked myself, ‘Why didn’t anybody tell me that?’

“I lived in Minneapolis – the home of big medical device companies – and if I couldn’t get any help, what chance do other women have? When I saw that none of my friends seemed to talk about it, I realised how taboo menopause was.”

Cindy’s app, mySysters, was launched as a social and self-care platform to help women manage perimenopause and menopause, helping them to track symptoms, recognise patterns and share advice in discussion forums.

“At the time there were no period trackers for women of my age,” the founder says. “That’s why we decided to launch mySysters. We made a little beta version, and after it became available in the AppStore, women from different countries started using it and about 5,000 of them still use it today.

“The app is that validation that women need to understand that they are not alone in this.”

But launching it was far from easy. “I got laughed at by men who thought it was the stupidest thing ever,” Moy Carr confesses. “Talking to the people who are making decisions about these things can be very frustrating.

“With the app, it was that community feeling that we wanted to create because most women find us after they no longer trust the medical community. Once people feel connected, life becomes easier, clearer and it feels easier to make decisions and advocate for yourself.

“We don’t know what the other person is going through, so let’s ask questions, find some information, share it and ultimately, support each other in whatever decision we make. It’s easier to feel empowered this way.”

Actively tracking symptoms has been repeatedly shown to result in greater symptom reporting and better understanding and recovery. A report from the British Psychological Society has found that a greater proportion of people were classified as high period symptom reporters after using a symptom-tracking app.

Moy Carr says that taking five minutes to check in with yourself is key. “After a few weeks, you get a checkerboard that shows the severity of your symptoms and over time, you can notice patters or triggers that influence how you feel.

“What is it that you did on Sunday that worsen your headaches on Monday? So often we say, ‘This came out of nowhere’. In fact, it didn’t. It was building up to that, but we just didn’t notice it because we weren’t paying attention to it.

“Tracking what’s happening in your body means becoming more aware of how you’re feeling. Then when something goes wonky, you will be able to recognise it quicker.”

The recent US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade may have serious consequences on tracking apps like mySysters. If there is a warrant, court order, or subpoena for the release of certain medical records, then a clinic could be required to hand them over, leaving patients and providers legally vulnerable.

“As a UK-based company, I’d like to think that our data is completely safe, but I worry about women in the US and what the current climate means for them,” Moy Carr says. “We found out that HIPAA – the US regulator providing data privacy and security provisions – will not protect women’s data.

“Roe v Wade is a step backwards for women’s health, not just for abortion, but for women’s health in general. The fact that data protection is not guaranteed can have huge consequences that we’re not even aware of.”

While the situation remains uncertain across half of the states, Cindy hopes that women will have autonomy over their bodies. “I’m hoping that at some point we can get away from these labels of menopause, perimenopause, post-menopause, fertility, age, puberty and focus on hormonal health.

“Not everybody goes through menopause at 50. Sometimes they’re 30. It’s our hormonal health and there’s no need for labels.”

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‘Women crave the quick fix of a silver bullet’: menopause experts have their say on talking therapies

Talking therapies could reduce symptoms that may not be otherwise relieved through HRT, specialists have argued



The new research showing talking therapies could help women through menopause is a “fantastic step forward” in the advocation of choice, experts have said, warning that HRT alone will not reduce all symptoms.

Talking therapies, such as mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy, have been found to effectively treat menopause symptoms, such as low mood and anxiety.

Researchers from University College London have shown that the practices, which focus on developing behavioural patterns, coping strategies and relaxation techniques, could have benefits beyond those of HRT, including improved sleep, memory and concentration.

The techniques, experts told Femtech World, could help dampen down women’s physiological system, reducing symptoms that may not be otherwise relieved through HRT.

“Our ability to regulate the stress hormone is hampered during menopause, meaning we sit further up the stress scale than we did before,” said Dr Bev Taylor, psychologist and menopause educator.

“Stress also makes many menopausal symptoms worse, either in frequency or severity. These techniques reduce symptoms by dampening down our physiological system and bringing us back down the stress scale.”

The beauty of them, Taylor said, is that they can be used by anyone.

“Whether you can or want to take HRT or whether you want to use them alongside treatments like HRT, you can. This research is a fantastic step forward in the advocation of choice.”

Catherine Harland, menopause educator, coach and founder member of MenoClarity, said talking therapies had received a lot of backlash since the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommended them in their updated guidelines.

“Whilst I understand how life-changing talking therapies can be, I fully appreciate why so many women crave the ‘quick fix of a silver bullet’ in the form of HRT as we have been taught this from a young age,” she said. “We have been taught to turn to pharmaceuticals for any symptoms we experience.”

Modern women, Harland said, live stressful, fast-paced lives, juggling a multitude of things and often feel too busy to fit talking therapies into the mix.

“Menopause is a highly sensitive time and it’s vital women begin to understand the importance of self-care which includes talking therapies and mindfulness.

“HRT alone will not reduce symptoms of stress, trauma and metabolic disease caused by living in a high cortisol state for long periods of time.”

Around 15 per cent of women aged 45 to 64 in England are currently prescribed HRT, which has increased rapidly in the last two years from around 11 per cent and continues to increase.

The main benefit of HRT, according to the NHS website, is that it can help relieve most menopause and perimenopause symptoms, including hot flushes, brain fog, joint pains, mood swings and vaginal dryness.

Draft NHS guidelines recommend offering cognitive behavioural therapy, alongside or instead of HRT.

Dr Shahzadi Harper, menopause specialist and founder of The Harper Clinic, said talking therapies could benefit women experiencing menopause symptoms and help them feel more in control. However, she said they should not be it at the forefront of the menopause conversation.

Dr Shahzadi Harper, menopause specialist and founder of The Harper Clinic

“Talking therapies do not address the inherent hormone deficiency that arises due to perimenopause and menopause and the long-term consequences of declining hormone levels,” Harper explained.

“I don’t think they should be at the forefront and definitely not instead of HRT. However, I do think they could be a useful tool, especially as the symptoms of menopause can be quite debilitating and affect mental health and mood.”

Dr Clare Spencer, menopause specialist, GP and co-founder of My Menopause Centre, said while HRT could help many women manage symptoms of the menopause, there would be some women who may continue to experience symptoms, such as poor sleep, low mood and anxiety, despite being on it.

“Women may face other difficulties at the time of the menopause that may be additional causes of stress which can also impact on experience of symptoms of the menopause.

Dr Clare Spencer, GP, menopause specialist and co-founder of My Menopause Centre

“In these cases, there is a place for talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness, to help break some of the vicious cycles that can then exist.

“There is also a role for talking therapies in helping women who have been advised not to take HRT or do not wish to.”

She said, however, that long NHS waiting lists could prevent women from getting the support they need.

“There is an issue with access to cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness-based therapies through the NHS which does need resolving to allow more women access timely support,” she added.

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Drug that targets hot flushes approved in UK and EU

Fezolinetant could potentially benefit hundreds of thousands of women approaching menopause



A new drug that prevents hot flushes during menopause has been approved for use in the UK and the EU.

Veoza, also known as fezolinetant, has been given the go-ahead by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the European Commission after it was approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration earlier this year.

Hot flushes, also known as vasomotor symptoms, are a common symptom of menopause that often feels like a sudden flare of heat, paired with sweating and flushed skin. Worldwide, more than half of women between 40 to 64 years experience them, with rates in Europe ranging from 56 per cent to 97 per cent.

Before menopause, there is a balance between oestrogens and a protein made by the brain, known as neurokinin B (NKB), that regulates the brain’s temperature control centre. As the body goes through menopause, oestrogen levels decline and this balance is disrupted, which can lead to hot flushes.

Veoza, developed by the Japanese drug maker Astellas Pharma, reduces the number and intensity of hot flushes and night sweats by blocking neurokinin-3.

“Hot flushes and night sweats caused by menopause are common and can have a significant impact on a woman’s daily life,” explained Julian Beach, the interim executive director of healthcare quality and access at the MHRA.

“We are therefore pleased to have authorised Veoza (fezolinetant) for hot flushes and night sweats caused by menopause via our reliance procedure.

“No medicine would be approved unless it met our expected standards of safety, quality and effectiveness and we continue to keep the safety of all medicines under close review.”

Professor Rossella Nappi, associate professor of obstetrics and gynaecology and director of the gynaecological endocrinology and menopause unit IRCCS San Matteo Foundation, University of Pavia, said: “I’ve been awaiting the marketing authorisation of fezolinetant.

“I’m happy to see this advancement in women’s health and that my patients will soon have this new non-hormonal treatment option available to better control their moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms.”

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The coolest brand in hot flash relief: behind Femography’s menopause clothing revolution

In an era when menopause was seldom addressed, Femography courageously launched Become



Three women relax and chat donning Become’s signature Anti-Flush™ clothing line. (Femography by MAS Holdings)

In the realm of women’s health, an exciting revolution is underway, and at its forefront is Femography, a trailblazing brand in the femtech industry.

Backed by a formidable apparel conglomerate and embraced by women worldwide, Femography is more than just a brand – it’s a movement reshaping the menopause apparel industry. This feature dives into Femography’s journey and highlights a ‘cool’ gift idea for your friends and loved ones – figuratively and literally.

Powered by an apparel giant: a leap in women’s health

Femography distinguishes itself in the femtech space with the robust backing of MAS Holdings, a titan in South Asia’s apparel tech industry. This partnership propels Femography forward in a sector where a mere three per cent of women’s health-focused businesses have secured financing since 2011.

It marks a significant step in filling a gap in women’s health — a crucial but often overlooked area — positioning Femography as a visionary leader.

Scientific breakthrough meets lifestyle

The cornerstone of Femography’s success lies in its groundbreaking patented Anti-Flush™ Technology, ingeniously crafted to tackle the three stages of a hot flash, a predominant symptom of menopause.

This innovation transcends the boundaries of science, offering lifestyle solutions that blend seamlessly into everyday life. It’s this unique fusion of scientific ingenuity and practical utility that sets Femography apart, carving out its niche in the market.

Femography’s holistic product line

Femography’s product development approach is comprehensive and thoughtful. Their expansive product line, including Anti-Flush™ sleepwear, camisoles, panties, loungewear, tank tops, leggings and ultra absorbent underwear, is designed with the utmost care to ease menopause-related discomforts.

Each item in this diverse array is crafted to empower women, enabling them to lead fulfilling lives without the burdens of menopause symptoms.

Enter Become: pioneering change with Femography’s consumer brand

In an era when menopause was seldom addressed, Femography courageously launched Become, its consumer brand dedicated to menopause apparel. This bold initiative has led the way for seven years, transforming societal perceptions and dismantling stigmas around menopause.

Become has not only brought relief to countless women but has also been instrumental in evolving the market, cultivating a space where menopause is openly discussed and managed with dignity and understanding.

A cool gift idea: embrace the holiday spirit with Become

This holiday season, Femography invites you to reimagine gift-giving. Sharing Become’s revolutionary clothing with friends is a wonderful way to support those experiencing menopause. It’s more than a gift; it’s an expression of care, offering real comfort in daily life.

This thoughtful gesture of gifting cooling apparel is not only practical but also a symbol of empathy and unity. And what could be cooler than presenting a gift that brings literal and figurative coolness to someone’s life?

Femography’s broader impact as a leading B2B partner

Femography’s journey in the femtech revolution is marked not just by its technological innovation but also by its deep understanding of consumer needs.

While the holiday season offers a moment to focus on individual gifting, the broader, year-round scope of Femography’s impact lies in its role as a powerful B2B partner in the health and apparel sectors. This dual focus reflects Femography’s commitment to enhancing the lives of individual women and driving forward the industry as a whole.

By offering cutting-edge solutions like their Anti-Flush™ technology, Femography has set new standards in menopause apparel. Their innovative approach extends beyond product development to fostering meaningful collaborations with businesses and brands.

Femography amplifies its impact through these partnerships, making women’s health solutions more accessible and creating a global ripple effect of well-being and empowerment.

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