Disrupting the Menopausal Space with Femtech

For decades, men have been at the forefront of medical research, leaving nearly half of our global population behind – women. Although women make up 49.58% of the global population, most clinical research is solely done on males and then extrapolated to women’s health. This creates a long, long history of women being told incorrect diagnosis and given inaccurately evidence-backed solutions. 

 

Alicia Chong, founder and CEO at Bloomer Tech, states “Female physiology is quite different from males.” Much of female health research hones in on reproduction, overlooking other aspects of their health needs; however, women’s health is more than just breast and reproductive health. 

 

Oftentimes, men aren’t aware that the lack of research into women’s health is a problem. Due to societal gender roles, women tend not to be decision-makers in a room full of men, further causing women’s health to be swept under the rug. Thus, closing the gap in research error cultivates a society that empowers women to be healthier, further even lowering medical costs. When our society begins to understand that women have different needs, we can truly advance women’s health and address their problems at a faster, efficient pace 

 

Creating a solution for menopausal health concerns can benefit the expected 1.1 billion women who will be post-menopausal by 2025, according to the North American Menopause Society. Founder of EXXclaim Capital, a venture fund focused on women’s health, Anula Jayasuriya says that digital health innovation helps “empower women to take their health more seriously.”

 

Femtech, which describes the technology specifically geared towards the needs of women, has previously ignored addressing women who are entering menopause. However, Thermaband is paving a new path for women’s health to be addressed in a beneficial  manner. The innovative technology provided by The Zone will provide thermal relief on demand through cooling and heating sensations on the inner wrist. 

 

Thermoregulation directly addresses the mechanisms your body uses to keep your internal temperature at equilibrium. If your internal temperature deviates from its state of equilibrium, then your body actively takes steps to adjust it. Moreover, hot flashes are a discomforting effect of undergoing menopause. This form of temperature discomfort is directly addressed by Thermaband’s The Zone. The wearable technology provided by The Zone creates a localized, individualized thermal comfort solution. Through its ability to sit on the wrist, The Zone provides the whole body with thermal relief. 

 

Thermaband is creating a life-changing product through femtech for women undergoing menopause by caring for thermal health. By modernizing menopause with science, sisterhood, and temperature-regulating technology, Thermaband provides consumers with a solution for hot flashes, cold flashes, and night sweats, all while disrupting the menopausal space in ways never done before.

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Evolution of Menopause Technology

Historically, not much attention or focus has been given to menopause health and research. There are many reasons for that, but specifically we’ll focus on life expectancy, disparities in medical care among genders, and lack of funding for FemTech. Today, at least we have many more treatment options to choose from.

 

Believe it or not, so much of the lack in menopause research and technology is because of average life expectancy in women. From the 1500s through the 1800s, the average life expectancy for women was 30-40 years. Since the Great Depression, average life expectancy in women sky-rocketed: from 42 years in the 1900s, to 62 years in the 1930s, to 74 years in the 1970s, to 80 years today. Menopause can start anytime in your 40s or 50s, and the average starting age is 51, so it is unsurprising that when women started living past 40 and 50 years, there were few treatments besides traditional herbal remedies.  

 

Prior to the boom in life expectancy, women that dealt with menopause also dealt with bizarre and harmful treatments to their condition. In Europe and the United States, menopausal women were often treated as if they were insane or sinful in some way. French physician Charles Pierre Louis De Gardanne studied what he called “The Critical Age of Women” and coined the term menopause in the 1820s. Though he was in some ways an advocate for menopausal women, he was also responsible for many negative societal attitudes and dangerous medical reactions to their situation. As a result of his writings, women endured risky ovarian and clitoral removals, acetate and lead injections, or were prescribed addictive drugs such as opium and morphine. Some women were bled out by doctors or leeches, some were given enemas, and some were even institutionalized for hysteria.

 

An interesting side note is that, although menopause has the same definition throughout history and worldwide, the symptoms are not always the same. In Western cultures, of course, women experiencing menopause have hot flashes, weight gain, insomnia, depression and more. There are 34 menopausal symptoms recognized in the United States, although Europe recognizes 48 discreet symptoms.  By contrast, in Eastern cultures, menopause typically presents itself as brain fog, poor vision, and shoulder and back pain. Menopause is more often celebrated in these cultures than it is in the West, perhaps because age and wisdom are more valued by society. This may help to explain why Asia does not have such an extensive history of invasive menopause treatments. 

 

In the late 1930s, doctors and researchers made a breakthrough when they produced pharmaceutical versions of the female hormone estrogen. This was the earliest modern form of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Emminen and diethylstilbestrol were commercially available in the 1930s, and Premarin followed in the 1940s. Premarin’s popularity rose in the decades that followed, and by the 1980s and 1990s, it was one of the most prescribed medications in the United States. Progesterone, the other key female hormone, became incorporated into some HRT regimens as well. By 1999, there were 90 million active progesterone prescriptions. 

 

Hormone replacement therapy seemed to be such an elegant solution to menopause, many physicians thought that it might help with other age-related conditions, such as heart disease. This hypothesis was explored in the Women’s Health Initiative trials, which revealed some conflicting evidence. At the time, studies showed that HRT turned out to increase the risk of heart disease, as well as blood clots, breast cancer, and stroke. 

 

We discussed the dramatic impact of the Women’s Health Initiative’s research on HRT use with our friend and advisor, Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, Clinical Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at the Yale University School of Medicine. “The risk/reward of postmenopausal hormone therapy (HT) continues to be greatly misunderstood by women, leaving them confused and overwhelmed by their options. Many will opt to suffer silently with symptoms like night sweats, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness,” Mary Jane noted. She continued that, “While appropriate and safe treatment should be individualized for each woman’s needs and risk profile, there are newer options with data showing lower risks of blood clot and stroke.” Thankfully, when used over short periods of time, HRT seems to be less risky for patients, although that is still debated amongst obstetricians. Without a clear understanding of what’s undeniably safe and effective, many women have gravitated toward the older, gentler treatments such as roots, teas, and powders. 

 

Technologically savvy modern women don’t have to limit themselves to the supplements aisle, however. Women with menopause symptoms can also turn to devices such as electronic cooling rags, wearable fans, and even cryotherapeutic jewelry–all examples of technology focused on women’s health, or FemTech. We’ve come a long way since the 1800s, but compared to the technology sector as a whole, FemTech remains underfunded. Venture capital companies are traditionally male-led and male-dominated, causing products for women to get short shrift. Women spend roughly $500 billion on health products each year, and yet women’s healthcare R&D still only comprises about 4% of all healthcare R&D costs. Plus, many of today’s menopause devices were invented or designed by men for other purposes, and in our experience these tend to fall short of women’s needs. However, there is hope: in 2019 FemTech products generated more than $820 million in the global market, and revenue is expected to triple within the next 10 years. 

 

Knowing that we are on the brink of this exciting new chapter of menopausal discovery, it is the right time to set some intentions and declare what it is that women actually want. At Thermaband, we obsess over this and pride ourselves on ushering in the golden age of menopausal relief. So, what does that look like? Something non-invasive and non-hormonal. Something discreet. Something that addresses and even anticipates your symptoms. Something designed by women who have dealt with menopause, specifically for women who are dealing with menopause.  We call this special “something” the Zone. 

 

We’re grateful to have much longer lifespans than our ancestors…and we’re grateful that we can help you make those years happier, calmer, and cooler.

 

References

https://pitchbook.com/news/articles/vc-menopause-femtech

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2765209/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15981376/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/women-and-pain-disparities-in-experience-and-treatment-2017100912562

https://www.medicaldevice-network.com/features/femtech-funding/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomokoyokoi/2021/03/08/femtech-going-from-niche-to-mainstream-in-2021/?sh=1c6538315afe

https://techcrunch.com/2020/08/28/femtech-poised-for-growth-beyond-fertility/?guccounter=1

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/09/menopause-hormones-estrogen-treatment/405448/

https://www.balancehormoneoklahoma.com/blog/the-history-of-menopause

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/history-of-menopause_b_6159614

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbooksauthors/2017/04/16/the-long-and-misunderstood-history-of-hormone-replacement-therapy/?sh=7dce0e95667c

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/history-of-menopause_b_6159614

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2838208/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5783135/

http://www.doctorsreview.com/history/mad-menopause/

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/science/womens-health-initiative-whi

https://medium.com/swlh/understanding-menopause-how-can-technology-help-a7f5c00d3e4f

 

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Feldenkrais and Menopause

After a career teaching Classical Ballet and Pilates, Abbe Harris turned to Feldenkrais in 2001 after helping herself recover from a back injury with several sessions of the method. Abbe Harris introduces Feldenkrais in this article and discusses how it may help in dealing with symptoms of menopause. The exercises are very gentle, but the impact is powerful.

 

The Feldenkrais Method is a brain-body wellness approach that utilizes development and body attention to advance physical and mental processes. 

 

Feldenkrais classes assist with further developing body mindfulness, lessen unpleasantness, and foster more pleasant and viable methods of moving and being in our bodies.

 

 Feldenkrais’ techniques center around incorporating daily self-care routines into daily life. With Feldenkrais, there can be immediate relief to stiff and achy backs, necks, shoulders, hips, and legs. 

 

Feldenkrais can offer an especially suitable methodology during phases of life that include huge bodily changes, like pregnancy and menopause. It lessens and releases unnecessary tension in the sensory system.

 

Classes are intended to assist the participants with tuning in to their bodies and mindsets. Feldenkrais practices help quiet and diminish physical and mental strain and advance profound unwinding all through the body.

 

Through getting to new encounters of physical and mental facilitation, the cerebrum can make and refresh neuro-strong associations and pathways that help ideal working. Through the gentle movements, your body will explore new motions that still remain within your comfort zone. Thus, your brain will learn how comfort and freedom can continue to coexist as relief takes charge and pain dissolves. 

 

Feldenkrais may likewise be successful intending to other normal manifestations of menopause like weariness, absence of certainty, a sleeping disorder, and PMS. Post-menopause, Feldenkrais can be especially valuable in assisting with conditions like osteoporosis, with development illustrations intended to forestall distressing effects on joints and further develop weight-bearing capacity, adaptability, and equilibrium.

 

References

https://mysecondspring.ie/lifestyle/menopause-and-feldenkrais

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Menopause-Related Weight Gain

So, on top of the hot flashes, mood changes, and sleep problems, you’re now gaining weight? Unfortunately for many, the answer to this question is yes. Weight gain is yet another uncomfortable side effect of menopause, which can add an aditional layer of discomfort for going through the menopausal transition.

 

Before we start, we first want to say that we hear you. Weight gain can be challenging and disappointing. And when it’s paired with the other dreadful symptoms of menopause, it can seem unbearable. We’re here for you, and we want to be one of your resources.

 

Why Do We Gain Weight During Menopause?

 

A Change in Estrogen Levels

Part of the reason why weight gain occurs during and around the menopausal transition is because of the substantial drop of estrogen levels in a women’s body. Changes in estrogen levels are strongly linked to weight gain, specifically around the abdominal area.

 

Because it’s Natural!

Although a decrease in estrogen levels can influence changes in weight, the most contributing factor of menopausal weight gain is the regular aging process and lifestyle habits that occur during this period of life. As you age, regardless of if you have experienced menopausal symptoms or not, your muscle mass decreases and your fat mass increases. This can inevitably lead to weight gain, as your metabolism continues to slow down with age.  

 

How Can We Boost Our Confidence?

 

Move your Body

Regular physical activity will not only help reduce weight gain, but can also relieve some of the stress associated with the menopausal transition. Experts recommend that women should aim for 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, or roughly 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week. Consistent exercise can lead to a better sense of wellbeing, ultimately helping combat the frustrating symptoms of menopause

 

Remind Yourself that you are Not Alone

No matter how severe your menopause symptoms are, we promise you that there are other women out there who can relate to you. Joining menopause support groups is an easy way to talk to other women about their experiences, ask questions, and gain support. Finding these groups is easy–simply search for menopause support groups in Facebook or Google, and hundreds will pop up.

 

Get Professional Help if Needed

While many women soar through menopause with almost no major problems, the majority of women face more severe symptoms. In fact, an estimated 20% of women will experience depression at some point during menopause.  Weight gain and depression are also closely linked, making it even more important to be cautious about your mental health if you are experiencing fluctuations in weight. 

 

Depression can lead to a loss of energy, constant feelings of tension and hopelessness, anxiety, insomnia, and much more. If you are feeling any of these emotions, it is important to reach out to professionals and seek help. Whether it’s a therapist, doctor, or another source of support, they can guide you through your menopausal jounrey with more tailered advice.

 

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Menopause & Anxiety

Anxiety during menopause is a common symptom, stemming from the uncertainty of what this new journey will bring. Changing hormones can cause you to experience sadness or depression regarding the loss of fertility and changes in your body. 

 

An important way to mitigate this symptom is sleep. During the menopausal journey, it is important that your body is well-rested and gets between seven and eight hours of sleep each night. On top of the hormonal changes you are undergoing, if you begin to lack sleep, that symptom is linked to depression.

 

In addition, exercise is key to living a healthy life. It is vital to engage in physical activity for atleast 30 minutes at least 5 days a week. Studies have shown that exercise can mitigate both anxiety and depression. 

 

Moreover, limiting alcohol can drastically change your mental health. A moderate amount for woman is about one drink a day; however, if you drink more than four drinks at a time, you are engaging in binge drinking. Consistent drinking is linked to anxiety, so it is important to limit your alcohol intake for anxiety relief. 

 

Lastly, keep your life as less stressful as possible. Setting limits on your workload can help you lead a less stressful life. Engaging in self care strategies is a great way to unwind and relax. Since stress is a huge perpetrator in long term anxiety, easing daily stress through relaxation techniques can help calm you down. 

 

References

Relief Mechanisms 

Exercise 

Alcohol & Anxiety 

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Men & Hot Flashes

Hot flashes only happen to women…right? No. Even men are prone to dealing with this natural symptom. The sudden instances of a rush of warmth can be extremely discomforting for all humans.

 

For men, it stems from a decrease in testosterone levels. Their decrease in testosterone occus steadily, unlike with women whose hormones can drastically change right at menopause. One commonly known cause for hot flashes within men is prostate cancer treatment, more specifically Androgen Deprivation Therapy. This treatment restricts the production of testosterone, causing nearly 80% of men to have hot flashes. 

 

When testosterone levels being to decrease, the hypothalamus, which controls body temperature begins to send false signals further causing hot flashes. Moreover, lifestyle changes can also cause hot and cold flashes. When you are stresses, your body will release excess cortisol—a trigger for hot flashes. 

 

A hot flash can be categorized as when one gets a sudden sensation of warmth and may cause heavy sweating and skin to redden. Lasting about 4 minutes, this phenomenon does have treatment available. 

 

The Thermaband Zone is proven to provide you with thermal relief at your wrist which will counteract the sensation of a hot or cold flash. Additionally, you can also take cautionary measures, such as improving your diet, sleep cycle and exercise to reduce discomfort. Reducing alcohol, smoking, coffee, and spicy food consumption can also prevent hot flashes. 

 

Thus, hot flashes are not just a phenomenon that women undergo—even men encounter it. Take the time to understand how you can better be prepared to provide yourself with thermal relief and reduce discomfort.

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Top 5 Tips to Relieve Menopause Effects

During the menopausal transition, you may experience pain in your body. High estrogen levels are linked with abdominal cramps, heavy periods, and tender breasts. Specifically, you may feel abdominal pain perpetuating throughout your body. 

 

Tip 1

Relief can be found through a multitude of mechanisms. Applying warmth to various parts of your body will soothe the discomfort you may be feeling. Through heat pads or even hand warmers, you can take on-the-go warmth with you to soothe the lower abdominal pain. At home remedies include taking a warm bath to alleviate any tensions. For breast pain relief, wearing a supportive bra can help soothe any discomfort. Similarly, you can also use a heat pad on your breast and take a warm shower. 

 

Tip 2

Exercise is also key to finding a balance between the physical and mental pain you may undergo. If you are not in unbearable pain, slowly stretch your body and incorporate physical activity into your day. Exercise will improve your blood circulation and overtime reduce cramps. Studies show that exercising 3 hours per week for one year improved the health of menopausal women. 

 

Tip 3

Eating a balanced diet will also help with menopause relief. It’s important to set a limit on foods, such as caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco. Avoid foods that may be sugary or spicy–also known as trigger foods. Focusing on foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, legumes, and fruits can greaty benefit your menopausal transition. Moreover, eat foods rich in Calcium and Vitamin D, both of which are linked to beneficial bone health. Products includes, dairy products (yogurt, milk, cheese), green vegetables (kale, spinach), and fruit juices. In regards to Vitamin D, absorb as much sunlight as you can to enrich your bodoy. In addition to having a balanced diet, it is important to drink plenty of water, specifically 8-12 glasses a day. 

 

Tip 4

Feldenkrais method is a proven method to help calm the joints within your body. Through simple exercises, the gentle flow of the movements help you feel more relaxed and reduce stress.

 

Tip 5

Last but not least, deep breathing techniques such as yoga or meditation will help shift your focus from the pain. Daily meditation for 10 minutes can help you relieve any stress or tensions in your body, and get on with enjoying your day to come!

 

References 

Yoga Poses 

Perimenopause Ovary Pain

Very Well Health Relief Tips

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How do I know if I am in Menopause?

Marking the end of a woman’s menstrual cycles, menopause is a journey into a new era of a woman’s life. As a completely natural process, it signifies that a woman’s ovaries have stopped producing hormones.

The time between the end of a woman’s menstrual cycles and the start of menopause can be one of the most difficult periods a woman will endure. The transition lasts one year and generally happens for women between the ages of 45 and 55. Oftentimes, it can be hard to understand whether you have entered this natural process.

 

Irregular Periods
→ The first sign of change is when a woman begins experiencing irregular periods. You might notice changes in bleed flow and the length of a cycle.

Hot Flashes
→ Hot flashes are related to changing estrogen levels in a woman’s body. The sudden rush of heat that you may feel at night is a hot flash. Oftentimes disturbing, hot flashes last between 30 seconds to 10 minutes.

Cold Flashes
→ On the opposite spectrum of hot flashes are cold flashes, which entail a sudden tingling sensation of shivering. When estrogen levels spike, you may find yourself shaking and turn pale. Cold flashes are temporary and similarly last for just a few minutes.

Night Sweats
→ Repeated episodes of heavy sweating while you sleep are another signifying symptom of menopause. You might find yourself in soaked nightclothes or bedding and wake up sweating heavily.

Anxiety
→ Fluctuation in estrogen levels is a main perpetuating factor for your body to feel anxious or depressed. You may feel nervous, have social anxiety, and if worsened even panic attacks. Moreover, it is common to feel menopausal anxiety.

Sleeping Problems
→ During the transition, many women often find themselves struggling to get a good nights sleep. You might find yourself waking up too early and falling asleep really late. This can be caused by night sweats, hot flashes, and cold flashes disturbing your sleep.

Mood Changes
→ The hormonal changes in your body can also cause mood changes, enabling you to feel more irritable or moodier during your menopausal transition. Stress, lack of sleep, and family changes are all causes of mood swings.

 

Menopause is a new experience for every woman. While it can be challenging to navigate, it is important to understand your symptoms to find solutions and take care of your health.

 

References

Should I Be Worried About Cold Flashes

Menopause Transition

Night Sweats

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What is a Hot Flash?

And all of a sudden, it hits you. That all too familiar feeling of warmth spreads throughout your body, hitting your neck, arms, chest, and face. Your cheeks turn blotchy, and you lose focus. Your heartbeat starts to accelerate as you grab the table next to you. You wait a few minutes, but the feeling persists. Sweat droplets start to form on the side of your forehead. After five minutes, an uncomfortable chill travels down your spine for the finale. Not this again…

 

The story aboves encapsulates the discomfort that comes from hot flashes: the sudden feeling of warmth, particularly in the upper body. Hot flashes occur when blood vessels near the skin’s surface widen to cool off. Some of the most common complementary symptoms of hot flashes include a rapid heart rate, chills, perspiration, feelings of anxiety, and flushed appearances. Hot flashes can cause considerable discomfort for those experiencing them, especially when severe and frequent.

 

Unfortunately, hot flashes are often considered the hallmark symptom of menopause and perimenopause. In fact, more than 80% of women experience hot flashes during at least one stage of menopause. Most women experience hot flashes for 6 months to 3 years, although some reports suggest that they can last longer–for up to 10 plus years. There are currently no treatments that cure hot flashes, but there are many solutions that offer relief, including the Zone.

 

References

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/menopause-related-hot-flashes-night-sweats-can-last-years-201502237745

https://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/menopause-hot-flashes#091e9c5e80007f4f-1-2

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