Empowered and emboldened by numbers, social media, and celebrity voices, women are talking openly about the previously taboo topics of menopause & perimenopause.
Half the global population will go through menopause during their lives. And yet, until recently, nobody talked about it, a mind blowing reality, considering the debilitating and confusing symptoms that can accompany these life changing events. There are dozens of these symptoms that include but aren’t limited to:
- Weight gain
- Digestive issues
- Non-migraine headaches
- Short-term memory loss
- Brain fog
- Night sweats
- Heart palpitations
- Hair loss
- Bone loss
- Mood swings
- Itchy skin
- Dry skin
- Joint pain
- Back pain
- Sleep problems
- Urinary incontinence
- Reduced sex drive
Doctors didn’t even recognize perimenopause as a real thing
The list goes on, yet women have been suffering in virtual silence as the only recognition menopause got, until recently, was either as a source of humor or in whispered tones accompanied by winks or eye rolls (there’s a good Los Angeles Times article about all this here). Women were too embarrassed to ask questions and seek relief for a variety of reasons that include shame over getting older and men’s discomfort with the topic.
Some doctors barely recognized perimenopause (the symptoms caused by changing hormones in the 5-10 years leading up to the menopause) as a real thing until recently, and sufferers are still often told the symptoms are all in our heads.
People – many of them women – are waking up to the potential revenue in the menopause and perimenopause market
Well, the tides have changed. Women empowered and emboldened by numbers, social media, and celebrity voices have started to talk and look for answers. Moreover, people – many of them women – are waking up to the potential revenue in the menopause and perimenopause market.
Takes on the topic differ. Courteney Cox recently made an update to the 1985 Tampax commercial in which the American actress became the first person to use the word “period” in a national ad (we have been afraid of these topics for a long time). In the new version, which Cox, now 58 , posted on Instagram, she wears an almost identical outfit to the one she wore in the eighties and riffs on the same lines she said all those years ago, this time talking about menopause.
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Replacing the words, “Tampax can change the way you feel about your period,” she says, “Menopause can change the way you feel about getting older,” adding, “Menopause will eat you alive. It’s horrible. Nothing else can do that,” and “Plus, you get the added bonus of drier skin, and getting bald patches.”
She closes with “Remember—there is nothing good about menopause. It can actually change the way you feel about getting older.”
Not all women agree that there is “nothing” good about menopause
Not all women agree that there is “nothing” good about menopause. For some, the end of periods and fertility can be a blessing, but it’s still a struggle.
Australian actress, Naomi Watts, meanwhile, is launching a “menopausal wellness brand” called Stripes, in partnership with Amyris. Watts wrote in an Instagram post:
“When I was in my late 30s, I was finally ready to start thinking about creating a family. Then the M word swiftly blew my doors down, it felt like a head-on collision with a Mack truck.
“How could I figure this out when no one was talking? I was earlier to it than my peers. My mentors and mum didn’t seem up for discussing it, I didn’t know how to ask for help and they didn’t know how to provide…. even doctors had little to say. It’s oddly like an unwritten code of silence: women should suck it up and cope, because that’s how generations passed have done it.
“I think it’s time to see women in this phase of life or this age group be well represented. We’ve been under-served in media, stories and marketing far too long.”
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And Stacy London, former host of TLC’s What Not to Wear and current CEO of State of Menopause, a company to help people “feel their best during menopause,” is hosting the first Menopause CEO Summit in New York City this fall on October 18, which is World Menopause Day.
Forbes reported that speaking at the conference are leaders in “the up-and-coming field of menopause health.” The companies helmed by these leaders all offer some kind of menopause wellness solution. They include Womaness, a company offering solutions for symptoms like dry skin, low libido, and hot flashes that include a Menopause Survival Kit and a Sexual Wellness Kit. And Evernow, a start-up offering prescriptions and science-backed solutions for menopausal and perimenopausal women. Investors include Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz. Another example is Thermaband, a wearable device that automatically detects body temperature and delivers battery-powered cooling or warming based on the wearer’s needs.
A wellness movement has been born. Expect it to flourish as this formerly underserved market gains traction and more of the industry catches on.
Better late than never.
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