What I did when menopause knocked on my door
I turned 50 with zero menopause symptoms and immediately celebrated my good luck, assuming I was one of the lucky ‘fifteen percenters’ that would breeze through this transition unscathed. I was wrong. Like most women, I made a beeline to my doctor, and like most women, the experience was very disappointing. She was sympathetic but not helpful. I turned to online research, but found the information complex and confusing.I didn’t know then that this journey would lead me to leverage my decades of experience as a healthcare technology executive to start my own company to address the menopause care gap.
When I started Lisa Health a few years ago, the menopause care gap was so big that I thought we’d have to build the longest bridge in the world to fill all the gaps, metaphorically speaking, of course. Thinking about all the needs women have during this complex, lengthy life stage led me to form a deeply held belief that the only way to transform this life stage, and I mean truly transform it, is with technology. Let me explain why.
There are no fewer than 34 symptoms of menopause, and possibly more, that present in innumerable combinations that change across the stages of menopause. Decoding symptoms stumps most healthcare providers, including the experts. Even expert clinicians admit that it’s challenging to support patients as self-reported symptoms are often unreliable and hard to measure without objective data. Now, with technology, we can decode and understand symptoms much better and use wearable technology to track symptoms like sleep and hot flashes objectively. That means faster, more accurate insights, and relief for menopause symptoms. Yes, to that!
Another key gap highly impactful to women is the lack of trained clinicians. In a recent study by Mayo Clinic, fewer than seven percent of medical residents felt adequately prepared to treat peri and postmenopausal women. With so few physicians trained in menopausal care, many women feel left on their own to figure things out. They end up going through years-long cycles of trial and error and wasting money on remedies that don’t work and may be harmful. While I’m hopeful that the medical school curriculum will change, it won’t happen as fast as we need it to, and women in healthcare deserts will still be unsupported. Fortunately, this is a perfect use-case for technology to bridge the care access gap. It isn’t a moment too soon for the scores of Gen X women who have a smartphone in their hand and know how to use it. Now, virtual care and new apps like the Midday app my company recently launched can put personalized insights and expert care at women's fingertips worldwide.
Education is an obvious gap. It’s downright shameful that women have had such limited access to quality education. Before anything else, women need to have readily available information that is science-backed and trustworthy versus relying on Facebook and TikTok influencers doling out advice in the middle of a Laffy Taffy dance routine. Kudos to them for helping us advance the conversation. However, every woman’s experience is so different. What worked for one woman may not work for you.
Fortunately, the menopause journey doesn’t have to be rife with misinformation, or a one-size fits all experience any longer. New sources of high-quality education are now available, and technology allows us to personalize the education to the menopause stage, symptoms, and other questions and concerns you have. No more late nights trying to get the answers you need. Technology can do the legwork and provide an educational experience that caters to your preferences and needs.
Until a few years ago, not many products and services were designed by women for women. We were mainly stuck with crappy, uncomfortable, outdated, and even embarrassing products. Remember that breast pump you used that made you feel like a cow being milked or that freezing cold speculum at the doctor’s office? Hallelujah, that’s finally changing, especially for women in the menopause life stage. I couldn’t be more excited by the women solving health and wellness problems for women in the clinical care setting and the everyday products we rely on for hair care, skin care, vaginal care, and more. It fills me with joy when go into Ulta, Target, and CVS to find products designed specifically for women 40+ and beautifully packaged. They're brilliant, and they really work! That’s because pioneering women like Sonsoles Gonzalez at Better Not Younger got tired of making do and boldly remade their careers out of the passion for helping fill the gaps in menopausal care. I think these amazing women are building a big piece of the bridge for menopause, and I’m thrilled to partner with many of them to get their products into the hands of women.
Overall, I am incredibly optimistic about how far we’ve come in just a few years in bridging the gaps in menopause care. We still have a ways to go, but just imagine what technology and ingenuity can do. Women now have more and better options for managing their journey and can feel empowered and confident in midlife instead of suffering in silence. Cheers to that!
If you’re looking for science-backed support on your menopause journey, check our our Midday app.