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Women Spend On Average A Third Of Life In Menopause; Minnesota Woman's Products Aim To Remove The Stigma

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A woman is expected to live 81 years in this country. That means one third of her life time will be spent menopause. There's still a lot of stigma when it come to women and aging, but a Minnesota woman is hoping to change that conversation and give women some helpful products to ease a tricky time in life.

"Women enter menopause without knowing much about it," Dr. Ekta Kapoor, assistant director at Mayo Clinic Center for Women's Health, said.

Menopause is Kapoor's main line of research. She says more than three quarters of women will experience the most common symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes and night sweats. But there are others.

"The things that they don't correlate with menopause are the other very common symptoms. Anxiety, mood changes, which could be subtle," Kapoor said. "The other big one is sleep ... After a point it becomes a very complex web. A woman who is not sleeping well night after night is not going to have a great mood. If she ends up getting depressed, she's not going to sleep well. All of this will lead to subtle problems to her memory and cognition, the so-called 'brain fog' of menopause."

It's a confusing and often private battle that some women want to help end. Sally Mueller had an "a-ha" moment during her own experience with menopause. The brand strategy expert, who worked for Target, realized there just weren't modern solutions for dealing with menopause.

"The products were really designed around (only) the major symptoms of menopause," she said.

She and her business partner developed products for two years before launching Womanness in March.

"Our mission is to modernize menopause through products, information and inspiration," she said. "We worked with different experts. We found a woman that was really an expert and aging skin. We found an expert that was really knowledgeable about sexual wellness and then, of course, supplements ... We put all products through testing, but then we also went the extra step, and all of our products are doctor-tested as well."

Muller believes as you age, what you put on your body is as important as what you put in it. Their skin and body products are hormone- and soy-free. A drop in estrogen during menopause creates a dramatic change in the skin, creating a "crepiness."

"We have two supplements -- one is for hair, skin, nail and joints, because your joints actually change during menopause too," Mueller said.

"My dream situation is when a fortysomething-year-old walks into her doctor's office, she gets asked where she is in her menopause journey. Is she having symptoms? Then we offer them education and tell them about their options," Kapoor said.

As a medical consultant only, Kapoor encourages women to talk with their doctors to find solutions to their symptoms, even if they haven't started yet.

"It's important to take a positive -- put it through a positive lens. And women are more positive if they're informed and they're empowered and they feel more in control of the whole journey," she said.

Mueller says her company's products are for all women, not just those going through menopause.


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