5 menopause triggers in your daily life

It’s the wintertime, and you’re still hot! We know all about it. We hate to say it, but some of these things might be causing flare-ups and making you hotter than you want to be.

Alcohol

Ever notice that you leave bunco night with the ladies in desperate need of a change of clothes? Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to an increased risk of hot flashes and other menopause symptoms. The relationship between alcohol and hot flashes still needs more research. Some studies show that excessive alcohol use leads to increased blood flow causing alcohol drinkers to feel warm eventually triggering hot flashes. However, here comes the good news, some research shows that moderate occasional wine consumption helps relieve menopause symptoms. The takeaway? A few glasses of wine a week could help, but it’s best to not overdo

 

Drinking large wine glass wearing Thermaband device for cooling relief

 

Sugar

As our hormones change during menopause, our bodies’ insulin resistance increases. This makes it harder for our bodies to manage blood sugar. Eating sugar drastically increases blood sugar levels kicking menopause symptoms, especially hot flashes, into high gear.

 

Stabbing piece of cake which is a trigger for menopausal symptoms

 

Caffeine

Caffeine is a known aggravator of menopause symptoms due to how it increases our bodies’ heart rate. An increased heart rate can lead to an increase in blood flow as well, causing hot flashes and night sweats. If you notice a spike in menopause symptoms after one or more cups of coffee, it might be worth switching to decaf, tea, or eliminating caffeine altogether.

 

I think I've had too much coffee gif

 

Spicy Foods

Studies have shown that intake of spicy foods causes vasodilation of blood vessels which–you guessed it!– leads to increased blood flow. Watch for how your body responds the next time you have spicy foods and perhaps keep a food journal to keep track of exactly what spicy foods hit you the hardest. Once you know, you can try and be more prepared if there is a spicy food you love. Have your relief plan ahead of your meal and you’ll feel more in control of your body’s response.

 

Eating spicy foods

 

Fast Food

Fast foods that are highly processed and high in carbohydrates will cause an increase in weight gain for any person, but especially during menopause. An increase in body fat can lead to calories not being processed the way they should in order to maintain blood sugar levels.

 

Eating fast food, shrugs since she knows that its a menopausal symptom but is wearing her Thermaband Zone device

 

The more you know about hot flash triggers, the cooler you can be, right? We wish! Life happens and sometimes, no matter what precautions you take and what strategies you have, there needs to be a portable and discreet solution you can rely on.

The Zone provides hot and cool sensations on the wrist to give you that relief, automatically. Our mission is for you to get some of your life back and to feel free to go and do the things you love once again.

 

 

 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1949018/

 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4573383/

 https://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=2617

 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22946508/

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

Moms and daughters: What did your mom say?

We recently posed a question to our Facebook community: Did the women in your family share openly about their experiences with menopause? What were your observations and what conversations did you have?
The answers to these questions were sadly unsurprising. The majority of women in our sisterhood never spoke with the women in their family about menopause.

So we ask ourselves, why? What happened that made so many women suffer in silence?

Medicine wasn’t there yet!

Long periods of international strife.

Women also avoided speaking up because they didn’t want to be seen as complaining. After two World Wars, a Great Depression, and continued global turbulence, sharing about one’s symptoms and level of comfort fell on deaf ears.

Domestic roles and menopause misconceptions.

“Let me dispel a myth that because a woman reaches menopause and usually loses her ability to bear children, that means her purpose is done. Nothing is further from the truth. Menopause is a ‘transitional’ process. You’re moving from procreation to freedom to enrich those you have helped to create. ”

For a long time, there was a misinterpretation that menopause was womanhood ending. During generations with many women in more domestic roles at home, that could make mothers much more insecure in their most important role. Some women considered menopause a loss of purpose, as if motherhood was their sole purpose within society.

Symptom shame.

“Menopause is not a frequently brought up or discussed topic among the women in my family. I surmise the reason for that being they’re either in denial or embarrassed about the symptoms. I’m actually glad that ppl like you are providing a forum on the subject. A safe place for discussion and a trusted place for good information about this normal transitional part of a woman’s life. Menopause is NOTHING TO BE EMBARRASSED ABOUT, QUEENS! So let’s come out of the ‘shadows’ and share the experience.”

In addition to these misconceptions about menopause and womanhood, mothers of a certain generation were also ashamed of many of the symptoms brought on by menopause. Prior to the 1970’s, the pressures of looking respectable and put together were demanding of all women. Hot flashes, sweating, mood swings, and headaches were enough to throw a normally very put together person off their game.

So, how did we break the silence? What let women start sharing and embracing this stage in their lives

Women’s liberation!

“My mom was fine to talk and laugh about it when I was a teen, but my grandmother was mortified and angry that I even said the M-word.”

Luckily, along the way there have been some women that have broken the silence, unaware of exactly what they were experiencing and how to get past it. The women’s liberation movement created many open pathways for dialog among women that hadn’t existed before. That was also a point in time in which medical advancements were finally catching up and giving women some of the resources they needed to manage their symptoms.

The internet, of course!

“My mom is from the silent generation. I feel far removed as an Xer because I advocate for my ob/gyn health issues and do not assume everything that happens is because of menopause. Some issues require diagnostic tests and doctors to clearly explain options.”

As younger generations start to experience symptoms for themselves, many women research menopause extensively or go to other women their same age for helpful guidance through the hormonal changes. This has resulted in an explosion of menopause awareness and advancements in women’s health and wellbeing.

The more women share the more medical researchers can advance what types of care are available. In addition to medical progress, there is a growing community of researchers and innovators looking to subside menopause symptoms. This is why joining and sharing in communities like the Multigenerational Sisterhood is so important.

Where do we go from here? What’s next for menopause?

“My grandmother never talked about it with my mom so she wasn’t sure what to expect or what would work for her. My mom is pretty open about her menopause but she’s always been the kind of person that would respond honestly (even bluntly) when asked a question. We talk about what medication works best for her and how much it helps. I’ve actually gotten to the point where I can tell when she is having a hot flash because her whole body language will change. We also talked about childbirth and what to expect and where the labor pains might be based on the cramps I get with my period. I’m really glad my mom and I can have such open conversations, I know not every woman is that lucky.”

With more women breaking the silence and embracing the freedom of this transitional phase of their lives, menopause seems like a much less scary and much more manageable experience.

In addition to this newfound freedom, better care and better technology, the new phase of openness about menopause has ushered in a greater bond and connection among generations. By speaking openly about their experiences, these grandmothers, daughters, and grand daughters can all start to share more openly. Daughters can also start to see that the older women in the family are suffering and be better equipped to help them. Excitingly, these same daughters can reach out and better ask for the support they need for themselves and encourage their daughters to continue that cycle.

READ MORE