Every woman will go through menopause. It will affect her health, her longevity, and her life. Yet this is one of the most overlooked areas of women’s health. To help move the science forward and to better understand the lived experience of menopause, we surveyed women at all stages of the journey.
To date, the gold standard menopause study has been the SWAN study, which followed 3,302 patients. Evernow has more than 100,000 clinically validated health profiles and a subset of thousands of patients who we are following longitudinally to learn from and support. To our knowledge, this is also the largest cohort study looking at the type and severity of symptoms by ethnicity.
Every year, 2 million American women will reach menopause, and the symptoms can be uncomfortable or even debilitating: Over 70% of women who completed Evernow's health profile rated a symptom a 3 or 4 on a severity scale of 0 - 4 (with 4 being “very severe symptoms”).
The frequency and severity of different symptoms shift as hormone levels change. For example, brain fog is typically most severe during perimenopause. These distinctions are important to understand. Because perimenopause symptoms don’t typically include symptoms like hot flashes, they can be easily misattributed, delaying the path to care—and relief.
Are you experiencing any symptoms?
Most women start perimenopause in their 40's, but our data show that for some, skipped cycles and period irregularities (like a heavier flow, or “tsunami period,” which affects nearly 1/3 of those in perimenopause) can begin as early as age 39. Symptoms and their severity differ (sometimes greatly) from what women experience in menopause, so awareness is key to getting effective treatment.
Hot flashes may be a telltale sign—but they're not always an early one: While hot flashes are the canonical indicator of menopause, reported by nearly 75% of women in the menopausal transition, only half of perimenopausal women experience any hot flashes.
These are the actual signs that menopause is beginning:
Black women have reported experiencing longer and more severe menopause symptoms, but this has typically been attributed to higher rates of obesity. In our study, we controlled for obesity and other factors, and the higher rates and more severe experiences persisted. We are submitting a paper for publication that covers this topic specifically.
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Evernow is currently collecting follow-up data from more than 200 of our members about how their symptoms changed in severity after they began taking hormone therapy (HT). Our data shows that HT is extremely effective at treating nearly every major menopause symptom. These findings suggest that estrogen may play a bigger role in more conditions than is currently understood.
In the U.S., 1 in 8 women is a smoker. Smoking rates are highest among those aged 45-64, prime time for menopause. Our data show some clear trends:
Our survey data showed a direct positive correlation between Body Mass Index (BMI) and menopause symptom severity: The higher the BMI, the more severe the symptoms.
% Percent rating their symptoms a 4 on a 0-4 severity scale
We use a validated questionnaire used in menopause research to measure symptoms. (This is not different than other peer-reviewed studies but different than other private companies that use their own scales.) Our study was carried out rigorously so we can pass the peer review process when we publish, and we will continue to share our findings so that all providers can better serve women over 40.
Everyone should be able to keep living their best lives throughout menopause. Recognizing the symptoms and understanding their severity is a significant step toward treatment.
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