Former chemist Kate Bache and health and beauty specialist Gervase Fay co-founded of a women’s health hub called Healthandhealth.com last March to offer women a catch-all platform for supplements (120 branded products), advice (16 expert contributors), forums, and general assistance for coping with all 30 symptoms of menopause.
A key component of the site is its symptom tracker, which customers use to input their symptoms and receive personalised advice and support. The tracker has also acted as a tool for gathering data on more than 60,000 women who have visited the site allowing the businesswomen to discover which are the most prevalent and concerning symptoms for this audience.
Using insights from this data, the UK-based entrepreneurs have launched their own supplements targeted at the life stages of menopause and perimenopause (the first supplement in the UK specifically tailored to this stage) alongside an app to offer a 'virtual personal trainer' for this audience who they argue have been largely ignored by the supplements sector thus far.
Fay says it's not just the poor choice of supplements that lets down this audience, but society's lack of awareness regarding this life stage and the huge range of symptoms that can be experiences, including: sleep loss, brain fog, headaches, low energy, vaginal dryness, joint aches, mood swings, and night sweats.
“Most of the supplements in this market are targeting the well-known symptom of hot flushes but there are so many other symptoms which many women don’t even realise are a symptom of menopause, such as stress, weight gain, lack of sleep, low energy and brain fog," Fay explains.
“It’s becoming normalised to talk about periods and women are starting to feel a bit more confident in being able to tell their boss if they are suffering PMT related symptoms which might be affecting their ability to work but this isn’t the case with women going through menopause.
“14 million working days a year are lost due to discomfort caused by menopause and we’ve seen examples of female CEOs dropping out of their work because of their menopause symptoms.”
Fay says this issue is even worse for the perimenopause stage.
“During perimenopause, women can suffer with low energy and depression. Not realising these are symptoms of perimenipause they will go to the doctor and often the doctor will prescribe anti-depressants and these can exacerbate the issue further.”
Even more worryingly, Fay says that this female age group has a high correlation with divorce and suicide rates.
The business duo therefore hope that their supplements and app will provide physical and emotional support.
“While a dual supplement and app might not be a new concept to the sports nutrition world, this is something brand new for the women’s health space.
“Using data from 60,000 women, the app can analyse the user's symptoms and advise as to the best supplements for their needs, as well as offering CBT, exercise routines, sleep support videos, meditation guidance and even daily reminders.”
To further educate and inform women about the changes happening to their body, mind, and hormones, the Health & Her app contains trusted advice from a network of multidisciplinary menopause experts, including GPs, gynaecologists, psychologists, nutritionists, therapists sleep experts, career coaches, and more.
It also includes a period tracking function for perimenopause-related cycle changes and it delivers smart insights to help women identify factors that could be improving or worsening symptoms.
Fay says there are nearly five times as many supplements for the pregnancy market as there are for the menopause market, despite the fact every woman goes through menopause.
She believes the reason for this is that companies don’t consider the older audience as being less profitable, but she argues this is not the case.
“Retailers love the pregnancy pound but this older demographic of customer trends to be forgotten," she says. "The typical woman going through menopause is 45 to 55 years old and generally pretty affluent – they are mature in their career but they no longer have young dependants so they have quite a large amount of spare income.”
Their newly launched menopause supplement contains a blend of herbs, vitamins and minerals to support with the nine most common symptoms of menopause, including: Vitamins B5, B6 and Magnesium to help reduce tiredness and fatigue relating to poor sleep, Hop Extract to cope with hot flushes and night sweats, Pfaffia for stress, concentration and memory, Kelp to aid weight management, Ginseng to maintain physical and mental capacities in cases of exhaustion and tiredness, Evening Primrose Oil for healthy skin, and Dong Quai to help maintain normal urogenital health.
The perimenopause supplement contains a formulation of herbs, vitamins and minerals to support with the nine most common symptoms, including: Sage to support wellbeing during menstruation, Wild Yam and Red Clover for relief from hot flushes and night sweats, Ashwagandha to support relaxation, Avena Sativa Oat Extract to decrease restlessness and support sleep, Zinc and Vitamin C to contribute to normal collagen formulation, Red Clover and Avena Sativa Oat Extract to help with mood changes and irritability, Ginkgo Biloba and Ginseng Panax to preserve cognitive function and concentration, Lavender, Iron and B6 and B12 to reduce tiredness and fatigue, and Vitamins C and D for joint and muscle aches.