Welcome to the gold rush of menopause

Entrepreneurs have therefore seen a business opportunity in creating a movement for the advocacy and visibility of menopause. Alisa Volkman, 49, who has twice welcomed new phases in her life with an online start-up (the sex-positive nerve.com in her 20s, followed by the modern parenting center babble.com), is now on the swell, on online Community for middle-aged members.

In October, The Swell helped host a menopause symposium with Katie Couric and comedian Jill Kargman. (“I loved being in a room with hundreds of women who could take pity on me waking up in a Jill-shaped sweat stain, heart pounding like Roger Rabbit, and inserting a tampon with a t-shirt cannon,” Ms. Kargman said.)

Like all new wellness categories (such as sex toys now marketed as self-care), it’s an investment category for a group with specific, underserved needs — and big bucks.

The new economics of menopause splits neatly between medicine and beauty.

The telemedicine startups deal mostly in the prescription of hormone replacement therapy and use a business model that is successful in other industries. For example, Hims & Hers Health, which uses telemedicine to prescribe generic versions of Rogaine, Viagra and a range of antidepressants, birth control and other drugs on gender-specific websites, has a market cap of more than $1 billion. The drugs the companies sell are generic versions of the brand-name formulations, and the company receives the profit. Subscription models are known to be lucrative, as subscribers often do not unsubscribe even after a need has been met.

But HRT is a complicated subject. After a large study in 2002, it was found that the risks of HRT outweighed the potential benefits. Further studies found that many of these concerns were overblown or did not apply to populations who might benefit from hormone therapy, but many women and doctors were put off and have remained. according to dr Stephanie Faubion, a women’s health expert at the Mayo Clinic and medical director of the North American Menopause Society, is the current official position that the benefits of hormone therapy typically outweigh the risks for most healthy, symptomatic women under age 60 and within 10 years of menopause predominate beginning. Dr. Faubion indicated that it should be prescribed by a physician trained in menopause management.

However, most OB/GYN receive about an hour or two of menopausal care instruction and, when surveyed, said they did not feel comfortable managing menopause after completing their programs.

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