How Two Female Entrepreneurs Chose To Fill The Market Void On Menopausal Products

When Sally Mueller first started going through menopause, she was often misdiagnosed. "I didn't realize menopause was more than hot flashes," she told People. Mueller isn't alone, either; according to the National Library of Medicine 1.3 million people enter menopause each year but there's little in the way of education, resources, or products available to those who need them.

It's one of the many reasons October has been designated World Menopause Awareness month by the International Menopause Society. As Dr. Daniel Laruy, MD, of UVM Health Network explains, 51 is the average age menstruating people enter menopause, but it's not uncommon for people in their 30s up through their 60s to experience symptoms. With such a focus on the link between hot flashes and menopause, however, people often are shocked when they're experiencing menopause symptoms no one warned them about. 

One symptom that doesn't get talked about is depression. "What I am seeing more and more in my practice are women who are finding it very hard to cope with anything. They are feeling lost and like they are going crazy," registered holistic nutritionist Patricia Eales told The List in a previous article. "They can't think (brain fog) and don't feel that they have any support from loved ones. Many are feeling anxiety and depression."

Or, like in Mueller's case, if they aren't experiencing hot flashes, they may even get misdiagnosed, adding distance between the patient and relief from their symptoms. 

Menopause is more than hot flashes

Like Sally Mueller, many menstruating people are under the impression that hot flashes are the one and only true indicator that you're perimenopausal. Dr. Mariah North, MD, of UVM Health Network explains that "A good portion of people don't have any problems, including hot flashes, and sail smoothly through this phase of their lives." But for people who are experiencing problems, Muller and her business partner, Michelle Jacobs, want to make sure there's information and resources for those who need it; it's why they started Womaness, a wellness brand, in 2021. The company offers a variety of products, including supplements and skincare items.

Mueller and Jacobs told People their goal was to not just offer products to help ease perimenopause symptoms, but help educate and support people as they head into menopause. "Education is the number one reason people come to us," Jacobs explained, adding: "It was shocking to realize how little women understand about their bodies."

Besides hot flashes and decreasing fertility, perimenopausal people may also be experiencing sleep problems, mood swings, bone loss, and even fluctuating cholesterol levels (via Mayo Clinic). The North American Menopause Society recommends asking your doctor for hormone tests, but cautions against saliva testing or only doing one follicle-stimulating hormone test, since "one elevated FSH level is not enough to confirm menopause."

Mueller and Jacobs add that they feel like they've given people going through menopause a voice and a space in the marketplace, per People.