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If you have tons of questions about menopause and are not quite sure what to expect from it, well, you’re not alone. According to a 2018 study, 65 percent of women don’t feel prepared for menopause, and part of that is because they’re not getting the information they need. “The topic of menopause has 10x more searches than fertility, yet only makes up 25% of the conversation size,” Leah Wood, brand director of Clearblue, says in a press release. There’s clearly still a stigma around menopause, and it’s creating a vacuum of information that leaves many of us unprepared for this stage of life.
The Menopause Stage Indicator is designed to change that. Announced today by Clearblue, the company says it’s the first ever at-home product that can indicate a person’s current stage of menopause.
And it does so through a fairly straightforward process, involving a series of urine tests and a free app. You take five follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) urine tests total, one every other day, and you can start testing at any time during your cycle, says Fiona Clancy, PhD, senior director of research and development at Clearblue, in an interview with SheKnows. Each test will give you either a positive or a negative result, which you then input into the app, Menopause Stage – Clearblue me. You’ll also input your age, cycle history, and any symptoms you’ve been experiencing. After the ten days of testing, “the algorithm in the app combines her FSH test results with the cycle data that she’s inputted and her age, and it will generate her likely menopause stage,” Dr. Clancy says.
The app will tell you that you’re in one of four menopause stages: pre-menopause, early perimenopause, late peri-menopause, or post-menopause. From there, you’ll be able to download a report that you can take to your doctor’s office, which includes your likely menopause stage, how it was determined, your FSH results, and any symptoms you’ve been tracking via the app. This, Dr. Clancy says, can be a starting point for a conversation about menopause and any next steps you may want to take. “What we’re hoping is that this test can really give women some clarity, that it can educate and empower them,” Dr. Clancy says. “It really gives them some answers. And when we’ve spoken to women, they’ve said it would be really useful to have that clear report that helps them frame that conversation with their healthcare provider.”
One thing to note: the Menopause Stage Indicator doesn’t have an accuracy claim. That’s because there’s no “gold standard” of menopause stage indication to compare it to, Dr. Clancy explains. She notes, though, that Clearblue’s FSH tests are 99 percent accurate and Clearblue uses the widely-recognized Stages of Reproductive Aging Workshop (STRAW+10) framework to characterize the menopause stages it uses.
The hope is that the Menopause Stage Indicator and app, which also includes educational content, ultimately empowers people to understand more about their health during this stage of life. “We really see it as an opportunity to educate and engage women and provide them with that trusted advice,” Dr. Clancy says.
You can purchase the full Menopause Stage Indicator test kit now on Amazon, and download the free app on the App Store or Google Play.