A recent article from Forbes.com highlights the impact of innovation on menopause, and how patents are being used to protect intellectual property in this field.

Each year, 6 million women enter menopause, which is considered to occur when menstruation has stopped for 12 months. However, perimenopause, the lead-up to menopause, can last for around 10 years. Symptoms include hot flushes, brain fog, anxiety, sexual dysfunction, urinary issues, mood swings, and sleep problems.

"Although movement related to female reproductive health, especially pregnancy and fertility has dramatically improved and brought some incredible innovations to our everyday lives, the needs of almost 1 billion globally who are entering perimenopause and menopause have been mostly ignored so far", says Forbes article author Marija Butkovic.

The article features 11 impressive female scientists, innovators, and entrepreneurs seeking to change the experience of menopausal women. These include Colette Courtion, founder and CEO of Joylux, whose home-use device, vFit Gold, uses a patented combination of red light, heat, and sonic technology to restore vaginal tissue. Another is Gloria Kolb, cofounder and CEO of Elidah. Elidah's product, ELITONE, treats female urinary incontinence, and the company now has nine patents. Finally, Marina Martinic Kavur, Head of R&D at GlycanAge, is working on consumer-available products based on glycans, including MenoAge, a test for perimenopause and menopause management. Again, GlycanAge are using patents to protect their innovative products.

By 2025, it is expected that the number of postmenopausal women will have risen to a massive 1.1 billion worldwide. With such a huge potential market, it is not surprising to see a rise in innovation in this area, and a corresponding increase in the numbers of patent applications (menopatents?) filed and granted.

In the U.K., less than 10% of women are happy with the menopausal care they receive. This systemic issue goes beyond healthcare, impacting women's lifestyles and livelihoods with the CIPD (The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) finding that three in five menopausal women were negatively affected at work, while BUPA found that almost 900,000 women in the U.K. had left their jobs due to associated symptoms.


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