InsideTracker now provides personalized insights that focus on the physiological uniqueness of peri- and postmenopausal women. This is the first installment of a greater emphasis on women’s health.
InsideTracker’s menopause insights include
- Menopause-specific biomarker and physiomarker interpretations
- New and updated recommendations to address menopause-related changes
- New ProTips
Approximately 1.3 million women in the United States experience menopause each year, and with menopause comes new side effects and health considerations.  Physicians and other healthcare providers are essential in overseeing and providing hormonal treatment options related to menopause as well as screening for disease risk. But many women feel unheard and unsupported about menopause and are seeking personalized intel on how menopause is impacting their health status, relief from menopause symptoms, and guidance on how to live a healthy, thriving life during these years.
“Honestly, nobody talks about menopause…” says Dr. Renee Deehan, the VP of Science and Artificial Intelligence at InsideTracker. “I’m excited that with InsideTracker, we have the opportunity to demystify and normalize this time for so many people—and help where we can.”
And it should be normalized. Because every person with ovaries will experience menopause. And transgender women taking estrogen as part of their gender affirming hormone therapy may even experience menopause related-symptoms if estrogen levels decrease.
Menopause is a hallmark of aging that can’t be avoided. And everyone should have access to information about what’s happening within their body and have autonomy and a voice in their health decisions.
What is menopause?
Menopause occurs when someone has gone one year, or 12 consecutive months, without a menstrual period, and it’s technically just one day of a woman’s life. Most women reach menopause around the age of 51. 
Perimenopause refers to the time around menopause, typically lasting around four years. This is when hormone levels like estrogen begin to fluctuate and then drop. Declines in estrogen levels are responsible for irregular periods, mood changes, sleep disruption, and night sweats that many women experience during the menopause transition. It’s estimated that up to 80% of women experience one or more of these symptoms, which can last anywhere from 3 years up to 11 years—extending through the early years of postmenopause—and some women may experience no symptoms at all.  Survey data of 4,402 women reveal that 60% of those women have sought health care to manage those symptoms. 
It’s important to note that age isn’t the only catalyst of menopause. Some chemotherapy or radiation cancer treatments and surgeries that remove a person’s ovaries and/or uterus initiate menopause in women. 
Postmenopause refers to the time after the end of menstruation. Due to increasing human lifespans and life expectancies, women will likely spend over a third of their life in this postmenopausal stage.  While menopause symptoms can still be prevalent during this stage, the presence of consistently low estrogen levels is a risk factor for certain chronic conditions—regardless of age.
Menopause can impact a woman's healthspan
Healthspan indicates the duration of life spent in generally good health. Menopause may spur events that threaten to shorten the duration of a woman’s healthspan. Here are a few examples.
Bone health: The shift of hormones during menopause to low levels of estrogen creates an internal environment that favors bone loss over bone building. For example, women in menopause experience a bone loss rate of 3% to 5% a year for around five to seven years compared to a rate of 0.3%-0.5% per year at the age of 40. This increases the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. 
Heart health: Low estrogen levels during menopause are also linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Arteries are more likely to constrict, and blood biomarkers of heart health such as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglycerides tend to increase. 
Blood biomarker changes: LDL and triglycerides aren’t the only blood biomarkers that are impacted by menopausal changes. Blood biomarkers are objective measures of health and can be used to evaluate everything from overall wellness, to risk of disease, to a diagnosis of a disease by a physician. Oftentimes, lifestyle choices can positively nudge unoptimized biomarker levels to more favorable levels.
Mood and cognitive changes: Around 45% of menopausal women report feelings of anger, anxiety, depression, decreased focus, loss of self-esteem, and sleep disturbances. 
“Most of the literature out there is all doom and gloom and there are upsides to menopause,” says Dr. Deehan. “This is a time in a woman’s life where she can redirect energy back into herself and prioritize her own fun, happiness, and wellness.”
InsideTracker’s personalized health analysis can equip women with actionable information to help prolong their healthspan and promote quality of life in the next life stage.
InsideTrackers new peri- and postmenopausal insights + recommendations
The peri- and postmenopausal updates that are now integrated into InsideTracker’s platform can be broken up into two categories: insights and recommendations.
Insights that this population may see include personalized explanations of biomarker changes. The physiological changes of menopause affect various biomarker levels. Female users with unoptimized biomarkers that may be associated with menopause will now be notified of the potential mechanism behind those shifts.
For example, a postmenopausal person with low levels of vitamin D and elevated triglyceride levels may see this as part of their InsideTracker analysis:
“Low vitamin D levels have been associated with higher triglyceride levels in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. This is because vitamin D status impacts intestinal absorption of calcium, and calcium is a mediator in triglyceride production. Therefore, as a postmenopausal woman, your below-optimized vitamin D levels may be contributing to your borderline high triglyceride levels.”
The second grouping of updates falls under the category of recommendations.
“We will be providing deep knowledge and actionable recommendations that women undergoing this transition will be able to employ in their daily lives,” says Dr. Deehan. “For example, it’s a great time to start a strength training program if you have not already, or dial in your sleep habits so that temperature fluctuations have less of an impact.”
Eight new recommendations specific to peri- and postmenopausal women have been added to the InsideTracker platform and 28 recommendations have been updated to contain menopause-specific context and information.
“When we are researching to add a new recommendation to InsideTracker, we are looking for a sufficient number of high-quality studies in healthy adult human populations, ideally randomized control trials [RCTs], though that is not always possible depending on the intervention,” says Molly Murphy, MPH, RD, LDN, and the project’s lead scientist. “As InsideTracker scientists, we manually review outcomes, and we also add publications to our internal database that allows us to grade the evidence and ensure it’s up to our standards. We take into account the study design, the number of participants included, the date of publication, and the journal impact factor, to name a few considerations. If enough quality studies using the given intervention in similar populations yield the same outcome to a significant degree, we will add that intervention as a recommendation for the relevant users.
Molly also notes, “When investigating relationships between menopause and biomarkers, those studies are generally longitudinal or cross-sectional in nature and tell us associations but not causation. However, we saw mostly RCTs investigating interventions in the menopausal population, and these do support causal relationships between the recommendations and improved outcomes, providing stronger supporting evidence for that recommendation.”
Some of the new recommendations include:
Try balance training to maintain functional fitness with age 
Take sage extract to improve sleep and the frequency and severity of hot flashes and night sweats 
Add dried plums to the mix to improve bone formation and decrease bone loss 
Updated recommendations include:
- Yoga, as a regular yoga practice can improve the quality of life in peri- and postmenopausal women 
- Collagen supplements, may help improve bone mineral density compared to calcium and vitamin D supplements alone 
“These recommendations are far from generic—they are selected based on the user’s unique combination of biomarkers at that point in time to determine which actions are the most relevant to them,” says Dr. Deehan.
New ProTips—nuggets of evidence-based recommendations—have also been added to offer tips based on sleep metrics and body composition.
Continue support for women in this life phase
InsideTracker users who select female and peri- or postmenopausal on their Health Profile, will see these relevant insights. Many women also undergo hormone replacement therapy (HRT) during this time based on guidance and recommendations from a physician. More updates to the InsideTracker platform are coming soon that provide guidance on how that treatment impacts blood biomarkers.
“I think researchers are recognizing the significant changes that occur around the menopause transition and beyond and I’m optimistic we’ll see even more high-quality research in the near future,” says Molly.
InsideTracker scientists will continue to monitor the research and add relevant new insights, recommendations, and even biomarkers as it relates to menopause and women’s health in general.
To read more about InsideTracker’s renewed emphasis on women’s health, check out this article.