Menopause has been getting a bit of a rebrand lately. Once shrouded in shame and mystery, it’s no longer such taboo fodder. We can attribute some of the shift to celebrities such as the Naomi’s (Watts and Campbell), Drew Barrymore, Halle Berry, Gwyneth Paltrow and the queen herself (Oprah, of course). All have vocalized and normalized their, well, normal experience which eventually happens to half the population. However, in addition to the tastemaker-led outcry for acknowledgement and support, the shift is largely due to the wellness industry seeing an opportunity to cater to the 1.3 million women who join the “club” each year - an emerging market opportunity to the tune of $16 billion by 2025.
Enter Clearblue’s Menopause Stage Indicator test, the latest headline-grabbing menopause market entrant. We tapped Wellcore Physician Assistant, Ryan Lester, to help us understand how it works and walk us through what women can expect from this new tool before they elect to invest.
Known for their at-home fertility and pregnancy tests, Clearblue has expanded their hormone testing to include assessing what stage of menopause (premenopause, early perimenopause, late perimenopause or post menopause) a woman is in using a series of tests and a free app. To determine this, Clearblue requires the user to provide five urine samples measuring follicle stimulating hormone levels, one every other day to detect changing levels, and upload her results, age and cycle history to the app. The app delivers a printable, personalized report to share with healthcare providers, as well as tracks symptoms and cycles, and offers ongoing educational content.
According to Lester, assuming Clearblue’s test is accurate and has a low error rate (Clearblue states their FSH tests are 99 percent accurate), it seems to be an affordable ($19.99) and safe entry level tool to the first step in understanding more about a woman’s menopause journey. Clearblue is also a household name which gives the brand a platform to drive important conversations around menopause education. The more dialogue we create around the topic, the more empowered women become.
FSH is an important hormone in menopause, says Lester, but it is not the only one. Other hormones, such as estradiol, progesterone, LH, testosterone, and DHEA-S, also play a role in menopause symptoms. A more comprehensive test would test all of these hormones to get a better picture of your overall hormonal health.
Also, the test is unable to determine the exact FSH level. Clearblue’s indicator only tells you whether your FSH level is less than or greater than 25mIU/ml. Knowing the exact level can be helpful in determining your menopause stage. And, the result they provide is your “likely” stage of menopause. From there a woman can choose to do nothing or share this information with their doctor who will likely suggest they get more blood work to check all the other hormone levels, something they could ask their doctor for as the first step rather than taking the Clearblue test.
It is also inconvenient. Clearblue requires you to provide a urine sample first thing in the morning, every other day, for 10 days. This can be difficult to remember and do consistently.
In addition to evaluating Clearblue’s test, Lester has shared the pros and cons of common menopause testing methods.
For a comprehensive and accurate assessment of your menopause status, you may want to consider a blood test performed by your doctor or a hormone specialist. If a woman has any significant menopausal symptoms that she wants to improve, she will likely have to get a blood test regardless in order to be prescribed hormone replacement therapy such as progesterone, testosterone, or estrogen.
The Shortcut Without Shortcuts
Wellcore’s At-Home Assessment Kit includes a comprehensive test that measures all of the relevant hormones for menopause, including FSH, LH, testosterone, estradiol, progesterone, DHEA-S, and 18 other biomarkers assessing liver, kidney, thyroid, and cholesterol levels. Conveniently collect your blood sample at home using a painless device and send it to the certified lab in the mail. The assessment uniquely includes all lab work, as well as a video consultation with a hormone specialist who shares the results and collaborates with the patient to develop a personalized treatment program aligning with their health goals. If the clinician deems you a good candidate for hormone optimization, they will prescribe the medication and have it shipped directly to your home.
In a Nutshell
As a reminder, 73 percent of women don’t seek treatment for their menopausal symptoms, which can lead to numerous related health concerns.
“The most important thing is that a woman starts bioidentical hormones once her natural levels start to decline. Maintaining healthy hormone levels as a female ages reduces her risk of breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and osteoporosis, not to mention eliminates the unnecessary and potentially debilitating symptoms of menopause,” said Lester.
So, even if Clearblue’s test isn’t the most convenient or accurate way to gain visibility into hormonal health, at the very least it is encouraging women to see a healthcare provider to learn more about menopause treatment options and helping them wrap their head around a change no one prepared them for. We can get behind any responsible company that does this.
Join millions of men and women who are improving their health by ordering the Wellcore At-Home Assessment Kit today.
1 in 10 will develop a thyroid issue. The odds go up if you’re a woman.
Navigating Holiday Stress Amidst the Menopausal Rollercoaster.
Unraveling the Differences Between Natural, Bioidentical, and Non-Bioidentical Hormones.