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You could say that menopause is… hot. There’s a dedicated World Menopause Day (on Wednesday last week, in case you missed it), thousands of Tiktoks, podcasts, the odd menopause summit and products. So many products. In the US, menopause-specific brands such as Pause and Womaness, among others, sell supplements, creams, vaginal lubricants and ‘Skincare Down There’ (their euphemism, not mine).

In Australia, supplements brands such as eir women and The Menopause Co offer pills and powders that promise to boost our energy, mood and libido. This week Australian natural skincare brand Vanessa Megan launched its first menopause-specific range with a vaginal moisturiser called The Other Lips Balm. Once we’ve collectively taken a moment to uncross our legs, it’s worth considering the potential value of this new menopause market, estimated to be worth $US16 billion by 2025.

In Australia, 80,000 women move into the perimenopausal stage every year – and perimenopause, the period leading up to menopause, can last 10 years. That’s a lot of women looking for relief from some of the onerous side-effects of this natural hormonal change. Some of these symptoms – which include night sweats, hot flushes, mental health issues, and vaginal dryness – aren’t for the faint hearted. Not to mention the other, even more serious consequences of the precipitous drop in hormones that occurs once we hit menopause and our periods finally stop.

"Women’s risk of cardiovascular disease increases at menopause, as does the risk of osteoporosis. There’s an acceleration of loss of calcium from the bones in the first two to five years after menopause."

– Dr Karen Magraith, GP and immediate past-president of the Australasian Menopause Society.

Note that Magraith doesn’t recommend the addition of vaginal lip balm to your healthcare regimen. She is sceptical about the explosion of products hitting our shelves.

"There are a lot of claims that various products can ease the symptoms of menopause and the vast majority of those claims are not based on evidence. So with the increasing interest in menopause, which is welcome, there’s also… an increase in people trying to profit from it, which is not."

– Dr Karen Magraith

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