Who knew that the tech sector even realized older women existed? With all the young bros and millennials playing foosball at Google Headquarters or drinking chai lattes at Silicon Valley coffee shops as they map out their “unicorn” start ups, a woman’s ovaries, especially a woman’s very tired ovaries, seemed far off the radar. But miracles do happen, and as part of Women’s History Month, Apple is promoting a new app called Caria that promises to hold your hand (virtually) through the menopause experience.
“In the field of women’s health, medical advancement has focused on birth control and fertility treatments,” Apple stated in a news release. “Even though women spend several years and an average of $20,000 in trial-and-error treatments, doctor’s visits, and products trying to get the right diagnosis and treatment for menopause.” See, ladies, we’re not totally invisible any longer.
The app was developed by Arfa Rehman and Scott Gorman, who saw the need for guidance and support during menopause, and together they launched this personalized guide to help users understand menopausal changes and manage their symptoms.
“There is a lack of education about menopause and its treatments in the medical community, as only 20 percent of ob-gyn residency programs in the U.S. have a formal menopause curriculum,” says Rehman, who is also CEO of Caria. “As a result, many medical professionals don’t have the training to diagnose and treat menopausal symptoms, often leaving women with insufficient options and support.” Ya think?
Someone is Listening
It’s unusual (and refreshing) for a youngish woman and a man to pay such close attention to our issues. That may be because, as the saying goes, money talks. So when the women with cash in the Female Founders Fund, which invests in women-owned businesses, complained in a survey, people listened. For 78 percent of respondents in the survey, menopause interfered with their lives. What’s more, 23 percent reported that menopause had either “a great deal” or “completely debilitating” impact on their lives.
To combat this, Caria implements an artificial-intelligence-powered assistant that women can chat with in order to uncover the meaning of their symptoms and where they might be in their menopause journey. This will ultimately expand Caria’s intelligence to curate personalized health insights and recommendations about nutrition, wellness, and fitness, so that women are empowered to navigate menopause with solutions tailored to their unique profiles and preferences.
Developed with experts specializing in women’s health, Caria provides evidence-based approaches for managing menopause, including cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy, nutritional therapy, mindfulness, and fitness. It also delivers tailored programs for each stage of menopause — premenopause, perimenopause, natural menopause, or postmenopause — and curated goals. Caria recently launched a premium subscription for unlimited access to expert-created programs for symptom management.
“Since there are so few options when it comes to managing menopause, as well as a lack of well-designed products for Gen X women, we’re hoping for Caria to fill that gap,” says Rehman.
The Menopause App: From Cradle to Your Phone
In 2019, Rehman and Gorman attended Apple Entrepreneur Camp, where they collaborated in person for the first time with one of their key engineers. The team built the first version of their app for Apple Watch and started working on incorporating Siri Shortcuts, which now lets app users log all of their current and new symptoms, triggers, and daily activities from anywhere using their voice.
“Menopausal symptoms can disrupt women’s lives when we’re at the peak of our careers and earning power,” says Rehman. “Women currently experiencing perimenopause and menopause are 50 million strong — a high-value segment that has often been overlooked. So there is enormous value in catering to women in menopause with innovative solutions that meet their needs.”
Amen to that! And thanks for noticing.