Menopause is a challenging time for women, partially because it’s something many women don’t know much about. In fact, according to research by Clue, 70% of women weren’t even sure what perimenopause was.

Peri and menopausal women are a historically underserved portion of the population when it comes to health research. That’s why, as part of Oura’s ongoing commitment to women’s health research, we are thrilled to announce that we are joining forces with Clue and the University of California Berkeley to conduct menopause research using Oura.

The Impact of Misunderstanding Menopause

According to research, 10% of women will stop working earlier than necessary due to their unmanaged symptoms of menopause. Despite the significant impact of menopause on women’s health, a concerning trend persists in research: many studies exclude menopausal women, leading to a gap in our understanding of this pivotal life stage. The few studies that do look at menopause often fail to comprehensively explore the physiological changes associated with this transition. 

When Clue asked more than 26,000 of their community members what they knew about menopause, the responses were astounding:

  • Less than half of the participants over the age of 51 had heard about perimenopause from a healthcare provider. 
  • Nearly a third of participants weren’t sure how long perimenopause can last for.
  • Almost 50% didn’t know that it’s still possible to get pregnant during perimenopause.

Women’s bodies go through many changes as they phase out of the menstruating years. For instance, we see an overwhelming increase in Oura members over 40 tagging symptoms associated with perimenopause, including insomnia, night sweats, hot flashes, anger, and migraines. 

The sudden influx of new physiological and mental symptoms can be scary and overwhelming for women who do not currently have access to sufficient information and resources to help guide them through this phase. This can lead to self-doubt and the avoidance of necessary medical care. 

READ MORE: How Does Menopause Affect Sleep?

Using Wearable Technology to Advance Understanding of Menopause

Using Oura Ring, researchers can monitor the physiological fluctuations of perimenopausal and menopausal women. Oura will donate rings to the participants in the UC Berkeley study and will collect biometric data, including heart rate, skin temperature, heart rate variability, and sleep changes.

The proposed study will use historical cycle data (cycle length and variability), a survey, Clue symptom tracking, and Oura data (sleep, stress, HRV, etc.) to help quantify when someone is entering perimenopause, and, if relevant, how far they are into their journey.

The aim of the study is to better understand and predict the changes women go through in later life, to help provide them with resources, tools, and guidance so they feel supported through this transition.

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