“Every woman that reaches middle age will experience some level of menopause symptoms. Left untreated, these symptoms can lead to a significant reduction in quality of life,” says Gennev Chief Medical Officer, OB/GYN Dr. Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su.

And because none of the 1.3 million American women who enter menopause each year will have exactly the same experience as another — and because two women can have vastly different experiences — there’s never been a real attempt to chart the journey through the transition.

Until now.

Recently we crossed a major milestone here at Gennev: 50,000 women have taken our Menopause Assessment! Created in 2017 by Dr. Dunsmoor-Su, the comprehensive Gennev Menopause Assessment asks women for information about their age, menstrual cycles, symptoms, and history.

Based on women’s responses and Dr. Dunsmoor-Su’s 20+ years of expertise as an OB/GYN with special expertise in menopause, we identified five distinct menopause types. From there, Dr. Dunsmoor-Su, along with our CEO Jill Angelo, created the first-of-its-kind Menopause Journey Map.

Why the map matters

Why is the map a big deal? According to Dr. Dunsmoor-Su, “We’re excited to deliver the Menopause Journey Map to help set expectations for women and offer predictive solutions for symptom relief, something that’s never been done before.”

If you’re a Type 1 (periods becoming irregular, occasional hot flashes), it might be very helpful to know what probably lies ahead in Type 2 (skipping periods, heavy periods, some hot flashes, poor sleep). You can start making lifestyle changes now to combat symptoms, and perhaps the first time you experience normal, harmless, hormonal heart palpitations, you’ll know how to distinguish them from something more serious.

Perimenopause is an opportunity to start practicing some serious self-care in terms of diet, exercise, sleep hygiene, and more. But many women miss a lot of this window, not knowing the symptoms they’re experiencing are hormonal. And if your primary physician isn’t well-educated on menopause (as many aren’t), they may not know either.

Too many women spend years being misdiagnosed, or worse, ignored, before getting the answers they need. But because our health in perimenopause can affect our longer-term, post-menopausal health (think brain, bones, and heart), it’s important that we know when we’re in it.

And no, your getting hormone levels tested probably won’t tell you.

Hear more about the map from the creator of the Menopause Assessment, Dr. Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su:

What are the Menopause Types?

Our Menopause Map breaks menopause into 5 types. (A detailed overview of Menopause Types is available here):

  • Menopause Type 1: Women are pre-menopause and starting to see some perimenopausal symptoms with early irregular periods, occasional hot flashes, some (irregular) mood symptoms. For many women PMS gets worse. 
  • Menopause Type 2: Women are perimenopausal and starting to experience irregular and spaced periods that are often heavy. Skipping periods is normal during this phase and may continue until periods stop altogether. Women may experience symptoms of hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, and mood changes. 
  • Menopause Type 3: Women in this phase are in early menopause, which lasts approximately 1 to 10 years after last period. Women will still experience some symptoms, but symptoms will wane later in this stage. Vaginal symptoms tend to appear 2 to 3 years after the last period. Women may notice brain, skin, and hair changes more frequently. Mood extremes tend to ease. 
  • Menopause Type 4: Women in this phase are in later menopause, which begins approximately eight years after menopause. During this phase, symptoms shift to mental, vaginal, urinary, hair, and skin, as well as more muscle and joint pain.  
  • Menopause Type 5: Defines a woman whose position in the transition is uncertain because she is taking hormones. This reflects women on oral contraceptives or with an IUD that stops menstruation. This category also includes those who have had a hysterectomy or ablation, but have kept their ovaries (as they will hormonally go through menopause, but experience no bleeding signal).

Knowing your symptoms and cycles is the best way of pinpointing your place in the journey, but to truly understand your body, it helps to discuss your experience with a menopause expert.

Know where you are in the journey

Cliché or not, knowledge truly is power – the power to take control: To manage perimenopause and menopause symptoms now, and to make good choices to preserve your health, independence, and quality of life for the many decades that come after menopause.

“For too long, women’s health 40+ has been treated as shameful, but with GenX women aging into midlife, demands for menopause information, community, and solutions are on the rise,” says Jill Angelo, co-founder and CEO of Gennev. “The healthcare industry has been stubborn to evolve, but now we have the data, software, diagnostics, products, and services that allow us to tackle menopause symptoms head on. We have the ability to create the What to Expect When You’re Expecting for menopause.”

If you’re ready to find out your Menopause Type and start charting your path on the Menopause Journey Map, the first step is to take the Gennev Menopause Assessment. This free and confidential questionnaire takes less than 10 minutes.

Once your Assessment is complete, you’ll be directed to create a free account on Gennev. From your personal, confidential dashboard, you can learn all about your menopause type, get product recommendations specific to your symptoms, find educational materials tailored for you, and connect with a Health Coach or OB/GYN. Then, with your Gennev menopause team, you can build the plan that’s right for you.

The definition of menopause is actually really simple: it’s just one day. Menopause is the one-year anniversary of your last period. This is perhaps the only thing about menopause that’s “simple.” But menopause doesn’t have to be unpleasant or something to dread. With knowledge and a Menopause Plan, you can survive and thrive through the transition and for many many years beyond.

 Menopause Journey Map