4 Things I Learned From Analyzing Menopause Apps Reviews
tl;dr Menopause is hard. Women universally struggle with the same issues. If we can make it easier for women to deal with these 4 issues, menopause will be easier.
Throughout this post, we use both “women” and “people” to include anyone who might experience menopause-related symptoms.
I am 38yo and finally know what I want to do when I grow up — impact women’s health worldwide. That is why I co-founded sheKnows, where our first order of business is to help women feel better around menopause.
The menopausal journey is appallingly under-discussed. Substantial hormonal changes start around age 45 and could continue for over 10 years — reverse puberty in the middle of life. Half of the world experience menopause and more than half of menopausal women report life-changing symptoms, with some going on for years before finding a solution. A quarter of the world’s population had, have, or will have a life-damaging experience that most people know nothing about.
We are here to change that.
Coming from a technological and analytical background, I came up with the idea to analyze publically available reviews for menopause apps. There aren’t many such apps, that’s part of the reality we are here to change, but for the apps that do exist — users write passionate and enlightening reviews.
Here’s what I’ve learned from reading and analyzing the reviews.
Introduction: Listening to Women
To gather data for this research, I collected and read every review of every menopause-related app on Google Play and Apple’s App Store, a total of 1222 reviews for 6 apps.
The preliminary part of this research was to look for emerging patterns. Indeed, an extensive exploration revealed 4 major themes: understand menopause, understand me, get solutions, and get support.
Next, I tagged the reviews using these 4 themes. Each phrase or sentence that matched a common theme, received the appropriate tag, and so each review received between 0 and 4 unique tags. Reviews that didn’t get any tag were usually either technical, such as “can’t open the app”, or too general, such as “love this app”.
Although there were some differences in reviews of different apps, all apps received all tags, showing the universality of those common themes. Therefore, this research focuses on the 740 reviews (60%) across all apps that received at least one tag.
The following sections describe what I learned from analyzing each theme.
Tag #1: Understand Menopause
62% of reviewers praised the information given on the app.
“Information is clear and easy to read without leaving you mind-boggled.”
All menopause apps offer information about the menopause journey in some form, and when looking at the data we can understand why. The overwhelmingly most significant feedback regarded the information on the app — 470 (62%) out of 740 tagged reviews, with 192 of them (26%) that had this as the only theme in their review.
The Menopause journey starts with Peri-Menopause, on average 4 years before the last period, and symptoms last for an average of 7.4 years. This is a dramatic time in a person’s life and yet the menopause journey is hardly talked about. Searching online for information about menopause is confusing — many sources contradict each other, and many are written in professional or medical jargon. The overall experience of trying to learn about menopause online is a flood of information about the most common issues, such as hot flushes and sleep disorders, and a lack of information about anything else.
Back to the quote above; nothing is obvious when it comes to menopause, even clear information.
Conclusion #1: Women are seeking validated and trusted information about menopause.
Tag #2: Understand Me
37% of reviewers mentioned features on the app that helped them understand what is happening to them.
“It tells me about myself; I understand & own what is happening in my own body”
Reviewers applaud tracking features for irregular periods, symptoms, feelings, and lifestyle. Out of 289 reviews tagged with this theme, 198 (68%) specifically said they use the app to monitor their symptoms.
Each menopause journey is unique. Yet some completely bizarre-sounding symptoms, such as sweating in your eyelashes (true!), are actually quite common. Perimenopause is the period in life in which estrogen levels start to decline drastically; estrogen participates in biological processes that influence our entire body, and so during perimenopause, each person might experience dozens of different mental and physical changes.
Conclusion #2: Women are keen to gain understanding and certainty about their own menopausal journey.
Tag #3: Get Solutions
33% of reviewers described how the app made an impact on their health. Furthermore, 30% of reviewers said the app was “useful” or “helpful”, indicating women are turning to menopause apps to get actual results.
Two strong voices stood out from reviews tagged with this theme.
“This app goes into how to deal with symptoms and gives recommendations that actually help balance hormones”
First, more than 10% of reviewers noted receiving useful tips and advice for managing menopausal symptoms and general lifestyle advice for dealing with this challenging time. This is a figure that should not surprise anyone involved in women’s health. Online forums for women’s health, and menopause in particular, are all about asking and giving advice.
“Sent the report to my doctor before a telephone consult & it made the conversation so much easier!.”
This second figure blew my mind: 13% of reviewers stated that using the data from the app they were able to get better healthcare. As a result of learning about their bodies and their options, women report having more efficient and productive conversations with their doctors, which enabled them to make informed health decisions and find effective solutions.
Conclusion #3: Women take charge of their health care and want to find effective solutions.
Tag #4: Get Support
27% of reviewers expressed feeling better emotionally.
“Just knowing there are other people out there going through the same things is a help in itself”
The findings until now revolved around the practical side of menopause. Learn, monitor, solve. This is why it is significant to discover that over a quarter of reviewers explicitly referred to emotional support.
Menopause, like any life-altering medical condition, comes with its emotional struggles.
Women often go on for years before finding an effective treatment for their health issues; years of feeling doubted, shamed, and alone. When discovering these apps, women describe they finally realized they were not going crazy and are not the only ones out there.
It is also relevant to mention in this regard that almost 15% of reviewers specifically remarked the app was easy to use, and this goes for all apps. This is surprising because “easy” is pretty much the opposite of how women describe the menopause journey…
Conclusion #4: Women just want to feel normal.
Our Cause for Menopause
When I began this research, I thought it would be casual product research about popular features and market needs. But the more I tuned in to the voices, the more I realized there is a bigger story here.
The extraordinary evidence shows a coherent voice among reviewers of menopause apps: women must work hard to feel better.
And this is precisely the equation we are aiming to break at sheKnows.
Women work hard to educate and monitor themselves to understand what is happening to them.
Women work hard to be their own case managers and lead the conversations with their doctors to make informed health decisions.
Menopause is so shamed and outcasted that women work hard to find more people who feel the same, even though what they are going through is completely normal!
There has to be a better way.
As Co-Founder and CEO of sheKnows, I promise you we are the ones who are now working hard to find a solution.
We believe in a future where women don’t have to work hard to be their healthcare educators, managers, and advocators.
We believe in a future where women can easily access personalized facts and solutions, without struggling to navigate the flood of mis/information.
We believe in a future where we all feel comfortable talking about our health, especially menopause — which naturally happens to us all.
And we believe the latest advancements in artificial intelligence could be a gamechanger in creating this future.
Women’s health revolution is coming.
Would you like to join me?.