Menopausal relief in sight
Spray-on treatment is part of new approach to ageing
As part of its wider exploration of lifelong health Cambridge Consultants is developing a technology-based intervention to reduce the problems experienced during the menopause.
The concept product, called Pebal, addresses what is sometimes called a “Cinderella subject” – one that is often marginalised or ignored and “denied the focus of technology developers”.
Working with the National Innovation Centre for Ageing and Open Lab at Newcastle University, Cambridge Consultants set up three workshops to consider the ‘hot flushes’ most commonly associated with the menopause, explore how women conventionally manage their symptoms and work on ‘self-help’ technology to improve outcomes.
Attendees reported that they arrived at the menopause feeling unprepared for the major impact it would have on their lives. Hot flushes were unpredictable, arriving suddenly and having a disruptive effect in the workplace or on sleep during the night.
“While women employed a variety of strategies to manage these hot flushes, from drug-based approaches such as HRT to herbal remedies and cooling pillows, the over-riding sense was that the symptoms of hot flushes were difficult to manage.” One woman attendee commented that “I’m irritated by the disruption this is causing to my life… I’m tired and it has had a massive impact on my quality of life.”
Building on these insights, Cambridge Consultants created Pebal, a concept device that provides an instant cooling effect, giving discreet, on-demand relief, returning control and peace of mind to menopausal women. The approach is that when a woman feels that a hot flush is beginning, she could simply press the large button on Pebal and a small dose of a coolant is released onto the inside surface of a metal plate, creating a cold external surface that is applied to the body where desired. Pebal is visualized as being a flexible, hand-held product, designed to give women the freedom to choose where to place it. The compact design would allow women to use it in public, at home or at work, without drawing unwelcome attention. Subtle surface detailing would create a tactile and comfortable experience. This technology direction removes the requirement for charging and would mean that the device is always ready to go.
Cambridge Consultants developed some initial device concepts to provide instant cooling and on-demand relief “as if an ice cube had been applied to the skin”.
Feedback suggested a product that could be self-applied would be preferable to a wrist-worn device, and the result is Pebal, a ready-to-go hand-held spray-on product that can be applied directly to the body.
Nicola Millar, senior programme lead for lifelong health at Cambridge Consultants, said: “Pebal is merely the beginning. We’re seeking a deeper understanding of the ageing process, listening to what can really help improve people’s lives and supporting self-directed management of our health. Lifelong health is about supporting people in making the right life choices in order to maximise their chances of staying healthy for longer and we’re committed to further exploration of the products and services that can support us through age-related change.”