The conversations and symptoms surrounding menopause, for many women, are very uncomfortable. One Chicagoland entrepreneur, along with her business partner and sisters, are working to change that.

After failing to find garments that would soothe her hot flashes, Nancy Munro decided to make one herself. Over a year and a half ago, Munro co-created CoolCami, a camisole which uses “phase-change” material to regulate body temperature, to help menopausal women keep cool and dry while dealing with hot flashes. The product is also meant to help women who’ve had hysterectomies or undergone chemotherapy regulate their body temperatures, Munro said.

“People don’t even want to say the ‘M-word’, and a lot of times that has to do with stigma that, ‘Oh, that means you’re old’,” Munro said. “I want to make it where not only is it not taboo, but it’s trendy. It’s something to be proud of, something to get people talking, and get people in control of their health.”

Munro also created CoolMeMat, a blanket which keeps users cool, and co-founded MenopauseSisters.com, a blog and radio show which offers support and advice for menopausal women, with her three sisters. Contrast with her tech career, Munro’s sisters have backgrounds in healthcare.

Prior to founding CoolCami with fellow co-founder Jim Orrico, she founded KnowledgeShift, a company which crafted corporate training software, 11 years ago. She met her co-founder at an MIT Enterprise Forum in Chicago, and told him in passing that she wanted to create a garment for women suffering from hot flashes and night sweats. Later on, he came to her with a sample of the phase-change material he’d found in Merchandise Mart.

The camisole, made of absorbent bamboo fabric, features cooling liner made of phase change material, which is comprised of a heavy duty vinyl with liquid inside. As the body warms up during a hot flash, the liner absorbs the excess heat, which helps to keep the body cool. The camisoles cost $100, but Munro claims the garment will last for years.

Going forward, Munro would like to partner with other women’s undergarment companies like Spanx or Soma, but until then, she’s offering the product online. Through the information presented on the website and the CoolCami products, Munro hopes to lessen the awkwardness surrounding menopause and other women’s health issues.

While referring to menopause, Munro said, “It’s part of nature, and it’s never going to go away, so let’s start talking about it so people will start to look at the options and not think really you know try to guess what they should do or not or not be embarrassed to talk to their doctor about it or not be embarrassed to seek out these other.”

(Image via Youtube)