Guest Author - Tammy Elizabeth Southin
Menopause takes center stage in Rome, Italy at the International Menopause Society’s 13th World Congress on Menopause. Healthcare experts from around the world attended the four-day conference (June 8-11, 2011) to share the latest research into menopause and women’s health management.
This conference is held every three years (the last one took place in Madrid, Spain in 2008) and attracts over 150 presenters and thousands of attendees dedicated to advances in menopause research.
The International Menopause Society
The International Menopause Society (IMS) formed in 1978 and changed the medical community’s attitudes about women’s health. Previously, gender-based health awareness, especially for the female gender, was not considered important enough for resource allocation. Researchers and personal physicians generally ignored women and in particular menopausal women. This is not an indictment of the medical profession but a reminder that until recently menopause was viewed as an insignificant experience.
The IMS has been working to change those attitudes and almost three decades later, much progress has been made. Numerous menopause societies have emerged worldwide to adopt menopause education and awareness programs in a variety of cultural settings.
Menopause research is more than hot flashes
As physicians gather at the 2011 World Congress on Menopause, there is more to the health story than just hot flashes. The entire spectrum of health issues is examined to understand menopause and health issues related to aging. While the focus is on women’s healthcare, the implications for further medical research into aging and quality of life are just as important for men.
Among the many topics presented at this meeting, some of the highlights include:
*The Menopausal Transition – endometrial disorders, moods, contraception and hormonal treatment options during menopause
*Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disorders After Menopause – managing blood pressure in postmenopausal women, metabolic disorders, risks of coronary heart disease
*Menopause and Breast Cancer – managing breast cancer in postmenopausal patients and survivors, the latest findings into breast cancer prevention, further research into the links between hormone therapy and breast cancer
*Menopause, Hormone Therapies, and the Central Nervous System – understand how hormones affect brain activity, research into Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases
*Living and Loving after 40 – examining urinary incontinence, the effects of hot flashes on women’s lives, addressing women’s libido and quality of life
*Menopause: Impact of Culture and Ethnicity – a multinational examination of menopausal symptoms in women around the world including China, Africa, and India
*HRT: The Route, the Doses, The Hormones – dealing with the options of oral and transdermal therapies
*Pregnancy at Advanced Parental Age – research into the implications of pregnancies in older women
*The Slovene Menopause Society – a number of studies conducted in Slovenia dealing with postmenopausal libido, and autoimmune premature ovarian failure
*Metabolism and Obesity – addressing the global epidemic of increased obesity rates and the effects on women’s health including cardiovascular disease risks
Many of the presentations indicate that ongoing research is crucial to further improvements in healthcare; many of these studies are in their early stages. There are some reports of long-term outcomes based on research carried out in the last couple of decades. The most important point to take from the IMS is that their continued work will help improve the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of women who deserve a respectful approach to their healthcare no matter where in the world they may live.
To access more information about the 13th World Congress on Menopause refer to http://www.imsroma2011.com
Additional information about the International Menopause Society is at http://www.imsociety.org/index.php
Menopause, Your Doctor, and You