June 2018 Health Bulletin

16th World Congress on Menopause – Vancouver, Canada, June 2018

The 16th World Congress on Menopause was held in Vancouver, Canada in early June. This is considered the peak Congress pertaining to midlife women’s health and is hosted by the International Menopause Society. Research undertaken by the Women’s Health Research Program was presented at the Congress by four of the Women’s Health Research Program team.

Dr Rakib Islam presented new findings from his study of Bangladeshi women at midlife. Specifically, he reported that overall, urinary incontinence is less prevalent in Bangladesh than in developed countries. He also reported that in contrast to stress incontinence being the most common form of urinary incontinence among women at mid-life in developed countries, women at mid-life in Bangladesh are more likely to experience urge incontinence. This was a surprise finding considering that stress incontinence is associated with multiple pregnancies and many of the women in the study have had more than two children. However, stress incontinence is also associated with obesity and few women in the study were obese.

Dr Ensieh Fooladi presented the first results of her cross-sectional, population-based survey of 1,520 women, aged 40-64 years, living in Sari, Northern Iran. She reported that the proportion of Iranian women experiencing menopausal hot flushes and night sweats is similar to the proportion of symptomatic women in countries such as Australia and the USA. However very few women in her study reported experiencing moderate to severe symptoms. Whether this is because Iranian women underreport symptoms, are less bothered by symptoms, or have less symptoms remains to be elucidated. Dr Fooladi also found a strong association between moderate to severely bothersome hot flushes and night sweats and moderate to severe depressive symptoms. This research has now been accepted for publication in the international journal, Climacteric.

Professor Robin Bell gave two invited presentations: 'The medical literature – what is wrong with it and what can we do about it?' and 'Screening for breast cancer – is it worth it?' Professor Susan Davis spoke on low testosterone in women, and debated the issue of whether or not testosterone was useful to the treatment of low female sexual desire. Both Professor Bell and Professor Davis presented new research findings from the Women’s Health Research Program which we will share with you in future bulletins.

An exciting event at the Congress was the commencement of Professor Susan Davis’s two year term as President, and Chair of the Board of the International Menopause Society.

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