18th Congress of Australasian Menopause Society

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Both Dr Olga Ostrowskyj and Dr Carolyn Hackworthy are members of the medical body Australasian Menopause Society: a dedicated group of doctors across the various medical disciplines  committed to the research and study of the menopausal transition.

We meet annually in a capital city either in Australia or NZ to exchange professional ideas, findings, research data to take away to our places of medical practice for the betterment of our patients. This years conference was held in Auckland New Zealand, and was attended by 3 medical practitioners from Newcastle, of which Olga was one. The theme of the conference was “The heart of the matter”.

The keynote speaker was Prof Howard Hodis- Professor of Cardiology at the University of Southern California. His talk showed countless research articles that supported using HRT in a woman if she has no cardiovascular risk factors eg high blood pressure. He also emphasized that mortality rates of women have increased after women ceased HRT abruptly post WHI trial ( 7/2002) . The results of the Women’s Health Initiative trial were released to the press without the consent of all the researches involved. The press misreported the data resulting in women ceasing HRT abruptly . The fallout of that controversy remains till today with many women fearing HRT as prescribed by a doctor and turning to alternative therapies.

Insufficient time existed to cover all the topics that effect a menopausal transition of women. Hence Vulval conditions were addressed from the perspective of a dermatologist, a gynaecologist , psychologist and plastic surgeon.

After an absence of many years, Olga was delighted to see that “Multicultural Menopause” was covered as menopause is understood, portrayed, and experienced in diverse ways depending on one’s background. Obesity is now a global phenomenon. Several lectures were dedicated to body composition, bariatric surgery, micribiomes and diabetes.

A very interesting lecture was given by a lawyer providing the legal opinion on bioidentical hormones. Her advice to the medical profession regarding this controversial area was invaluable. Early morning breakfast sessions focused on younger women in particular controversies surrounding one particular contraceptive and premature menopause that is now called Premature Ovarian Insufficiency. A diagnosis of POI is a life altering event in a woman’s life. Management strategies were discussed both of the physical and emotional symptoms.

The members of the AMS and delegates will continue our dialogue next year’s conference in Canberra where the focus will be on mental health and the menopausal transition.

More information on the 2014 conference can be found at the Australasian Menopause Society conference website.