Highlights From the 11th World Congress of Gynecological Endocrinology

Peter Kovacs, MD


March 17, 2004

In This Article


The 11th World Congress of Gynecological Endocrinology was held in Florence, Italy, from February 26-29. The conference provided an opportunity to review the latest achievements in obstetric and gynecologic endocrinology. Invited experts hold most of the presentations; the rest are held by other investigators whose abstracts have been selected for presentation. This year, the majority of the presentations were dedicated to menopause and hormone replacement therapy (HRT). This should not be surprising, as this field has been among the most controversial aspects of women's health during the past 2 years.

In recent years, the findings of several randomized trials that questioned the earlier observations have been published. Most presenters at the Congress harshly criticized these new studies, partly secondary to methodologic issues, and partly secondary to misinterpretation of the reported outcome. These opinions are published in most gynecologic journals in the form of editorials or commentary and in the popular press as well. Still, considerable "damage" has been done. Many physicians and patients are unsure about the indication, benefits, and risks associated with HRT. One of the presenters described the problem as follows: "It takes 2 months to publish wrong data, but it takes 10 years to correct it." The controversy surrounding HRT may translate into benefit by stimulating research in the field of menopausal medicine. By better understanding the effects of hormones in various organs, new drugs with a more favorable profile can be developed and offered to menopausal women. It is not the purpose of this conference report to review the above-mentioned studies, but rather, I will discuss other, new preparations that may be an alternative for the management of menopausal symptoms. In addition, there will be a review of some of the topics related to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and assisted reproduction.


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