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World Health Organization Technical Report Series. 1981; (670):1-120.This report includes the collective views of a World Health Organization (WHO) Scientific Group on Research on the Menopause that met in Geneva during December 1980. It includes information on the following: 1) the endocrinology of the menopause and the postmenopausal period (changes in gonadotropins and estrogens immediately prior to the menopause and changes in gonadotropin and steroid hormone levels after the menopause); 2) the age distribution of the menopause (determining the age at menopause, factors influencing the age at menopause, and the range of ages at menopause and the definition of premature and delayed menopause); 3) sociocultural significance of the menopause in different settings; 4) symptoms associated with the menopause (vasomotor symptoms, psychological symptoms, disturbances of sexuality, and insomnia); 5) disorders resulting from, or possibly accelerated by, the menopause (osteoporosis, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, and arthritic disorders); 6) risks, with particular reference to neoplasia, of therapeutic estrogens and progestins given to peri- and postmenopausal women (endometrial cancer, breast cancer, and gallbladder disease); 7) fertility regulating methods for women approaching the menopause (fertility and the need for family planning in women approaching the menopause, problems of family planning in perimenopausal women, and considerations with regard to individual methods of family planning in women approaching the menopause); and 8) estrogen and the health care management of perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. At this time some controversy exists as to whether there is a menopausal syndrome of somatic and psychological symptoms and illness. There are virtually no data on the age distribution of the menopause and no information on its sociocultural significance in the developing countries. The subject of risks and benefits of estrogen therapy in peri- and postmenopausal women is of much importance in view of the large number of prescriptions issued for this medication in developed countries, which indicates their frequrnt use, and the different interpretations and opinions among epidemiologists and clinicians on both past and current studies on this subject. Specific recommendations made by the Scientific Group appear at the end of each section of the report. The following were among the general recommendations made: WHO sponsored research should be undertaken to determine the impact on health service needs of the rapidly increasing numbers of postmenopausal women in developing countries; uniform terminology should be adopted by health care workers with regard to the menopause; uniform endocrine standards should be developed which can be applied to the description of peri- and postmenopausal conditions and diseases; and descriptive epidemiological studies of the age at menopause should be performed in a variety of settings.
IPPF MEDICAL BULLETIN. 1990 Apr; 24(2):2-4.Breast milk provides infants with their nutritional requirement plus antibodies to combat certain infections. Prolonged breast feeding and concurrent postpartum amenorrhea contribute to natural infertility, but considerable variability occurs among different populations. Further, certain variables exist that contribute greatly to the length of amenorrhea and infertility. They include nutritional status of the mother; length of breast feeding; giving supplements to the infant; frequency and duration of suckling; and geographic, social, and cultural factors. Many studies indicate that the longer a woman breast feeds, the longer she will experience amenorrhea. Anovulation is contingent on the frequency and distribution of nursing episodes day and night and the time of the infant feeds at the breast. Feeding an infant supplementary milk or food also reduces the inhibitory affect of breast feeding on ovarian activity and fertility, especially when supplements are introduced early. Educating mothers about the value of child spacing, breast feeding, maternal nutrition, and contraception should be done during pregnancy and the postpartum period, the times when mothers most often visit health clinics. Mothers should also be informed that it is not possible to anticipate how long they will be infertile while breast feeding, so contraceptive use should be encouraged. If possible, nursing mothers should avoid using hormonal contraceptives because they can interrupt lactation or pose a risk to the infant. IUDs are highly efficacious. If a woman is in a hospital to deliver, postpartum sterilization is another option. Barrier methods are effective, if used regularly, especially during this time of reduced fertility. Since the reoccurrence of menses is unpredictable and the efficacy is not know, nursing mothers should not rely on periodic abstinence.
Lancet. 1985 May 4; 1(8436):1046.As part of a study on acute febrile pelvic inflammatory disease and IUDs, reported elsewhere, a significantly lower risk of PID was observed in women using injectable contraceptives. The World Health Organization coordinated the multinational case-control study in 1979-79. Diagnostic criteria were fever, suprapubic tenderness with guarding, cervical or adnexal tenderness or a pelvic mass. 319 cases and 639 matched controls were matched for age, parity, marital status and hospital status. Data were taken from questionnaires. 10 cases (3.1%) currently used injectable contraceptives, mainly Depo-Provera, compared to 38 controls (6.0%). Thus the risk of getting PID was half as great among injectable users, similar in magnitude to risks reported for women using oral contraceptives, barrier methods and sterilization in developing countries.