Public Release: 

NIH holds conference to assess evidence on management of menopause-related symptoms

NIH/Office of the Director

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will hold a State-of-the-Science Conference on Management of Menopause-Related Symptoms, March 21-23, 2005, at the Natcher Conference Center on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. The conference will bring together researchers and practitioners in various aspects of menopausal care and research to examine and synthesize the available scientific evidence on treatment of menopausal symptoms. A press briefing will be held at the close of the conference, at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23.

Many women and their doctors are concerned about the use of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) for their menopausal symptoms and interested in learning about alternatives. For many decades, using estrogen (or, in a woman with a uterus, using a combination of estrogen and a progestin) has been the therapy of choice for relieving menopause-related symptoms. But recently, some large clinical trials have found a greater chance of serious health problems such as blood clots, stroke, heart disease, or breast cancer and benefits like fewer hip fractures or less risk of colon cancer in certain groups of women using MHT. It is not clear how these findings apply to women with symptoms because these clinical trials were not designed to study such women, but rather to test whether MHT could prevent chronic diseases or conditions of aging, such as heart disease or cognitive decline.

Research has identified a number of hormonal and non-hormonal approaches that show promise for managing menopause-related symptoms. A careful examination of these strategies for symptom management is urgently needed to provide women and their health care providers with options that will best control their symptoms and restore their quality of life.

The conference presentations and discussions will focus on the following five key questions:

  • What is the evidence that the symptoms more frequently reported by middle-aged women are attributable to ovarian aging?
  • When do the menopausal symptoms appear, how long do they persist, with what frequency and severity, and what is known about the factors that influence them?
  • What is the evidence for the benefits and harms of commonly used interventions for relief of menopause-related symptoms?
  • What are the important considerations in managing menopause-related symptoms in women with clinical characteristics or circumstances that may complicate decision-making?
  • What are the future research directions for treatment of menopause-related symptoms and conditions?

    During the first day and part of the second day of the conference, experts will present the latest findings in menopausal symptoms research to an independent panel. The panel will then meet in executive session to weigh the evidence before them and prepare its statement assessing the state of the science. The panel will present its draft statement for public comment at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 23.

    The press briefing will be held in the main auditorium of the Natcher Center at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23. Reporters are welcome to attend the full conference, or just the press briefing. Please register at or call (301) 496-4819 for more information.

    The complete conference agenda, including additional background and logistical information, is available at All open conference sessions, including the press briefing, will be webcast at


    The primary sponsors of this conference are the National Institute on Aging and the Office of Medical Applications of Research, NIH.

    Note to Radio Editors: An audio report of the conference results will be available after 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 23 from the NIH Radio News Service by calling 1-800-MED-DIAL (1-800-633-3425).

    Note to TV Editors: The news conference at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23 will be broadcast live via satellite on the following coordinates:

    Galaxy 3 Transponder 06 C-Band Test time: 1:30 - 2:00 p.m. EDT
    Orbital slot: 95 degrees West Broadcast: 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. EDT
    Downlink Freq: 3820 Vertical
    Audio 6.2/6.4

    The NIH comprises the Office of the Director and 27 Institutes and Centers. The Office of the Director is the central office at NIH and is responsible for setting policy for NIH and for planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all the NIH components. The NIH, the Nation's medical research agency, is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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