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Journal: Minerva ginecologica


The prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms in pregnancy is very high, up to 80%, with a maximum peak during the third trimester. Together with lifestyle modifications, antacids and antisecretive agents, such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and histamine H2receptor antagonists (H2RAs), are commonly prescribed in non-pregnant, adult population. In certain Countries these drugs are not allowed in or are allowed only during the late stages of pregnancy. Alginate-based formulations have been used for the symptomatic treatment of heartburn for decades, as they usually contain sodium or potassium bicarbonate. In the presence of gastric acid, a foamy raft is created above the gastric contents. The alginate raft moves into the esophagus in place or ahead of acidic gastric contents during reflux episodes physically preventing reflux of gastric contents into the esophagus. Alginate-based formulations are allowed with no restrictions also in pregnancy: their safety profile make them a very valid option taking into account the risk/benefit ratio for both parturient and unborn baby. This systematic review paper aims to explore the use of medications for treating GERD in pregnancy, including alginate raft-forming-agents, highlighting the benefits for both the mother and the fetus. Electronic search in databases was conducted on databases such as Medline, PubMed, Ovid retrieving data concerning the reflux treatments in pregnancy, with a special focus on alginate raft forming antireflux agents. From the literature on alginate use in pregnancy, no particular risks have been shown to date for both parturient and unborn baby when alginate had been administered during all the pregnancy trimesters. The physical mode of action ensures the maximum esophageal protection by the neutral foam floating in the stomach, maintaining physiological pH values at stomach level, without interfering with the digestive processes. The symptoms' healing has been markedly improved during the weeks of observation; the symptoms monitored in all studies were: heartburn, regurgitation, pain (chest). After four weeks of treatment little or no change was observed in maternal mean sodium or potassium concentrations. No sodium restriction diet has been adopted. No edema of lower limbs or weight gain occurred. No adverse reactions related to the testing drug had been reported and all the authors concluded that alginate was safe for the unborn baby. Nowadays pharmacological treatments for GER are available as OTC drugs, including antacids, antisecretive agents, PPIs and H2RAs, and as medical devices, such as alginate raft forming antireflux agents (i.e.: Reflublocâ„¢, Novartis NCH Italy). On this last product, considering the specific indication in pregnancy and the safety profile, without restrictions of administration during the whole pregnancy period, furthermore the physical mode of action, it gives the gynecologists a very important option in treating GER in pregnancy, taking care of both pregnant and fetus. Raft-forming-antireflux agents are safe and effective in GER treatment during pregnancy.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Stomach, Gastroesophageal reflux disease, Digestion, Gastric acid, Cardia, Esophageal cancer, Antacid


The contraceptive pill containing estradiol valerate and dienogest meets women’s requests for: a more natural contraceptive, that is reliable and easy to use, with positive cosmetic effects; less intense and shorter bleeding, reduced anaemia and increased vital energy; reduced dysmenorrhoea and all the specific cycle-related symptoms linked to a drop in oestrogen and the related systemic inflammation, the result of a hormone free interval (HFI) of just two days; with a good impact on sexuality and overall well-being, all associated with a high level of efficacy: (uncorrected Pearl Index: 0.79; corrected: 0.42).

Concepts: Birth control, Hormonal contraception, Combined oral contraceptive pill, Estrogen, Luteinizing hormone, Testosterone, Menstrual cycle, Acupuncture


Menstruation is the genital sign of systemic endocrine events. Heterogeneity of perimenstrual symptoms is associated with levels of inflammation, triggered by the fall of estrogens at genital and systemic level. Aim of the review is to concisely analyze the evidence on: 1) genital and systemic endocrine and inflammatory events associated with periods and perimenstrual symptoms; 2) rationale of intervention to reduce their intensity and impact on women’s lives. This review of the literature, selected with a clinical perspective, supports the inflammatory basis of the menstrual event, triggered by the estrogens' and progesterone' fall. Moreover, the review analyzes the endocrine and inflammatory basis of perimenstrual pelvic and extrapelvic symptoms such as: menstrual pain, menstrual irregularities, premenstrual syndrome, gastrointestinal symptoms, catamenial headache, depression, perimenstrual myalgia, joint pain, allergies and asthma, heavy menstrual bleeding, associated ironless anemia, brain and behavioral consequences. Inflammation, with increase of cytokines and other markers, is modulated by the degranulation of mast cells at the basal level of the endometrium, in the blood, in all the organs where mast-cell are already activated from local pathologies and within the brain. The shift of inflammation from physiological to a pathologic intensity increases the severity of perimenstrual symptoms. Symptoms persist, moderately attenuated, also during the hormone free interval (HFI) in contraception. The HFI reduction from seven to two days significantly reduces menstrual inflammation and associated symptoms.

Concepts: Immune system, Combined oral contraceptive pill, Menopause, Menstrual cycle, Endometrium, Progesterone, Menstruation, Premenstrual syndrome


Emergency contraception is a safe and effective method to prevent an unwanted pregnancy after an unprotected or inadequately protected sexual intercourse. Several methods for emergency contraception (EC) are currently registered in many countries for use in an emergency to prevent a pregnancy following an unprotected, possibly fertile intercourse or after a contraceptive accident like condom rupture. Different methods have varying modes of action, time frame of efficacy, dosage schedule and unwanted effects. Since several methods are available it is important to decide the best method.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Birth control, Emergency contraception, Sexual intercourse, Effectiveness, English-language films, Abortion, Condom


The aim of this study was to compare the obstetric outcomes after successful external cephalic version (cases) with a group of pregnant women with a spontaneous cephalic fetal position at delivery (controls).

Concepts: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Fetus, Obstetrics, Gestational age


During woman’s reproductive life, only about 400 of primordial follicles will develop into a pre- ovulatory follicle and undergo ovulation, releasing an oocyte available for fertilization. The process of formation and selection of these follicles is complex and involves a multistep process characterized by a balance between survival and death of the oocytes and the surrounding follicular cells. Although the mechanisms underlying such process are not completely clarified yet, it’s common idea that they can occur through various types of programmed cellular death (PCD). Since atresia is the principal destiny of the ovarian follicles, it is relevant to understand how this process takes place and how it is regulated. In this review, after a summary description of folliculogenesis in humans, the main mechanisms of atresia reported to occur during folliculogenesis from birth to adult age, in the human ovary and in other mammals when appropriate, are described.


Since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic governments have taken actions to limit the transmission of the virus such as lockdown measures and reorganization of the local Health System. Quarantine measures have influenced pregnant women’s daily lives. The aim of this study is to understand the impact of the changes imposed by COVID-19 emergency on the wellbeing of pregnant women and how the transformation of Schiavonia Hospital into a dedicated Covid Hospital affected their pregnancy experience.


The word “minilaparoscopy” refers to laparoscopic surgical procedures performed using < 5-mm trocars, with the exception of the umbilical access. The aim of this review is to explore the feasibility of minilaparoscopy in gynecologic surgery, focusing on instruments, surgical techniques, application and limits of this approach.


Endometriosis is a chronic disease frequently associated with female infertility. The choice of treatment in case of endometriosis is one of the most discussed topics in Reproductive Medicine. The approach to the patient with endometriosis and infertility should be tailored based on different parameters. The localization of the disease, the severity of symptoms and the age of the patient are just some of them. Management options include surgery, in-vitro fertilization (IVF), or a combination of both. Data, mostly uncontrolled, would favour surgery at any stage of endometriosis, increasing the chances of natural conception compared to expectant management. Laparoscopic excision of the ovarian endometrioma should be the treatment of choice when there is associated pain. Surgery should be performed following appropriate techniques to reduce the possible damage to the ovarian reserve. Pregnancy rates around 50% have been consistently reported after surgery, which compare favorably with those obtained with IVF. IVF, on the other hand, may be preferred in case of associated male or tubal factor, in case of a reduced ovarian reserve, or if previous surgery has failed, particularly if there is no associated pain, and when the ultrasonographic features of the ovarian cyst are reassuring. Sometimes IVF may be preceded by surgery, when a difficult access to follicles at pick-up, due to the size and location of the ovarian cyst, or to severe adhesions, is anticipated. Due to the lack of solid evidence in the scenario of endometriosis-associated infertility, robust data from randomized clinical trials (RCTs) are strongly needed.


The cesarean section is utilized to deliver babies since the late 19th century. Nowadays, the frequency of cesarean section is enormously increased, mainly because of the low rate of complications and for the increasing demand from future mothers, scared by the idea of painful labor. Although the technique to perform cesarean section has been refined over time, infections, hemorrhage, pain and other consequences still represent matter of debate. To try to reduce the incidence of these complications many trials, randomized or not, have been performed, with the aim to analyse different technical aspects of this surgery. The aim of our review is to resume all the evidence-based instructions on how to best approach to cesarean section practice, in a step-to-step fashion, considering pre-operative actions, opening and closing steps, and post-operative prophylaxis.