PURPOSE: Fecal incontinence is highly prevalent, especially in menopausal women. The aim of this study was to analyze the expression of estrogen and progesterone receptors in the anal canal of women in relation to menopausal status and age.
METHODS: Samples of hemorrhoidal tissue were obtained from 34 women undergoing hemorrhoidectomy. The patients were divided into 2 groups: group 1 consisted of women with a menstrual cycle (n = 17) and group 2 consisted of postmenopausal women (n = 17). Immunostaining of hormone receptors was performed using specific antibodies (DAKO, Copenhagen, Denmark) in cells from the internal anal sphincter, the vascular epithelium, and the squamous epithelium. The percentage of positivity of receptors and the association between age and receptor positivity were compared between the 2 groups.
RESULTS: Estrogen receptors were found in the internal anal sphincter in 23.5% in group 1 vs 11.8% in group 2 (P = .656). Progesterone receptors were found in 41.2% in group 1 vs 11.8% of group 2 (P = .118). Squamous epithelium showed estrogen receptors in 52.9% in group 1 vs 64.7% of group 2 (P = .388) and progesterone receptors in 17.6% and 0% in groups 1 and 2, respectively (P = .227). Vascular endothelium showed no receptors. Receptor positivity was not associated with age.
CONCLUSION: No significant differences were found in the detection of estrogen and progesterone receptors in structures of the anal canal in women in relation to menopausal status and age.