Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the association between fracture and pelvic organ prolapse (POP) in postmenopausal women enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative Estrogen Plus Progestin trial.
Methods: POP was assessed as cystocele, rectocele, or uterine prolapse and was graded as either "absent to mild" or "moderate to severe." Cox proportional hazard analyses (adjusting for age, body mass index, race, asthma, emphysema, thyroid disease, family history of fracture, regular menses, age at menopause, nulliparity, history of hormone therapy [HT], history of falls, socioeconomic status, calcium, and vitamin D supplementation and physical activity) explored the relationships between moderate to severe POP and incident bone fractures.
Results: Moderate- to severe-grade POP was identified in almost 8% of women (n = 1,192). During a follow-up duration of 7.41 (2.18) years (mean [SD]), 2,156 incident fractures were observed; the most common fracture site was the lower arm (n = 615; 28.51%) followed by the hip (n = 205; 9.51%). Adjusted analyses confirmed moderate to severe POP (of any type) as an independent risk factor for incident hip fractures (hazard ratio [HR], 1.83; 95% CI, 1.16-2.89; P = 0.010). On analyses stratified by assigned treatment (HT vs placebo), moderate to severe rectocele emerged as an independent predictor of incident spine (HR, 2.61; 95% CI, 1.04-6.56; P = 0.042) and lower arm fractures (HR, 1.87; 95% CI, 1.06-3.29; P = 0.030) in the placebo group.
Conclusions: We identify moderate to severe POP (any type) in postmenopausal women as a risk factor for hip fracture; moderate to severe rectocele holds an additional risk of spine and lower arm fractures in women not taking HT.