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Urinary incontinence: the role of menopause

Trutnovsky, Gerda MD1,2; Rojas, Rodrigo Guzman MD1,3; Mann, Kristy Pamela M Biostat4; Dietz, Hans P. PhD1

doi: 10.1097/GME.0b013e31829fc68c
Original Articles

Objective This study aims to explore the effects of menopause and hormone therapy on the symptoms and signs of stress urinary incontinence and urge urinary incontinence.

Methods Records of women who attended a tertiary urogynecological unit were reviewed retrospectively. A standardized interview included evaluations of symptoms, menopause age (ie, time since last menstrual period or onset of menopausal symptoms), current or previous hormone use, and visual analogue scales for bother. Multichannel urodynamics, including urethral pressure profilometry and determination of abdominal leak point pressure, was performed.

Results Of 382 women seen during the inclusion period, 62% were postmenopausal. Current systemic or local hormone use was reported by 7% and 6%, respectively. Two hundred eighty-eight women (76%) reported symptoms of stress urinary incontinence, with a mean bother of 5.7, and 273 women (72%) reported symptoms of urge urinary incontinence, with a mean bother of 6.4. On univariate analysis, symptoms and bother of urge incontinence were significantly related to menopause age, whereas this relationship was not found for stress incontinence. After calendar age was controlled for, length of menopause showed no significant relationship with any symptom or sign of urinary incontinence.

Conclusions Hormone deficiency after menopause is unlikely to play a major role in urinary incontinence.

From the 1Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sydney Medical School Nepean, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia; 2Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria; 3Ginecología y Obstetricia, Clínica Alemana de Santiago, Santiago Región Metropolitana, Chile; and 4NHMRC Clinical Trial Center, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Received April 18, 2013; revised and accepted June 4, 2013.

Funding/support: This work received funding from the University of Graz.

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: H.P.D. has received unrestricted educational grants from GE Medical.

Address correspondence to: Gerda Trutnovsky, MD, Medical University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 14, Graz 8036, Austria. E-mail:

© 2014 by The North American Menopause Society.