Research Article| Volume 74, ISSUE 1, P26-30, January 2013

Menopause, hormone treatment and urinary incontinence at midlife

  • Guillaume Legendre
    INSERM UMRS 1018, CESP Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health, U1018, Gender, Sexual and Reproductive Health Team, Paris-Sud University, Villejuif, France

    Institut National des Etudes Démographiques, Paris, France

    Bicêtre University Hospital, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Le Kremlin Bicêtre, France
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  • Virginie Ringa
    INSERM UMRS 1018, CESP Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health, U1018, Gender, Sexual and Reproductive Health Team, Paris-Sud University, Villejuif, France

    Institut National des Etudes Démographiques, Paris, France
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  • Arnaud Fauconnier
    Research unit EA 7285, Versailles-St-Quentin University, Montigny-le-Bretonneux, France

    Poissy-Saint-Germain-en-Laye Hospital, Poissy, France
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  • Xavier Fritel
    Corresponding author at: Service de Gynécologie-Obstétrique et Médecine de la Reproduction, CHU de Poitiers, 2 rue de la Milétrie, F-86000 Poitiers, France. Tel.: +33 549 443 360; fax: +33 549 443 910.
    INSERM CIC0802, Poitiers University Hospital, Poitiers University, France

    INSERM UMR S953, Epidemiological Research on Perinatal Health and Women and Children Health, Paris 6 University, Paris, France
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      Whether there is any association between urinary incontinence and menopause is the subject of debate, partly due to the fact it is difficult to tell the difference between the effects of menopause and those of ageing. For some time it was hoped that hormonal treatment for menopause would be beneficial for urinary incontinence because there are hormonal receptors in the urinary tract. The goal of this survey of current knowledge on the subject is to explore thoroughly the relationship between menopause and urinary incontinence.
      Our study is based on a review of the literature dealing with the epidemiology of urinary incontinence in women aged between 45 and 60, and the effects of hormonal treatment with respect to the symptoms of involuntary loss of urine.
      Analysis of the epidemiological data drawn from large cohorts shows that on the one hand, the menopause has little if any impact on the risk of urinary incontinence, and on the other hand that the effects of oestrogen medication on urinary incontinence vary according to how it is administered and the type of incontinence. The effect of oral hormone treatments for menopause is rather negative with respect to stress incontinence. Vaginal treatment appears to be beneficial for overactive bladder symptoms.


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