Significantly lower levels of oestrogen in peri-menopausal and post-menopausal women could increase their risk of stress urinary incontinence, according to Austrian researchers.
They noted that sex steroid levels changed markedly during menopause, and oestrogen deficiency after menopause caused changes within the urogenital tract.
“Low oestradiol level is a possible risk factor for stress urinary incontinence in women”
Their study included 47 women with stress urinary incontinence who were matched with 47 controls.
The findings suggested that low levels of circulating sex steroids might have a negative impact on the function of the lower urinary tract and on mechanisms involved with continence.
The researchers found significantly lower levels of oestrogen in peri-menopausal and postmenopausal women with stress urinary incontinence, compared with those without symptoms.
Women with stress urinary incontinence had significantly lower serum levels of oestradiol – 8.49 versus 13.09 – and androstendion – 0.59 versus 1.20 – compared with controls.
The difference in oestradiol levels remained significant after controlling for age, menopausal age, years from menopause, body mass index, parity, testosterone and androstendion.
In addition, hypertension and history of hysterectomy were observed significantly more frequently in the stress urinary incontinence group.
However, no significant association was found between hormone levels and degree of stress urinary incontinence.
The study authors said: “The results of the present study indicate that a low oestradiol level might have a negative impact on the lower urinary tract and continence mechanism and a low oestradiol level is a possible risk factor for stress urinary incontinence in women.”
The study, by the Medical University of Vienna, is published in the journal BJU International.