Review on December 10, 2009
A host of menopause symptoms can make women's life uncomfortable and distracting as they reach the end of their reproductive lives. Although it does not affect every woman, urinary incontinence is one of the menopause symptoms which can be the most embarrassing. Hormone replacement therapies are known to help treat several of the most common menopause symptoms but until now it's effectiveness at controlling urinary incontinence has been little researched. A recent study has looked into the effect of hormone therapies on bladder function with interesting results.
As part of the Women's Health Initiative a placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial was undertaken with 27,347 post menopausal women. Of this group 23, 296 women were known to have some type of urinary incontinence as one of a host of menopause symptoms they were suffering from during this period. All the women taking part were between the ages of 50 and 79 and they were put randomly into two placebo groups and groups taking the active estrogen hormones. The different types of hormone groups included progesterone plus estrogen hormones and estrogen hormones alone. Out of the big group of women who took part in this study 8506 received estrogen hormones combined with progesterone while 8102 received the placebo for this combination. A further 5310 received only the estrogen hormones while the placebo group for this treatment consisted of 5492 women.
The aim of this study was to identify the changes in the conditions of the women who suffered with urinary incontinence as one of a host of menopause symptoms and also to monitor the urinary function of those subjects who did not suffer from problems at the start of this study. Researchers were also interested in how the introduction of progesterone and estrogen hormones influences such menopause symptoms over the course of a year.
The results of this study demonstrate that the problems of urinary incontinence are increased with the utilization of hormone replacement therapies based in estrogen hormones. The women who were taking hormone therapy medication had a greater risk of developing urinary incontinence, whether or not they have previously suffered from it. The women who took the supplementary estrogen hormones, either combined with progesterone or alone, reported that urinary incontinence was one of the menopause symptoms which disturbed their daily lives the most.
It's also interesting to note that the category of urinary incontinence a woman suffers from as a result of menopause symptoms makes a difference on the effect hormone therapies can have on her bladder function. Researchers found that the condition of women suffering from stress related urinary incontinence worsened with the introduction of foreign estrogen hormones, while those that suffered from other forms of urinary incontinence were not as badly affected.
Although urinary incontinence may be a negative side of menopause this research can be helpful to women as it highlights the facts about what the use of hormone therapies can do to the body as they try to treat other menopause symptoms. In order to fully understand the risks involved with hormone treatments for menopause symptoms it is advisable for women to consult a doctor or medical professional who can fully explain the pro's and con's of this type of treatment and focus on reducing the effects of as many menopause symptoms as possible.