A recently published paper by Waetjen and colleagues  reports on data derived from the SWAN study of community-dwelling, multi-ethnic, mid-life, American women passing through the menopausal transition. A cohort of 1529 women, free of incontinence at baseline, was followed through six annual follow-up visits with a self-administered questionnaire. During that time, 855 women reported some incontinence, with 433 reporting stress incontinence and 244 urge incontinence. Compared with the premenopause, early perimenopause and late perimenopause were associated with an increased risk of ‘monthly or more frequent’ but not ‘weekly or more frequent’ urinary incontinence: relative risks 1.34 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.07–1.68) and 1.52 (95% CI 1.12–2.05), respectively. In contrast, postmenopausal women experienced no increased incidence of incontinence.
The conclusions were that the menopausal transition stage might affect only infrequent incontinence symptoms and that modifiable risk factors for incontinence, such as anxiety, weight gain and diabetes, required more attention and the need to emphasize healthy lifestyle choices.
Rodney J. Baber
Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at The University of Sydney, Head, Menopause Unit, The Royal North Shore Hospital of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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