The effects of hormones on urinary incontinence in postmenopausal women

Climacteric. 2009 Apr;12(2):106-13. doi: 10.1080/13697130802630083.


It has been established that the lower urinary tract is sensitive to the effects of estrogen, sharing a common embryological origin with the female genital tract, the urogenital sinus. Urge urinary incontinence is more prevalent after the menopause, and the peak prevalence of stress incontinence occurs around the time of the menopause. Many studies, however, indicate that the prevalence of stress incontinence falls after the menopause. Until recently, estrogen, usually as part of a hormone replacement therapy (HRT) regimen, was used for treatment of urinary incontinence in postmenopausal women. Although its use in the treatment of vaginal atrophy is well established, the effect of HRT on urinary continence is controversial. A number of randomized, placebo-controlled trials have examined the effects of estrogen, or estrogen and progestogen together, in postmenopausal continence and concluded that estrogens should not be used for the treatment of urge or stress incontinence. In this paper, we will review these recent studies and examine the evidence for the effects of estrogen on the postmenopausal urogenital tract.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Postmenopause / physiology*
  • Progestins / administration & dosage
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Urinary Incontinence* / drug therapy
  • Urinary Incontinence, Stress / drug therapy
  • Urinary Incontinence, Urge / drug therapy
  • Urogenital System / drug effects
  • Urogenital System / physiology


  • Progestins