The use of hormone therapy for the maintenance of urogynecological and sexual health post WHI

R. E. Nappi, S. R. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background The loss of estrogen at menopause and the gradual decline in testosterone with age are associated with urogenital atrophy and, as a result, urogenital tract symptoms, including lower urinary tract symptoms and dyspareunia. These symptoms will persist unless treated. Objective To review the prevalence of urogenital tract symptoms and sexual health problems associated with menopause and the role in the use of hormone therapy for the treatment of symptomatic women, with a specific focus on what has been learned since the first publication of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) estrogen and estrogen progestin studies. Conclusion Studies support the use of local estrogen therapy, but not systemic estrogen therapy, for the treatment of urge urinary incontinence, overactive bladder and to reduce the number of urinary tract infections. The current evidence does not favor a beneficial effect on stress urinary incontinence. Local estrogen therapy is effective for the treatment of dyspareunia caused by vulvovaginal atrophy. Preliminary studies suggest a potential role for both intravaginal dehydroepiandrosterone and testosterone in the treatment of dyspareunia secondary to vulvovaginal atrophy, however, confirmatory studies are required before either therapy can be recommended. Post WHI, there is a need for medical practitioners to proactively raise the topic of urogynecological and sexual health in order to discuss the most suitable treatment option.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-274
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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