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Bladder Symptoms in the Early Menopausal Transition.



Bladder symptoms are common in women and result in use of healthcare resources and poor quality of life. Bladder symptoms have been linked to age and menopause, but debate exists in the literature. This article examines factors associated with bladder symptoms and compares women in late reproductive stage with those in menopausal transition.

Materials and methods

We analyzed cross-sectional data from a prospective cohort study of midlife women (mean age, 48; range, 44-54 years) in northern California. The sample consisted of 158 women in late reproductive stage or menopause transition. Assessments included anthropometrics, menstrual cycle lengths and symptoms, urine samples for follicle-stimulating hormone level, and self-reported health perception and depressive symptoms. Analyses included descriptive bivariate statistics, group comparisons, and regression models.


The most common bladder symptoms were nocturia (72%) at least once per night and urinary incontinence (50%) at least once per week. Incontinence was less prevalent in African American women compared to European Americans and Latinas (p = 0.001) and more prevalent in late reproductive stage than in menopause transition (p = 0.024). Controlling for age, women in late reproductive stage were more likely to report nocturia compared to those in menopause transition. Reproductive stage (p = 0.016), higher body mass index (p = 0.007), and race (p = 0.017) contributed to the variance in weekly nighttime urinary frequency.


Bladder symptoms were associated with reproductive stage. Women in late reproductive stage were more likely to experience nocturia and incontinence than those in menopause transition. The higher rates of nocturia and incontinence in late reproductive stage are intriguing. Future studies should include analysis of pelvic organ prolapse degree and other structural differences.

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