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Recurrent urinary infection linked to vaginal atrophy

11 Oct 2020

Women with recurrent urinary infection (RUI), but not lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), are at heightened risk of vaginal atrophy (VA), a study reports.

The study included 518 women across the menopausal age span (mean age, 494 years; mean body mass index, 25.6 kg/m2). Of these, 43.6 percent were postmenopausal, 43.6 percent were sedentary (<40 minutes per week dedicated to vigorous walking, running, or swimming), 17.5 percent were ex-smokers, and 18.1 percent were current smokers.

VA was seen in 38.4 percent of women, vaginal dryness in 65.4 percent, and dyspareunia in 55.7 percent. The most common objective sign of VA was mucosa dryness (60.7 percent), followed by pallor (49.0 percent), thinning (37 percent), fragility (35.3 percent), and petechiae (17.9 percent).

The number of women with RUI was comparable across the four age groups: 12.4 percent in the 40–45-year age group, 9.5 percent in the 46–48-year age group, 22.1 percent in the 49–51-year age group, and 17.7 percent in the 52–55-year age group (p>0.07). The same was true for LUTS rates, which ranged from 75.2 percent in the younger age group to 82.7 percent in the older age group.

Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that RUI was associated with greater odds of VA (odds ratio [OR], 1.703, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.037–2.799) and dyspareunia (OR, 2.060, 95 percent CI, 1.199–3.539). On the other hand, LUTS was related to dyspareunia only (OR, 1.971, 95 percent CI, 1.020–3.808).

Meanwhile, distress from LUTS was associated with RUI (OR, 7.187, 95 percent CI, 3.532–10.841), being an ex-smoker (OR, 5.189, 95 percent CI, 1.425–6.952; p<0.007), and the Female Sexual Function Index score (OR, –0.314, 95 percent CI, –0.478 to –0.149).

These findings do not necessarily apply to older postmenopausal women, researchers said.

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