Women often experience recurrent UTIs after menopause. The cause is often a result of reduced estrogen levels that is so common after menopause. This blog will discuss the use of topical estrogens to reduce the frequency to recurrent urinary tract infections.
Topical hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was associated with a lower incidence of urinary tract infections (UTIs) compared with both oral HRT or even no HRT.
UTIs are a frequent problem among postmenopausal women necessitating antimicrobial use, and resistance is increasing. Every year, 8–10% of postmenopausal women have 1 episode of a urinary tract infection; of these, 5% will have a recurrence in the next year.
Studies have demonstrated use of oral estrogens does not reduce the incidence of UTIs, but topical HRT reduced the number of UTIs in two small studies.
To determine whether a difference existed in incidence of UTIs in women 60–75 years of age, a study compared the number of UTIs per patient per year over 1 year in 3 groups of postmenopausal women: topical HRT, systemic HRT, and control (n=75 per group).
Women aged 60–75 years with a history of UTI (n=448) were identified from retrospective charts (2011–2013). Patients were excluded if they were taking antibiotics for UTI prophylaxis, treated with antibiotics for reasons other than UTI for 2 or more weeks, were on both topical and systemic HRT, or on chronic methenamine hippurate.
The number of UTIs per patient per year was significantly different among the 3 groups. There was a significant difference between topical HRT and systemic HRT, and topical HRT and control, but not systemic HRT and control. The control group had an average of 1.24 UTIs per patient per year, compared with 1.01 in the systemic group and 0.65 in the women who used topical estrogen replacement.
Bottom Line: Topical estrogens may be beneficial when other preferred agents cannot be utilized.