Vasomotor symptoms and urogenital atrophy in older women: a systematic review

Berihun Megabiaw Zeleke, Susan Ruth Davis, Pamela Fradkin, Robin Jean Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Objective Our aim was to systematically review published articles for the prevalence of persistent estrogen depletion symptoms among women aged 65+ years. Methods A systematic literature search of English-language publications was performed using MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and PsycINFO. Twenty-three studies that included information on the prevalence of vasomotor and/or urogenital atrophy symptoms among older women (65 + years) met our inclusion criteria. Risk of bias of the included studies was assessed using a risk-of-bias tool explicitly designed for the systematic review of prevalence studies. Results The available data suggest that vasomotor symptoms are experienced by a considerable proportion of older women, that symptoms of urogenital atrophy including urinary incontinence are widespread, and that women remain sexually active well into later life. A high degree of variability was observed for the prevalence of estrogen deficiency symptoms for women age 65+ years. Discrepancies in modes of recruitment, sampling procedures, time frames over which symptoms were assessed and use of different and non-validated assessment tools contributed to the inconsistencies across the published studies. Conclusion Larger and appropriately sampled studies, employing validated questionnaires, are still needed to establish the prevalence of persistent estrogen depletion symptoms in women aged 65+ years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112 - 120
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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