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Open Access Research article

Menopause, postmenopausal hormone use and serum uric acid levels in US women – The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

A Elisabeth Hak1 and Hyon K Choi2*

Author affiliations

1 Departments of Immunology and Internal Medicine, Erasmus MC University Medical Center, Gravendijkwal 230, 3015 CE, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

2 Rheumatology Division, Arthritis Research Centre of Canada, Department of Medicine, Vancouver General Hospital, University of British Columbia, 895 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V5Z 1L7, Canada

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Citation and License

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2008, 10:R116  doi:10.1186/ar2519

Published: 26 September 2008

Abstract

Introduction

Despite the substantial prevalence of gout in the ageing female population, female hormonal influence has not been comprehensively examined. We evaluated and quantified the potential independent association between menopause, postmenopausal hormone use and serum uric acid levels in a nationally representative sample of women.

Methods

Using data from 7662 women aged 20 years and older in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1988 to 1994), we examined the relation between menopause, postmenopausal hormone use and serum uric acid levels. We used multivariate linear regression to adjust for other risk factors for hyperuricaemia such as dietary factors, age, adiposity, alcohol use, renal function, hypertension and diuretic use.

Results

Menopause was associated with higher serum uric acid levels. After adjusting for covariates, serum uric acid levels among women with natural menopause and surgical menopause were greater than premenopausal women by 0.34 mg/dl (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.19 to 0.49) and 0.36 mg/dl (95% CI, 0.14 to 0.57), respectively. Current postmenopausal hormone use was associated with a lower serum uric acid level among postmenopausal women (multivariate difference, 0.24 mg/dl [95% CI, 0.11 to 0.36]). The serum uric acid levels increased with increasing age categories (crude difference between 20 to 29 years and 70 years and over = 1.03 mg/dl, p for trend < 0.001), but this increase was not present after adjusting for other covariates (p for trend = 0.66).

Conclusions

These findings from a nationally representative sample of US women indicate that menopause is independently associated with higher serum uric acid levels, whereas postmenopausal hormone use is associated with lower uric acid levels among postmenopausal women. The age-associated increase in serum uric acid levels in women may be explained by menopause and other age-related factors.