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Menopause, postmenopausal hormone use and risk of incident gout
  1. A Elisabeth Hak1,2,
  2. Gary C Curhan2,
  3. Francine Grodstein2,
  4. Hyon K Choi2,3,4
  1. 1Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Clinical Immunology, Erasmus MC University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  3. 3Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Arthritis Research Centre of Canada, Vancouver General Hospital, University of British Colombia, Vancouver, Canada
  4. 4Section of Rheumatology and the Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Boston University of School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Hyon Choi, Section of Rheumatology and the Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Boston University of School of Medicine, 650 Albany Street, Suite 200, Boston, MA 02118, USA; hchoius{at}


Objective To prospectively study the relation between menopause, postmenopausal hormone use and risk of gout, since female sex hormones have been postulated to decrease gout risk among women.

Methods In the Nurses' Health Study, the association between menopause, age at menopause, postmenopausal hormone use and risk of self-reported physician-diagnosed incident gout among 92 535 women without gout at baseline was examined. Multivariate proportional hazards regression analysis was used to adjust for other risk factors for gout such as age, body mass index, diuretic use, hypertension, alcohol intake and dietary factors.

Results During 16 years of follow-up (1 240 231 person-years), 1703 incident gout cases were recorded. The incidence rate of gout increased from 0.6 per 1000 person-years in women <45 years of age to 2.5 in women ≥75 years of age (p for trend <0.001). Compared with premenopausal women, postmenopausal women had a higher risk of incident gout (multivariate-adjusted relative risk (RR)=1.26; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.03 to 1.55). Among women with a natural menopause, women with age at menopause <45 years had a RR of 1.62 (95% CI 1.12 to 2.33) of gout compared with women with age at menopause 50–54 years. Postmenopausal hormone users had a reduced risk of gout (RR=0.82; 95% CI 0.70 to 0.96).

Conclusion These prospective findings indicate that menopause increases the risk of gout, whereas postmenopausal hormone therapy modestly reduces gout risk.

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  • Funding This research was supported by grant AR056042 from the National Institutes of Health.

  • Competing Interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Partners Health Care System Institutional Review Board, Boston, USA

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent Obtained.