This website does tend to focus on men. In fairness there is good info on how women can safely raise their T levels to improve performance. But not a lot how it might help women medically as of yet.
However, a recent study which caught our eye now claims low T is responsible for some cases of female urinary incontinence.
Incontinence may not seem as big of a medical issue as others we’ve covered in the past. But it can actually have a big impact on quality of life. Often limiting sufferers socially or psychologically, damaging self-esteem and confidence, it’s a problem which should and absolutely can be treated.
Though we’re focusing specifically on female incontinence, it’s not a women-only issue. Women are however twice as likely to experience it.
For anyone thinking it, let’s just say now this has nothing to do with women being the so-called ‘weaker sex’.
So forget any notions of delicate ladies being overly nervous or their muscles just being too dainty. On the contrary. Women are often more prone to incontinence precisely because, in many ways, they have a naturally tougher road.
Giving birth is the obvious example. Babies don’t just mosey out of there like they’re strolling through saloon doors, y’know.
Near enough every single muscle in mom’s body will put in a serious shift to see junior safely into the world. Stands to reason then such an almighty effort could result in some inconvenient weakness for a time afterwards.
Hormonal changes too can lead to problems with incontinence. Between monthly cycles and eventually the menopause, women typically go through more regular and drastic internal shifts than men.
Women’s hormone balances are our main emphasis here, but we’ll also touch on some other triggers and possible solutions.
Head researcher Dr Michelle Kim of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston looked at women who took part in 2012’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
That’s 2123 subjects in total, all of whom gave serum testosterone samples.
Dr Kim found women with the lowest T levels had a 48% greater chance of developing SUI. Participants down the lower end of the spectrum also had a 68% higher chance of mixed incontinence (a combination of stress and urge types).
There could be a couple of reasons for this. One sign of low T, for example is increased anxiety and a common symptom of anxiety is frequent bathroom trips.
Kim though believes the likely reason is women struggling for T miss out on the hormone’s muscle supporting qualities. She told the 2017 American Urological Association meeting:
Androgens like testosterone have an anabolic effect on the body. It’s not only those glamour muscles we’re all chasing down the gym they build up, but also less obvious, functional ones such as your pelvic floor. Which is key to controlling our flow.
This reasoning would explain why T makes a difference to stress and mixed incontinence, but not in purely urge incontinence. Because testosterone levels only shore up the muscles to cope with physical stress.
Normally in our articles we paint estrogen as the bad guy (or girl I suppose.) In women, though it should be the dominant hormone and it also plays a role in a strong supple pelvic floor.
It’s all about working to naturally achieve the best balance.
What’s up doc?
With these results then comes the possibility that one day there may be a hormone treatment available specifically for SUI.
Indeed there are already effective medical options on offer now. So if incontinence is affecting you negatively, it’s an idea to speak to your doctor. If only to firmly establish the root of the problem.
We say that because infections of the bladder or urinary tract can often cause incontinence. Once successfully treated this particular unfortunate side-effect will vanish.
Frequent urination can also be an early sign of diabetes, so it pays to know exactly what you’re dealing with.
If stress is definitely the problem and you’d rather take matters into your own hands, there’s plenty of ways you can safely up T to regain control.
As for most things in health, regular sensible exercise is a great start. Just as with guys, being active will give your body a proportionate boost in testosterone. This triggers a positive feedback loop.
We feel better as a result of working out, so do more and gradually strengthen muscles everywhere.
Losing weight this way will obviously help any incontinence due to obesity. Heavier men or women sometimes experience leakage due to excess fat pressing on the bladder. Long-term bladder muscles start to weaken.
If you’d rather just channel all your energies into the muscles that count however, that’s fine too.
We’ve talked about Kegel exercises on this site before. In an article to help prevent your brothers from other mothers have, um, different fluids sneak out before they’re ready. But they’re also useful too for stress incontinence.
Cutting down on caffeine, or avoiding it altogether is a good idea. The stimulant can cause the bladder to fill more quickly than usual. Past research has even shown that women who drink more than two cups of coffee a day raise their chances of incontinence. The same goes for alcohol I’m afraid.
What you should absolutely not do is deliberately limit the amount of water you’re drinking.
As tempting as it may seem to try and cut the problem off at source, dehydration will only increase the risk of more medical complaints.
Women need around 91 fluid ounces (roughly 11 cups) of water a day from food and drink. This keeps your bladder and kidneys working well and prevents urinary tract infections. Which, remember, may trigger or inflame SUI.
So if SUI is a problem for you, raising T is worth a try. You’ve nothing to lose from naturally stimulating the hormone to your body’s own safe peak. If nothing else it will help you feel better generally.
That’s why, even if incontinence isn’t a problem for you, it’s a good idea to try and make the most of testosterone’s chemical cameo.
Not just to guard against the problem ever developing, but to improve overall vitality. In women sensibly high T levels can help address:
- Low libido
- Weight gain
- Sexual dysfunction