Could Testosterone Cause PCOS-Related Urinary Problems?

One of the most frustrating aspects of having PCOS is that it has so many diverse, apparently unrelated symptoms.

Possibly you sought medical help for one of these symptoms before you even knew you had a polycystic ovary disorder.

To this list, we now need to add a new symptom: urinary problems.

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This problem was uncovered by the University of Kahramanmaras Sutcu Imam School of Medicine in Turkey. They studied 140 women with PCOS. The women were surveyed about urinary urgency, incontinence, need to urinate at night, bladder or pelvic pain, and pain during intercourse.

The researchers discovered that there was a correlation between their testosterone levels and their urinary symptoms.

A very high proportion of women with this disorder have abnormally high levels of testosterone. So if you're experiencing urinary or bladder problems, this hormone could be at least partly responsible.

In other words, if you're having trouble with your bladder and your doctor has not found an infection or other clear cause, it could be that your high levels of testosterone are contributing to the problem.

So What Can You Do?

What to do? There are multiple reasons why your testosterone is high. But there are at least three self-help measures you can take to bring your hormones (including testosterone) into better balance.

First, consume more whole foods and minimize processed, manufactured foods of all kinds. Second, reduce your exposure to chronic stress.

And third, get regular exercise and be physically active.   Exercise strengthens the central and pelvic parts of the body so that your bladder and rectum are better supported with muscles.  If you experience urinary incontinence, you could also try doing pelvic floor exercises.

Excess body weight is associated with an increased risk of urniary problems.  So do what you can to control your weight.

Beyond self-help actions, you can consult with your doctor about getting hormone lab tests and discussing treatment options.  For example, one treatment option is metformin.  This pharmaceutical can be used to reduce a condition called insulin resistance.  Reduction of insulin resistance in turn should reduce testosterone production in the ovaries.

If you experience any kind of unexplained pelvic pain, always promptly consult with your doctor.  Pelvic pain may be related to a more serious issue than urinary problems.

It's worth noting that a hysterectomy increases the risk of urinary difficulties.  Be sure to discuss the possible side effects of a hysterectomy before proceeding with this procedure.

Return to PCOS Symptoms Page

Source: Sahinkanat T et al, The relationship between serum testosterone levels and bladder storage symptoms in a female population with polycystic ovary syndrome, Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2011 Oct;284(4):879-84.

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