Low Testosterone Increases Women's Urinary Incontinence Risk

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Lowest quartile of serum testosterone is associated with 48% and 65% increased odds of stress and mixed urinary incontinence, respectively.
Lowest quartile of serum testosterone is associated with 48% and 65% increased odds of stress and mixed urinary incontinence, respectively.
The following article is part of conference coverage from the 2017 American Urological Association meeting in Boston. Renal and Urology News' staff will be reporting live on medical studies conducted by urologists and other specialists who are tops in their field in kidney stones, prostate cancer, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, enlarged prostate, and more. Check back for the latest news from AUA 2017. 

BOSTON—Low serum testosterone in women increase the likelihood of stress and mixed urinary incontinence, study findings presented at the American Urological Association 2017 annual meeting show. The study is the first to demonstrate such an association, according to researchers.

In a study of 2123 women who participated in the 2012 cycle of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and underwent measurements of serum total testosterone, Michelle Kim, MD, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues found that women in the lowest quartile of testosterone level had 48% increased odds of stress incontinence and 65% increased odds of mixed incontinence compared with women not in the lowest quartile.

“The potential mechanism is that testosterone may prevent pelvic floor atrophy, thereby reducing the risk of urinary incontinence,” Dr Kim said in a press conference.

She pointed out that androgens have an anabolic effect on skeletal muscle and, in animal models, androgens have been shown to strengthen pelvic floor musculature.

The association between low testosterone and increased risk of stress and mixed incontinence, and the absence of an association with urge incontinence, makes sense because the mechanism of stress incontinence relies more heavily on the integrity of the pelvic floor.

Visit Renal and Urology News' conference section for continuous coverage from AUA 2017.

Reference

Kim M, Chaudhry Z, Oliver J, Kreydin E. Low serum testosterone is associated with increased stress and mixed incontinence in women. [abstract] J Urol 2017;197(4S);e981-e182. Oral presentation at the American Urological Association 2017 annual meeting in Boston on May 15, 2017. Abstract PD50-07.

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