You are not alone.
If you suffer from urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse, you are not alone. Recent research indicates that women with pelvic floor disorders are not alone. A large analysis of women in the United States looked at women aged 20 years and older. The researchers examined women for urinary incontinence, vaginal prolapse (bulging) and fecal incontinence. Some interesting findings from the study included:
1. 23.7% of women had at least one disorder.
• 15.7% experienced urinary incontinence.
• 9% experienced fecal incontinence.
• 2.9% experienced pelvic organ prolapse.
2. The number reporting pelvic floor disorder symptoms increased with age.
• 9.7% of women aged 20-39 years compared to 49.7% in women aged 80 years or older.
3. The number reporting pelvic floor disorder symptoms increased with the number of deliveries a woman experienced.
• 12.8%, 18.4%, 24.6% and 32.4% of women with none, one, two or three or more deliveries, respectively.
4. The number reporting pelvic floor disorder symptoms increased with body weight.
• 15.1%, 26.3% and 30.4% in women who were normal weight, overweight or obese, respectively.
5. No differences were noted between racial or ethnic groups.
This study should be a wake up call for physicians who treat women. Pelvic floor disorders are quite common and physicians should ask patients about symptoms. A patient embarrassed by the symptoms may not spontaneously mention them to their doctor but a question by the doctor may help open the subject for discussion. At Urogynecology Consultants, we try to reassure a patient and ease their embarrassment over pelvic floor disorders with two important points: they are not alone and there is effective treatment to improve their quality of life.