Pelvic Floor Disorders (PFDs) Affect 1 in 3 Women Yet Most Americans Underestimate the Frequency and Impact
More than 60 events nationwide offer education and resources to help women “Break Free from PFDs” during National Bladder Awareness Month in November
WASHINGTON, Nov. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Pelvic floor disorders (PFDs) will impact one in three women at some point during their lives(i), yet research issued by the PFD Alliance shows that 90 percent of Americans underestimate or are unsure about their prevalence. The lack of awareness continues to affect the millions of women who remain undiagnosed, untreated and whose quality of life remains negatively impacted by these common disorders.
During Bladder Awareness Month in November, the PFD Alliance is hosting more than 60 local education events across the country as part of a national initiative to help women “Break Free from PFDs.” This is the alliance’s second national campaign during Bladder Awareness Month to help reduce the number of women who are unaware that treatments exist and to help alleviate the embarrassment, inconvenience and forced lifestyle modifications that often accompany PFDs. PFDs can be effectively treated by working with a urogynecologist who can counsel a patient on the non-surgical and surgical treatment options available. The alliance aims to help women understand the facts about PFDs, and to empower them with information on how to pursue individualized solutions for improved quality of life.
“One in five women believes that PFDs are a normal part of aging. However, PFDs are not a normal part of aging, nor is having to bring back-up changes of clothes, avoiding work and social events, stopping exercise or avoiding sex due to the onset of a PFD,” said Karen Noblett, MD, Professor and Division Director for Urogynecology at the University of California, Irvine. “Effective treatments exist to treat these types of disorders. Through personalized treatment plans made in consultation with a woman’s doctor, we can mitigate the issue and help women across the nation return to mobility, regain their self-esteem, dignity and the time that was once spent creating sometimes elaborate mechanisms to hide the issue.”
Bladder Awareness Month: Increasing Education to Improve Lives of Women Nationwide
Two common forms of PFDs are overactive bladder (OAB) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). OAB is a syndrome of urinary urgency, urinary frequency, waking up at night to urinate and often urinary leakage associated with urgency. Urgency incontinence comes from a bladder contraction, occurring at unwelcome times and is described as the leakage of urine, accompanied by a sensation of the need to urinate – or the impending sense that a large leak is going to happen. Nearly one in five women in the U.S. suffers from OAB,((ii))(,(iii) )yet 80 percent of women with OAB never seek treatment. More than half believe that there are no effective treatments,(iv) and as a result, women who suffer from OAB try to manage the condition on their own through coping strategies that include pads, dark clothing, toilet mapping and by avoiding social activities outside the home.
Similar to OAB, SUI is the involuntary loss of urine during physical activity, which may include but is not limited to: coughing, laughing or lifting. Incontinence occurs when the muscles that support the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body) are weakened or damaged. This can happen as a result of childbirth, trauma, hormone changes and many other reasons. This type of incontinence can be treated both surgically and non-surgically. Stress urinary incontinence afflicts approximately 19 million adult women in the United States and over 75% of these women never seek treatment.
“Break Free From PFD” Events
Events are taking place nationwide to help women learn more about PFDs in the states listed below. To find a local event, visit the PFD Alliance web site: www.breakfreefrompfds.org/events
Arizona Maryland North Carolina California Massachusetts Ohio Colorado Michigan Pennsylvania Connecticut Minnesota South Dakota District of Columbia Mississippi Tennessee Florida Missouri Texas Georgia Nebraska Virginia Illinois New Jersey Washington Iowa New Mexico Wisconsin Louisiana New York
Urogynecologists and medical experts will be onsite to answer women’s questions, share patient stories and provide guidance on how to seek solutions to individualized problems. Symptom tracking tools and ways to have a more knowledgeable conversation about a woman’s personal issues with her doctor will also be discussed.
The Truth about PFDs & Potential Risk Factors
PFDs occur when women have weakened pelvic muscles or tears in the connective tissues that cause bladder control problems, bowel control problems or pelvic organ prolapse, which is the dropping of the bladder, urethra, cervix and/or rectum caused by the loss of normal support of the vagina. The following risk factors impact the likelihood of PFDs:
-- Age: The strength of the pelvic floor deteriorates as women age, which can lead to the development of PFDs such as pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence. -- Race: Caucasian women are more likely than African American and Asian women to develop prolapse. -- Pregnancy/Childbirth: Childbirth can contribute to the development of PFDs. Vaginal births double the rate of pelvic floor disorders compared to Cesarean deliveries and women who never gave birth. -- Menopause: The pelvic floor muscles often weaken during menopause, which can lead to the development of pelvic organ prolapse. -- Obesity: Overweight or obese women often lack strength in their pelvic muscles and are at an increased risk of developing pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence. -- Smoking: Women who smoke increase their risk of developing urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.
“PFDs are not something women need to live with,” said Charles Nager, MD, president of the American Urogynecologic Society. “We want women to realize that they do not have to suffer in silence. By learning the facts and hearing from urogynecologists at these events, women will realize that they can get help and get back to living again.”
Take the First Steps to “Break Free from PFDs”:
1. Visit www.voicesforpfd.org to learn more about PFDs, use interactive tools to better understand your symptoms and download a fact sheet to help discuss PFDs with a physician. 2. Talk to your primary care physician and ask him/her to refer you to a urogynecologist if necessary. Anyone experiencing symptoms should have a thorough evaluation to ensure she is offered appropriate treatment options and referred to the right specialist. 3. Remember PFDs are not something you need to live with. Talk to your doctor and "Break Free from PFDs" today.
About PFD Alliance
The PFD Alliance was created in September 2011 to bring together the expertise and resources of various partners across advocacy, professional medical organizations, health providers and scientific discovery corporations to increase awareness of pelvic floor disorders (PFDs) and the non-surgical and surgical treatment options for female pelvic floor disorders.
The founding members of the PFD Alliance include the American Urogynecologic Society (AUGS), The Foundation for Female Health Awareness and Boston Scientific Corporation. Supporting members will be added to the PFD Alliance throughout 2013 and 2014. All Alliance members are working from a shared vision to improve the quality of life for women through education and access to a comprehensive list of treatment options such that women with a PFD may develop an individualized treatment plan to meet their needs.
___________________ i Lawrence, J. M., Lukacz, E. S., Nager, C. W., Hsu, J. W., & Luber, K. M. (2008). Prevalence and co-occurrence of pelvic floor disorders in community-dwelling women. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 111(3), 678-685. ii US Census Bureau, 2008 National Population Projections, Projected Population by Single Year of Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin for the United States: July 1, 2000 to July 1, 2050. http://www.census.gov/population/www/projections/downloadablefiles.html Accessed 09 Feb 2012; iii Verbrugge LM, Patrick DL. Seven chronic conditions: their impact on US adults' activity levels and use of medical services. Am J Public Health. 1995; 173-182. iv Survey of Adult Women with OAB. Harris Interactive. 2003.
Amber La Croix
SOURCE PFD Alliance