September 19, 2008

Many Women Suffer Pelvic-Floor Disorder

Nearly one-quarter of all women suffer from pelvic-floor disorders, such as incontinence, at some point in their lives, U.S. researchers said.

Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that the study of nearly 2,000 women in seven U.S. cities found that 23.7 percent of participants had experienced at least one pelvic-floor disorder, and the risk increased with age.

Study author Dr. Joseph Schaffer the national rate of pelvic-floor disorders has not been well-studied, although several regional studies have found that almost 10 percent of women go through surgery for such conditions at some point in their lives, while one-third of those women have two or more surgeries.

The current study was designed to assess the national rate of such disorders by interviewing the women in 2005 and 2006 at their homes or at a mobile interview center and did not undergo physical examination. The questions were part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that overall 15.7 percent of women experienced urinary incontinence; 9 percent experienced fecal incontinence; and 2.9 percent reported symptomatic pelvic organ prolapse. In all, 23.7 percent reported one or more conditions.