Prevalence of symptomatic pelvic floor disorders in US women.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

CONTEXT: Pelvic floor disorders (urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse) affect many women. No national prevalence estimates derived from the same population-based sample exists for multiple pelvic floor disorders in women in the United States. OBJECTIVE: To provide national prevalence estimates of symptomatic pelvic floor disorders in US women. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A cross-sectional analysis of 1961 nonpregnant women (>or=20 years) who participated in the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a nationally representative survey of the US noninstitutionalized population. Women were interviewed in their homes and then underwent standardized physical examinations in a mobile examination center. Urinary incontinence (score of >or=3 on a validated incontinence severity index, constituting moderate to severe leakage), fecal incontinence (at least monthly leakage of solid, liquid, or mucous stool), and pelvic organ prolapse (seeing/feeling a bulge in or outside the vagina) symptoms were assessed. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Weighted prevalence estimates of urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse symptoms. RESULTS: The weighted prevalence of at least 1 pelvic floor disorder was 23.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 21.2%-26.2%), with 15.7% of women (95% CI, 13.2%-18.2%) experiencing urinary incontinence, 9.0% of women (95% CI, 7.3%-10.7%) experiencing fecal incontinence, and 2.9% of women (95% CI, 2.1%-3.7%) experiencing pelvic organ prolapse. The proportion of women reporting at least 1 disorder increased incrementally with age, ranging from 9.7% (95% CI, 7.8%-11.7%) in women between ages 20 and 39 years to 49.7% (95% CI, 40.3%-59.1%) in those aged 80 years or older (P < .001), and parity (12.8% [95% CI, 9.0%-16.6%], 18.4% [95% CI, 12.9%-23.9%], 24.6% [95% CI, 19.5%-29.8%], and 32.4% [95% CI, 27.8%-37.1%] for 0, 1, 2, and 3 or more deliveries, respectively; P < .001). Overweight and obese women were more likely to report at least 1 pelvic floor disorder than normal weight women (26.3% [95% CI, 21.7%-30.9%], 30.4% [95% CI, 25.8%-35.0%], and 15.1% [95% CI, 11.6%-18.7%], respectively; P < .001). We detected no differences in prevalence by racial/ethnic group. CONCLUSION: Pelvic floor disorders affect a substantial proportion of women and increase with age.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Nygaard, I; Barber, MD; Burgio, KL; Kenton, K; Meikle, S; Schaffer, J; Spino, C; Whitehead, WE; Wu, J; Brody, DJ; Pelvic Floor Disorders Network,

Published Date

  • September 17, 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 300 / 11

Start / End Page

  • 1311 - 1316

PubMed ID

  • 18799443

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC2918416

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1538-3598

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1001/jama.300.11.1311


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States