Monday, March 3, 2008

1 in 3

Recent research indicates that 1 in every 3 American women is affected by a pelvic floor disorder of one type or another. Age is not a factor in this 1 in 3 statistic.

The study of 4,000 women (80 percent had given birth) found that 25 percent suffered from anal incontinence, 15 percent from stress urinary incontinence, 13 percent from overactive bladder, and 6 percent from dropped pelvic organs (pelvic organ prolapse). The women in the study were aged 25 to 84. The findings were published in the March issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they've done this research but it seems to me that they need to do more broad based research and perhaps have a control group of women who have never given birth. 80% is a big group.

Nevertheless, the study did produce some good, mostly in that it brings up the topic at all.

"One of the myths surrounding pelvic floor disorder is that it affects only older women, but the truth is these conditions are extremely prevalent and extremely debilitating. But because the subject matter isn't cocktail conversation, women feel isolated and don't seek support and treatment," study co-author Dr. Karl Luber, a urogynecologist in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medial Center, said in a prepared statement.

Women with symptoms of pelvic floor disorders should consult with a doctor trained in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery, he advised.

"Among the available options for treatment for these common disorders are physical therapy to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, devices that can be fit to support your vaginal walls, and surgery. Many of today's surgeries are very noninvasive and can be done as an outpatient," Luber said.

This statistic should be rather interesting in and of itself:
In the United States, more than 15 million women have stress urinary incontinence, 16 million have an overactive bladder, and one in 10 suffers from anal incontinence, according to information in a news release about the study.
I wonder how many of those 15 million that have stress urinary incontinence also has anal incontinence...they are so often linked. Just a thought.