By Jennifer Wu, Associate Professor, Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery
Pelvic floor disorders (PFDs) include problems such as incontinence, which is the accidental leakage of urine or stool, and pelvic organ prolapse, which is the dropping of the pelvic organs into the vagina. These conditions are incredibly common, affecting at least 1 out of every 4 women, with older women having an even greater risk. Also, 1 out of every 5 women will have surgery for one of these conditions over her lifetime. Unfortunately, even after surgery, symptoms may return.
Currently, we do not have a complete understanding of why these conditions occur. We also do not know which women are at highest risk and what the best treatment options are. We need to study these important questions in order to provide better care for women, and to eventually prevent these conditions from occurring in the first place.
Recently there has been more of a focus on PFD research, and we hope to see this trend continue in the future. Women’s health IS important! We are just now beginning to get a sense of how common these conditions are and what some of the risk factors are, such as age, childbirth and obesity. However, more research needs to be done to address these unanswered questions so that we can improve the lives of women suffering from these disorders.