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Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2004 Apr;83(4):383-9.

Factors associated with pelvic floor dysfunction with emphasis on urinary and fecal incontinence and genital prolapse: an epidemiological study.

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Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University Hospital, Linköping, Sweden.



To describe a general population of women with regard to factors associated with urinary and fecal incontinence and genital prolapse symptoms.


A questionnaire about medical background, urinary and fecal incontinence and genital prolapse symptoms was mailed to 100040-year-old and 100060-year-old Swedish women. Associations were described by odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).


Sixty-seven percent answered the questionnaire. Multivariate analysis showed urinary incontinence to be associated with anal sphincter rupture [OR 4.4 (95% CI 1.0-18.8)], pelvic heaviness [3.8 (2.1-7.0)], body mass index (BMI) >or=30 kg/m2[3.7 (2.0-6.7)], multiparity [1.8 (1.0-3.4)], varicose veins surgery [1.9 (1.2-3.2)] and age [1.9 (1.2-3.2)]. Univariate analyses revealed statistically significant associations between urinary incontinence and incontinence for flatus [4.8 (3.0-7.8)], for liquid stool [5.0 (2.9-8.6)] and for solid stool [5.9 (2.4-14.2)]. Chronic bronchitis [5.7 (1.7-18.9)] was strongly associated with urinary incontinence but was only reported by the older age group. Prolapse symptoms were strongly associated with both urinary and fecal incontinence. Prolapse symptoms as opposed to urinary and fecal incontinence seemed to be associated more with injuries at delivery than with chronic pelvic floor strain.


Women with urinary incontinence are also likely to suffer from fecal incontinence and prolapse and vice versa. Other associated factors for pelvic floor dysfunction were overweight, and especially obesity, chronic bronchitis, vaginal delivery and multiparity, age, heredity and diseases suggestive of collagen disorders. A multidisciplinary management of women with pelvic floor symptoms is suggested and possible prevention is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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