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Obes Res. 2004 Jul;12(7):1104-7.

Pelvic floor dysfunction in morbidly obese women: pilot study.

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Section of Female Urology and Voiding Dysfunction, Cleveland Clinic Florida, 2950 Cleveland Clinic Blvd., Weston, FL 33331, USA.



The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of obesity on pelvic floor function in women.


This was a prospective controlled study of 20 morbidly obese female patients planning to undergo gastric bypass surgery and 20 age-matched female controls. Subjects completed symptom and impact questionnaires, including the Incontinence Impact Questionnaire (IIQ-7), Urogenital Distress Inventory (UDI), the Kobashi Prolapse Symptom Inventory and Quality-of-Life Questionnaire (PSI-QOL), and Index of Female Sexual Function. Data were analyzed with Wilcoxon or ratio chi2 tests.


Mean weight was 295.7 +/- 87.9 lbs in the study group and 144.79 +/- 33.07 lbs in the control group. Mean BMI was 52.65 +/-14.49 kg/m2 in the study group and 25.11 +/- 5.27 kg/m2 in the control group. According to the IIQ-7, urinary incontinence significantly affected lifestyle in the study group. The total IIQ-7 score was also significantly affected in the study group (p = 0.03). The UDI indicated more urinary leakage with activity (p = 0.04) and more incidents of small amounts of leakage (p = 0.02) in the study group. According to the PSI-QOL, women in the study group experienced constipation more often because of difficulty in emptying the rectum (p = 0.04). The PSI-QOL score was higher in the study group (6.75 +/- 6.84) than in the control group (2.65 +/- 3.03; p = 0.04). There were no significant differences between groups regarding sexual function.


Morbid obesity is associated with a significant negative impact on urogenital health. Sexual function did not seem to be affected in women who are morbidly obese.

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