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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Dec;199(6):610.e1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2008.04.001. Epub 2008 Jun 4.

Graphic integration of causal factors of pelvic floor disorders: an integrated life span model.

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Pelvic Floor Research Group, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.


There is growing interest in causal factors for pelvic floor disorders. These conditions include pelvic organ prolapse and urinary and fecal incontinence and are affected by a myriad of factors that increase occurrence of symptomatic disease. Unraveling the complex causal network of genetic factors, birth-induced injury, connective tissue aging, lifestyle and comorbid factors is challenging. We describe a graphical tool to integrate the factors affecting pelvic floor disorders. It plots pelvic floor function in 3 major life phases: (1) development of functional reserve during an individual's growth, (2) variations in the amount of injury and potential recovery that occur during and after vaginal birth, and (3) deterioration that occurs with advancing age. This graphical tool accounts for changes in different phases to be integrated to form a disease model to help assess the overlap of different causal factors.

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