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Female Pelvic Med Reconstr Surg. 2015 Sep-Oct;21(5):287-92. doi: 10.1097/SPV.0000000000000182.

Racial Disparities in Knowledge of Pelvic Floor Disorders Among Community-Dwelling Women.

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From the *Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT; † Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology Kaiser Permanente Portland, Oregon; and ‡Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Colorado, Aurora, CO.



To evaluate racial and ethnic differences in knowledge about preventative and curative treatments for pelvic floor disorders (PFD).


The is a secondary analysis of responses from 416 community-dwelling women, aged 19 to 98 years, living in New Haven County, CT, who completed the Prolapse and Incontinence Knowledge Questionnaire. Associations between race/ethnicity (categorized as white, African American, and other women of color [combined group of Hispanic, Asian or "other" women] and knowledge proficiency about modifiable risk factors and treatments for PFD were evaluated. Associations were adjusted for age, marital status, socioeconomic status, education, working in a medical field, and PFD history.


Compared to white women, African American women were significantly less likely to recognize childbirth as a risk factor for urinary incontinence (UI) and pelvic organ prolapse (POP), to know that exercises can help control leakage, and to recognize pessaries as a treatment option for POP. Other women of color were also significantly less likely to know about risk factors, preventative strategies, and curative treatment options for POP and UI; however, these findings may not be generalizable given the heterogeneity and small size of this group.


Significant racial disparities exist in women's baseline knowledge regarding risk factors and treatment options for POP and UI. Targeted, culturally sensitive educational interventions are essential to enhancing success in reducing the personal and economic burden of PFD, which have proven negative effects on women's quality of life.

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