Symptomatic pelvic floor disorders

Symptomatic pelvic floor disorders in community-dwelling older Australian women


To assess the prevalence and factors associated with, pelvic floor disorders in a representative sample of community-dwelling older Australian women.


1,548 women, aged 65–79 years, were recruited to this cross-sectional study between April and August 2014. Pelvic floor disorders, including urinary incontinence (UI), fecal incontinence (FI), and pelvic organ prolapse (POP), were assessed using validated questionnaires. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess factors associated with each, and having one or more pelvic floor disorders.


Among 1,517 women (mean age = 71.5 ± 4.1 SD years), 47.2% (95% CI, 44.7–49.7%) of women had one or more pelvic floor disorders, with 36.2% (95% CI, 33.8–38.6%) having UI, 19.8% (95% CI, 17.8–21.9%) having FI, and 6.8% (95% CI, 5.6–8.2%) having POP. Of the women with POP, 53.4% had UI, 33% had FI and 26.2% had both. The proportion of women with one or more pelvic floor disorders increased with parity from 34.6% (95% CI, 7.8–11.7%) for nulliparous women, to 45.3% (95% CI, 40.3–59.1%) for 1–2 births, and 52.1% (95%CI, 48.3–55.8%) for ≥3 births. Obese women were more likely to have at least one pelvic floor disorder (OR = 1.77; 95% CI, 1.36–2.31, p < 0.01).


Pelvic floor disorders are common in older women. Physicians caring for older women should be mindful that older women presenting with symptoms of one pelvic floor disorder are likely to have another concurrent pelvic floor problem.

Zeleke BM, Bell RJ, Billah B, Davis SR. Maturitas 85 (2016) 34-41