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Pelvic floor symptoms and lifestyle factors in older women
Journal of women's health (2002)
  • Catherine S. Bradley, University of Iowa
  • Colleen M. Kennedy, University of Iowa
  • I. E. Nygaard
Document Type
Peer Reviewed
Publication Date
NLM Title Abbreviation
J Womens Health Larchmt
PubMed ID
DOI of Published Version
OBJECTIVES: To measure the prevalence of pelvic floor symptoms in noncare-seeking older women and the association between symptoms and lifestyle factors. METHODS: Women enrolled at one site of the Women's Health Initiative Hormone Therapy clinical trial completed a questionnaire, modified from the Pelvic Floor Distress Inventory, on bladder, bowel, and prolapse symptoms. Individual symptoms and symptom groups were examined in a cross-sectional analysis. RESULTS: In the 297 women who participated, mean age was 68.2 years, mean body mass index (BMI) was 30.2 kg/m(2), and median vaginal parity was 3. The median number of symptoms endorsed was 3 (range 0-18). The most prevalent symptoms were stress urinary incontinence (51.2%), urge urinary incontinence (49.2%), urinary frequency (29.0%), straining for bowel movements (25.0%), a sense of incomplete bowel movements (34.8%), and involuntary loss of gas (33.0%). The symptom groups most frequently endorsed were stress urinary incontinence, overactive bladder, obstructive voiding, and obstructive colorectal groups (>/=1 symptom per group in 51.2%, 61.3%, 40.8%, and 48.3%, respectively). In analyses adjusted for age, BMI, caffeine ingesting, smoking, and exercise, older women more frequently reported incomplete bladder emptying (adjusted OR 3.4, 95% CI 1.3, 9.2), weak urinary stream (adjusted OR 6.4, 95% CI 2.0, 20.0), intermittent urinary stream (adjusted OR 4.0, 95% CI 1.6, 10.4), and a feeling of incomplete bowel movements (adjusted OR 2.7, 95% CI 1.2, 5.9). Women who exercised weekly had less fecal urgency (adjusted OR 0.3, 95% CI 0.2, 0.8). Coffee drinking was associated with difficulty emptying the bladder (adjusted OR 8.6, 95% CI 1.4, 55.0) and weak stream (adjusted OR 5.3, 95% CI 1.5, 19.0). CONCLUSIONS: Pelvic floor symptoms, especially urinary incontinence and irritative and obstructive urinary and bowel symptoms, are common in older women. Some symptoms are associated with potentially modifiable lifestyle factors.
  • Age Factors,
  • Aged,
  • Aged,
  • 80 and over,
  • Confidence Intervals,
  • Cross-Sectional Studies,
  • Exercise,
  • Fecal Incontinence/epidemiology/prevention & control,
  • Female,
  • Health Status,
  • Humans,
  • Life Style,
  • Middle Aged,
  • Odds Ratio,
  • Pelvic Floor,
  • Prevalence,
  • Questionnaires,
  • Risk Factors,
  • United States/epidemiology,
  • Urinary Incontinence/epidemiology/prevention & control,
  • Urinary Incontinence,
  • Stress/epidemiology/prevention & control,
  • Women's Health
Published Article/Book Citation
Journal of women's health (2002), 14:2 (2005) pp.128-136.
Citation Information
Catherine S. Bradley, Colleen M. Kennedy and I. E. Nygaard. "Pelvic floor symptoms and lifestyle factors in older women" Journal of women's health (2002) Vol. 14 Iss. 2 (2005) p. 128 - 136 ISSN: 1540-9996
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