More than one-third of all women in the United States have a PFD,1 and nearly one-quarter of women in the United States have one or more PFDs that cause symptoms.2 PFDs can significantly reduce a woman’s quality of life.2 An estimated 377,000 women underwent surgery in 2010 to correct a bladder control problem or pelvic organ prolapse, and this number is projected to rise sharply over the next several decades.2
For these reasons, the NICHD has invested substantially in PFD research. Specifically, NICHD-supported scientists seek to better understand the basic mechanisms of PFDs and the factors, including pregnancy and birth-related injury, that might affect a woman’s risk of developing PFDs. Developing and evaluating minimally invasive treatment methods for PFDs is another NICHD research interest. Finally, the NICHD is striving to better define the PFD treatment outcomes that are valued by women.
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