The NICHD supports a broad portfolio of research related to the etiology, treatment, and prevention of Pelvic Floor Disorders (PFDs). Brief descriptions of this research are included below.
The NICHD has expanded its funding of research on PFDs, including pelvic organ prolapse and urinary and fecal incontinence. A lot of this research is supported through the
Pelvic Floor Disorders Network (PFDN), which the NICHD established in 2001 to encourage collaborative research on PFDs and to improve patient care. The PFDN is currently supported through the
Gynecological Health and Disease Branch (GHDB).
PFDN research has advanced understanding of the prevalence, epidemiology, and risk factors for PFDs and has informed clinicians regarding diagnosis and treatment modalities. For example:
Current network studies are examining the effectiveness of both surgical and nonsurgical interventions for PFDs, including pharmacological agents, the short- and long-term anatomical or functional outcomes of interventions, and preventive strategies.
Other GHDB -supported researchers recently estimated the number of women who will undergo surgery for PFDs in the future, based on 2006 –2007 hospitalization data and overall population data from the U.S. Census. They predicted that the number of surgical patients for PFDs is expected to increase by 47%--from about 210,000 in 2010 to 310,000 by 2050. These data demonstrate an urgent need to develop effective, low-cost interventions for PFDs to minimize the public health burden (PMID: 21600549).
Reducing and eliminating obstetric fistula in women who live in developing countries is also an active area of NICHD research. The Institute issued the following program announcements to invite research projects on this topic:
The NICHD-funded Women’s Reproductive Health Research (WRHR) Career Development Program provides an opportunity for obstetrician/gynecologists (OB/GYNs) who recently completed postgraduate clinical training to further their education and experience in basic, translational, and clinical research. WRHR scholars represent a diverse group of physician-scientists from several subspecialties and emerging areas in OB/GYN; they pursue a broad range of basic science, translational, and clinical research topics and are often appointed to faculty positions. The Program's emphasis is on research relevant to OB/GYN and its subspecialties and related fields, including maternal-fetal medicine, gynecologic oncology, reproductive endocrinology, infertility, and adolescent gynecology and urogynecology.
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