NICHD Pelvic Floor Disorders (PFDs) Research Information

Many women in the United States have one or more PFDs.1,2 PFDs can significantly reduce a woman’s quality of life.2 The number of women who undergo surgery to correct a bladder control problem or pelvic organ prolapse is projected to rise sharply over the next several decades.2 NICHD-supported researchers have predicted that the number of surgical patients for PFDs will increase by 47%—from about 210,000 in 2010 to 310,000 by 2050.3

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 childbirth-related injuries, that might affect a woman’s risk of developing PFDs. Researchers are also working to develop and evaluate minimally invasive treatments for PFDs. Finally, NICHD is striving to better define what outcomes women value most.

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  1. Lawrence, J. M., Lukacz, E. S., Nager, C. W., Hsu, J. W., & Luber, K. M. (2008). Prevalence and co-occurrence of pelvic floor disorders in community-dwelling women. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 111(3), 678–685.
  2. Nygaard, I., Barber, M. D., Burgio, K. L., Kenton, K., Meikle, S., Schaffer, J., et al. (2008). Prevalence of symptomatic pelvic floor disorders in U.S. women. JAMA, 300, 1311–1316.
  3. Wu, J. M., Kawasaki, A., Hundley, A. F., Dieter, A. A., Myers, E. R., & Sung, V. W. (2011). Predicting the number of women who will undergo incontinence and prolapse surgery, 2010 to 2050. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 205(3), 230.e1–230.e5. Retrieved October 10, 2019, from
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