Pelvic Floor Disorders Network (PFDN)


PFDN logoNICHD established PFDN in 2001 to encourage collaborative research on pelvic floor disorders (PFDs) and to improve patient care. PFDs include pelvic organ prolapse, urinary and fecal incontinence, and other sensory and emptying abnormalities of the lower urinary tract and the gastrointestinal tract. As many as one in five women will have surgery for a PFD at some time in her life.

PFDN includes eight clinical centers and a Data Coordinating Center (DCC) located at U.S. universities and medical centers. Leadership at each clinical center is provided by a Principal Investigator (PI), who is a practicing physician with substantial experience in treating PFDs. A research coordinator oversees the progress of PFDN's clinical trials under the supervision of the PI and a multidisciplinary team.

PFDN is funded by NICHD’s Gynecologic Health and Disease Branch through a Cooperative Clinical Research award mechanism (U10 and U01). A steering committee guides the development and conduct of research protocols and the preparation of PFDN publications. The steering committee is composed of the PIs from each clinical center, the DCC, a steering committee chair, and NICHD staff. Visit the PFDN website external link for a full listing of sites and investigators is available at.

Topic Areas

PFDN research aims to inform healthcare providers about diagnosis, care, and treatment of women with PFDs, while improving the quality of life for women with PFDs and their families. General areas of research include observational and clinical studies examining the effectiveness of surgical and nonsurgical interventions for PFDs, including pharmacological agents, short- and long-term anatomical or functional outcomes of interventions (e.g., quality of life, sexual function, urinary function, and gastrointestinal function), and preventive strategies. New research into translating basic science findings to clinical outcomes is a routine part of each PFDN study. This effort will help to further investigate causes and pathologic changes that may contribute to differential outcomes in the clinical studies.

Network studies include the following:

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