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Women's Pelvic Health Problems Common

Report: About 1 in 3 U.S. Women Has a Pelvic Health Problem by Age 60
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Cancer Breakthrough

June 19, 2007 -- Approximately one-third of U.S. women will have a pelvic health problem by age 60, according to a report released today.

The report, funded by the nonprofit National Women's Health Resource Center, focuses on four pelvic health conditions:

  • Abnormally heavy menstrual periods (menorrhagia)
  • Uterine fibroids (benign tumors made of muscle and connective tissue in the uterus)
  • Stress urinary incontinence (urine leakage during physical acts such as coughing or sneezing)
  • Pelvic organ prolapse (the drooping of pelvic floor organs including the bladder, uterus, vagina, small bowel, and rectum)

Across the board, the report shows that many women don't report these conditions or seek treatment, perhaps partly out of embarrassment.

The report also notes that these four conditions become more common with age, and with the baby boomer generation getting older, pelvic health conditions will likely rise in American women.

Pelvic Health Disorders

The report is based on existing data on women's pelvic health disorders. Here are details from the report:

  • About 70% of white women and 80% of African-American women develop uterine fibroids by age 50.
  • An estimated 13.5 million women in the baby boomer generation (1/3 of female baby boomers) have stress urinary incontinence.
  • Nearly 40% of women aged 45-60 experience heavy menstrual periods, according to a study of Italian women.
  • More than 250,000 hysterectomies (surgical removal of the uterus) were done in the U.S. in 2005 for women with a primary diagnosis of menorrhagia or uterine fibroids.

The report was submitted to the National Women's Health Resource Center by the Lewin Group, a health care consulting firm.

  • Have you had a gynecological problem that you avoided discussing with your doctor? Why? Talk with others like you on WebMD's Women’s Health: Friends Talking message board.

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