International Urogynecology Journal

, 20:289

Prevalence and degree of bother from pelvic floor disorders in obese women

  • Emily L. Whitcomb
  • Emily S. Lukacz
  • Jean M. Lawrence
  • Charles W. Nager
  • Karl M. Luber
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00192-008-0765-x

Cite this article as:
Whitcomb, E.L., Lukacz, E.S., Lawrence, J.M. et al. Int Urogynecol J (2009) 20: 289. doi:10.1007/s00192-008-0765-x


We aimed to determine the prevalence and bother from pelvic floor disorders (PFD) by obesity severity, hypothesizing that both would increase with higher degrees of obesity. We performed a secondary analysis of 1,155 females enrolled in an epidemiologic study that used a validated questionnaire to identify PFD. Prevalence and degree of bother were compared across three obesity groups. Logistic regression assessed the contribution of degree of obesity to the odds of having PFD. Prevalence of any PFD was highest in morbidly (57%) and severely (53%) obese compared to obese women (44%). Regression models demonstrated higher prevalence of pelvic organ prolapse, overactive bladder, stress urinary incontinence, and any PFD in morbidly compared to obese women and higher prevalence of stress urinary incontinence in severely obese compared to obese women. Degree of bother did not vary by degree of obesity. Prevalence of PFD increases with higher degrees of obesity.


ObesityPelvic floor disorders



pelvic organ prolapse


stress urinary incontinence


overactive bladder


anal incontinence


pelvic floor disorders


body mass index


Kaiser Permanente Continence-Associated Risk Epidemiology Study


Epidemiology of Prolapse and Incontinence Questionnaire


visual analog scale

Copyright information

© The International Urogynecological Association 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily L. Whitcomb
    • 1
    • 4
  • Emily S. Lukacz
    • 1
    • 4
  • Jean M. Lawrence
    • 2
  • Charles W. Nager
    • 1
    • 4
  • Karl M. Luber
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery, Department of Reproductive MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Research and EvaluationKaiser Permanente Southern CaliforniaPasadenaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive SurgeryKaiser Permanente San Diego Medical CenterSan DiegoUSA
  4. 4.La JollaUSA