Special Contribution

International Urogynecology Journal

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 5-26

First online:

An International Urogynecological Association (IUGA)/International Continence Society (ICS) joint report on the terminology for female pelvic floor dysfunction

  • Bernard T. HaylenAffiliated withSt Vincent’s ClinicUniversity of New South Wales Email author 
  • , Dirk de RidderAffiliated withUniversity Hospital, UZ Leuven
  • , Robert M. FreemanAffiliated withDerriford Hospital
  • , Steven E. SwiftAffiliated withMedical University of South Carolina
  • , Bary BerghmansAffiliated withMaastricht University Hospital
  • , Joseph LeeAffiliated withMercy Hospital for Women
  • , Ash MongaAffiliated withPrincess Anne Hospital
  • , Eckhard PetriAffiliated withKlinikum Schwerin
  • , Diaa E. RizkAffiliated withAin Shams University
    • , Peter K. SandAffiliated withEvanston Continence Centre
    • , Gabriel N. SchaerAffiliated withKantonsspital

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Introduction and hypothesis

Next to existing terminology of the lower urinary tract, due to its increasing complexity, the terminology for pelvic floor dysfunction in women may be better updated by a female-specific approach and clinically based consensus report.


This report combines the input of members of the Standardization and Terminology Committees of two International Organizations, the International Urogynecological Association (IUGA) and the International Continence Society (ICS), assisted at intervals by many external referees. Appropriate core clinical categories and a subclassification were developed to give an alphanumeric coding to each definition. An extensive process of 15 rounds of internal and external review was developed to exhaustively examine each definition, with decision-making by collective opinion (consensus).


A terminology report for female pelvic floor dysfunction, encompassing over 250 separate definitions, has been developed. It is clinically based with the six most common diagnoses defined. Clarity and user-friendliness have been key aims to make it interpretable by practitioners and trainees in all the different specialty groups involved in female pelvic floor dysfunction. Female-specific imaging (ultrasound, radiology, and MRI) has been a major addition while appropriate figures have been included to supplement and help clarify the text. Ongoing review is not only anticipated but will be required to keep the document updated and as widely acceptable as possible.


A consensus-based terminology report for female pelvic floor dysfunction has been produced aimed at being a significant aid to clinical practice and a stimulus for research.


Female pelvic floor dysfunction Terminology Consensus Symptomatology Urodynamics Diagnosis