International Urogynecology Journal

, Volume 28, Issue 11, pp 1645–1650 | Cite as

Prevalence of cognitive impairment in older women with pelvic floor disorders

  • Cynelle Murray Kunkle
  • Melinda G. Abernethy
  • Lily R. Van Tongeren
  • Tola B. Fashokun
  • Edward J. Wright
  • Chi Chiung Grace Chen
Original Article


Introduction and hypothesis

This study aimed to determine the prevalence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early dementia among women >55 years seeking care for pelvic floor disorders (PFDs) and to describe the impact of cognitive impairment on condition-specific quality of life (QoL). We hypothesized that the prevalence of MCI would be at least 15% among this population.


This was a cross-sectional study of English-speaking women >55 years presenting for evaluation of PFDs. We assessed baseline demographics and administered the Short Test of Mental Status (STMS) to screen for cognitive impairment. We predicted a sample of 196 would be needed for a precision of ±5% of the estimated sample prevalence in participants with PFDs. Chi-square tests were used to compare categorical variables and Student’s t tests and analysis of variance (ANOVA) for continuous variables. Multivariate regression analysis was used to assess for any independent association with cognitive impairment and condition-specific QoL.


Between July 2013 and July 2014, 211 participants were enrolled. The prevalence of MCI and early dementia were 15% [95% confidence interval (CI) 10.9–20.6; n = 32)] and 17% (95% CI 11.9–22.1; n = 36], respectively. Patients with MCI and early dementia had higher Patient Heath Questionnaire scores indicating greater depressive symptoms (p = 0.006) and higher overall Pelvic Floor Impact Questionnaire scores indicating worse condition-specific QoL (p = 0.008).


MCI and early dementia were prevalent in our population seeking care for PFDs. Women with cognitive impairment experienced worse condition-specific QoL.


Cognitive impairment Urinary incontinence Uterovaginal prolapse 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest; the views presented here reflect the opinions of the authors and not the agency or institution where they are employed.

Financial support

No financial support was provided to conduct this study.


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Copyright information

© The International Urogynecological Association 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cynelle Murray Kunkle
    • 1
    • 2
  • Melinda G. Abernethy
    • 1
  • Lily R. Van Tongeren
    • 1
  • Tola B. Fashokun
    • 1
  • Edward J. Wright
    • 3
  • Chi Chiung Grace Chen
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Urogynecology, Department of Gynecology and ObstetricsJohns Hopkins School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.LuthervilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of UrologyBaltimoreUSA

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