Risk factors for uterine prolapse in Nepal
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Uterine prolapse is a significant public health problem in Nepal. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of uterine prolapse and to define possible risk factors for this disease in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal. This clinical report consists of an analysis of data from Dr. Iwamura Memorial Hospital and Research Center (IMHARC) in Bhaktapur, between July 1 and September 30, 2006. This analysis was restricted to a sample that included all women with complaints of uterine prolapse (second- or third-degree prolapse) diagnosed and treated at the IMHARC. During a 3-month period, 96 women were diagnosed and treated with uterine prolapse. The median age at the time of clinical presentation was 50 years, and the median maternal weight was 45 kg. In average, the women gave birth to four children vaginally. Most of the affected women were smoking, and most of them were postmenopausal. Thirty-five percent of the affected patients had a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), 16% suffered from hypertension and 5% had diabetes mellitus. The majority of the women with uterine prolapse were of Newari origin (84%), and nearly all patients reported that they were working heavily during pregnancy as well as in the postpartum period (87%). We found several risk factors for uterine prolapse in Nepal. Especially extensive physical labor during pregnancy and immediately after delivery, low availability of skilled birth attendants, smoking while having COPD and low maternal weight due to lack of nutritious food are mainly responsible for this common disease. In our opinion, extensive information, prevention programs and early management of genital prolapse should be the first steps to reduce this significant social and public health problem in Nepal.