Forecasting the Prevalence of Pelvic Floor Disorders in U.S. Women: 2010 to 2050

Wu, Jennifer M. MD, MPH; Hundley, Andrew F. MD; Fulton, Rebekah G. BS; Myers, Evan R. MD, MPH

Obstetrics & Gynecology:
doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e3181c2ce96
Original Research

OBJECTIVES: To estimate the number of women who will have symptomatic pelvic floor disorders in the United States from 2010 to 2050.

METHODS: We used population projections from the U.S. Census Bureau from 2010 to 2050 and published age-specific prevalence estimates for bothersome, symptomatic pelvic floor disorders (urinary incontinence [UI], fecal incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse [POP]) from the 2005 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. We abstracted data regarding the number of women aged 20 years or older in 20-year age groups. We assumed that the age-specific prevalences for these disorders and the population distribution of risk factors remained unchanged thru 2050. We also conducted sensitivity analyses that varied both the prevalence estimates and the population projections.

RESULTS: The number of American women with at least one pelvic floor disorder will increase from 28.1 million in 2010 to 43.8 million in 2050. During this time period, the number of women with UI will increase 55% from 18.3 million to 28.4 million. For fecal incontinence, the number of affected women will increase 59% from 10.6 to 16.8 million, and the number of women with POP will increase 46% from 3.3 to 4.9 million. The highest projections for 2050 estimate that 58.2 million women will have at least one pelvic floor disorder, with 41.3 million with UI, 25.3 million with fecal incontinence, and 9.2 million with POP.

CONCLUSION: The prevalence of pelvic floor disorders will increase substantially given the changing demographics in the United States. This increase has important implications for public health and the field of gynecology.


In Brief

The number of women with pelvic floor disorders will increase substantially over the next several decades given the changing demographics in the United States.

Author Information

From the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina; and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

Presented at the 30th annual meeting of the American Urogynecologic Society, September 24-26, 2009, Hollywood, Florida.

Corresponding author: Jennifer M. Wu, MD, MPH, Duke University Medical Center, Box 3192, 236 Baker House, Trent Drive, Durham, NC 27710; e-mail:

Financial Disclosure Dr. Wu has received a research grant (#GA90001Y5) from Pfizer, Inc. (New York, NY) for a research project involving assessing the quality of life associated with overactive bladder. The other authors did not report any potential conflicts of interest.

© 2009 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.