Objective: This study aimed to assess the effect of the initial visit with a specialist on disease understanding among Spanish-speaking women with pelvic floor disorders.
Methods: Spanish-speaking women with referrals suggestive of urinary incontinence (UI) and/or pelvic organ prolapse (POP) were recruited from public urogynecology clinics. Patients participated in a health literacy assessment and interview before and after their physician encounter. All interviews were analyzed using Grounded Theory qualitative methods.
Results: Twenty-seven women with POP (n = 6), UI (n = 11), and POP/UI (n = 10) were enrolled in this study. The mean age was 55.5 years, and most women had marginal levels of health literacy. From our qualitative analysis, 3 concepts emerged. First, was that patients had poor understanding of their diagnosis before and after the encounter regardless of how extensive the physician’s explanation or level of Spanish-proficiency. Second, patients were overwhelmed with the amount of information given to them. Lastly, patients ultimately put their trust in the physician, relying on them for treatment recommendations.
Conclusions: Our findings emphasize the difficulty Spanish-speaking women with low health literacy have in understanding information regarding pelvic floor disorders. In this specific population, the physician has a major role in influencing patients’ treatment decisions and helping them overcome fears they may have about their condition.
We found barriers to communication between physicians and Spanish-speaking Latin American women with pelvic floor disorders.
From the *Department of Urology, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles; †Department Obstetrics and Gynecology, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, Sylmar; ‡Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA; §Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Surgery, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque, NM; ∥UCLA School of Nursing; and ¶Department of Urology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA.
Reprints: Jennifer T. Anger, MD, MPH, Department of Surgery, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 99 N La Cienega Blvd, Suite 307, Beverly Hills, CA 90211. E-mail: Jennifer.Anger@cshs.org.
Supported by an NIDDK Career Development Award 1-K23-DK080227-01 (Dr Anger).Dr Rebecca G. Rogers serves as the DSMB chair for the TRANSFORM trial sponsored by American Medical Systems.
The other authors have declared they have no conflicts of interest.