This study aimed to describe symptom prevalence and quality of life impact from lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) in women living with female genital mutilation (FGM) in the United States.
A convenience sample of English-speaking women with FGM were invited to complete an anonymous survey including the Female Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms questionnaire to assess symptom prevalence and bother and the Pelvic Floor Impact Questionnaire-7 to assess quality of life impact from pelvic floor disorders. Data are reported as median (interquartile range). Correlations were calculated using Spearman ρ.
Thirty women with an age of 29 (24–40) years were included. Sixty-seven percent self-identified as black/African and 77% were Muslim. Women reported being circumcised between ages 1 week and 16 years (median, 6 years). Forty percent reported type I circumcision, 23% reported type II, 23% reported type III, and 13% were unsure. Fifty percent were vaginally parous. Seventy-three percent of women reported the presence of LUTS. Twenty-seven percent voided at least 9 times per day, and 60% had nocturia at least 2 times. Bothersome voiding symptoms were commonly reported: urinary hesitancy (40%), strained urine flow (30%), and intermittent urine stream (47%). Fifty-three percent reported urgency urinary incontinence and 43% reported stress urinary incontinence. Symptom prevalence and bother were correlated for all 12 items (ρ = 0.51–0.90, P < 0.001). Median Pelvic Floor Impact Questionnaire-7 score was 102 (8–144), with 63% reporting urinary symptoms having “moderate” or “quite a bit of” impact on their activities, relationships, or feelings.
Lower urinary tract symptoms are common and bothersome in women with FGM. Providers caring for patients with FGM should inquire about LUTS.