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Knowledge and Perceptions of Pelvic Floor Disorders Among African American and Latina Women

Hatchett, Lena PhD; Hebert-Beirne, Jennifer PhD, MPH; Tenfelde, Sandi PhD, RN, APN; Lavender, Missy D. MBA; Brubaker, Linda MD MS

Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery: July-August 2011 - Volume 17 - Issue 4 - p 190-194
doi: 10.1097/SPV.0b013e318229dd5c
Original Articles

Objective: The objective of this study was to explore knowledge, barriers to seeking sociocultural perceptions of pelvic floor disorders (PFDs) among African American (AA) and Latina (LA) community-dwelling women.

Methods: Thirty-two women participated in 4 focus groups. The sample included AA and LA women aged 24 to 77 years. Focus groups were stratified by age and race/ethnicity. Discussion questions included knowledge of and related health needs and barriers to seeking care with respect to PFDs, urinary incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse. Demographics and basic knowledge and experience with PFDs were also captured by survey.

Results: Several significant themes emerged from the data. AA and LA women had general misconceptions about PFDs and were unaware of PFDs causes, symptoms, and available treatments. Women were eager to receive more information, particularly prevention information that could be shared with their daughters. A major barrier to seeking care was the pattern of placing family demands before their own health needs.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that there is a gap in information on PFDs among AA and LA women, yet a demand for information exists. Sociocultural perspectives discerned from focus group with AA and LA women can be used to tailor educational information and materials on PFDs. Findings may increase health provider awareness of the unique sociocultural barriers to seeking care for AA and LA women and improve patient education on PFDs.

From the *Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy, Loyola University, Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood; †Women's Health Foundation; ‡University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health; §Loyola University Chicago Niehoff School of Nursing; and ∥Division of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology& Urology, Loyola University, Chicago, IL.

Reprints: Lena Hatchett, PhD, Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics and Heath Policy, Loyola University Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine, 2160 S First Ave, Maywood, IL 60153. E-mail:

This study was funded in part by a grant from Renessa and in partnership with Women's Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the pelvic health of all women.

Copyright © 2011 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.