Objective: This study was undertaken to describe the distribution of pelvic organ support stages in a population of women seen at outpatient gynecology clinics for routine gynecologic health care.
Study design: This was an observational study. Women seen for routine gynecologic health care at four outpatient gynecology clinics were recruited to participate. After informed consent was obtained general biographic data were collected regarding obstetric history, medical history, and surgical history. Women then underwent a pelvic examination. Pelvic organ support was measured and described according to the pelvic organ prolapse quantification system. Stages of support were evaluated by variable for trends with Pearson chi(2) statistics.
Results: A total of 497 women were examined. The average age was 44 years, with a range of 18 to 82 years. The overall distribution of pelvic organ prolapse quantification system stages was as follows: stage 0, 6.4%; stage 1, 43.3%; stage 2, 47.7%; and stage 3, 2.6%. No subjects examined had pelvic organ prolapse quantification system stage 4 prolapse. Variables with a statistically significant trend toward increased pelvic organ prolapse quantification system stage were advancing age, increasing gravidity and parity, increasing number of vaginal births, delivery of a macrosomic infant, history of hysterectomy or pelvic organ prolapse operations, postmenopausal status, and hypertension.
Conclusion: The distribution of the pelvic organ prolapse quantification system stages in the population revealed a bell-shaped curve, with most subjects having stage 1 or 2 support. Few subjects had either stage 0 (excellent support) or stage 3 (moderate to severe pelvic support defects) results. There was a statistically significant trend toward increased pelvic organ prolapse quantification system stage of support among women with many of the historically quoted etiologic factors for the development of pelvic organ prolapse.