Forecasting the prevalence of pelvic floor disorders in U.S. Women: 2010 to 2050

Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Dec;114(6):1278-1283. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e3181c2ce96.


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.

Level of evidence: III.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fecal Incontinence / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Urinary Incontinence / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult