Knowledge of pelvic floor disorders amongst immigrant women in Canada

Int Urogynecol J. 2021 Nov;32(11):3077-3084. doi: 10.1007/s00192-020-04662-1. Epub 2021 Feb 23.


Introduction and hypothesis: Pelvic floor disorders (PFD) have a detrimental effect on quality of life. Despite the available treatments, women often do not seek medical care. Patient knowledge has been identified as a major barrier to accessing care. The objective of this study was to assess knowledge on PFD amongst women in Edmonton, hypothesizing that immigrant women are less knowledgeable about PFD than Canadian-born women.

Methods: A cross-sectional study of immigrant women and Canadian-born women was conducted. Immigrant women were recruited at the Multi-Cultural Health Brokers Co-op (MCHB) and Canadian-born women at a colposcopy clinic. The Prolapse and Incontinence Knowledge Questionnaire (PIKQ) was administered. Scores for UI and POP were calculated and compared using a Mann-Whitney U test and a t test. A subgroup analysis of immigrants was carried out according to length of stay in Canada and ethnicity. Ethics approval was obtained from the University of Alberta Human Research Ethics Office.

Results: A total of 106 immigrants and 102 Canadian-born women completed the PIKQ. The overall PIKQ scores were 12.7 for immigrant women and 14.4 for Canadian-born women (p = 0.04). Immigrant women who had lived in Canada for >10 years had higher scores (mean = 13.2) compared with women with less than 10 years in Canada (mean = 11.8). Women from South Asia had higher overall PIKQ scores (mean = 14.6) whereas women from sub-Saharan Africa had the lowest scores (mean = 12.1).

Conclusions: Immigrant women in Edmonton were found to have less knowledge on PFD than Canadian-born women.

Keywords: Health inequities; Immigrants; Incontinence; Pelvic floor diseases; Prolapse.

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pelvic Floor Disorders*
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires