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How much do women really know about pelvic floor physical therapy?

During a poster session of the 2022 American Urogynecologic Society and International Urogynecological Association’s 47th Annual Meeting, researchers shared a study that investigated baseline knowledge of patients with pelvic floor therapy.

At the AUGS and IUGA 2022 Scientific Meeting in Austin Texas, Dani Zoorob, MD, MHA, MBA, FACOG, FACS, CPE, FACHE; Lena Faisel, from the University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences in Ohio; Gabrielle Gear, MD, from the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit Michigan; Allison Gerren, MD, from SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn, New York; Sara Yunghans, PT, DPT, PRPC, WCS, and Heather Wahl, MD, FACOG, NCMP, from ProMedica Pelvic Health in

Sylvania, Ohio, shared the results of their study, “Patient attitudes and perceptions regarding pelvic floor physical therapy—a geographic case study,” in a poster session at the conference.

The investigators first noted 2 concerns: while surgical options for pelvic floor conditions are now commonplace, conservative remediation (such as pelvic floor exercises) remain limited. Even though women are aware ofsuch exercises, the majority do not perform them, and are unaware that pelvic floor therapists can provide education and treatment for pelvic floor disorders. The objective of this study was to get a baseline knowledge of patients with the indications of pelvic floor physical therapy (PFPT), with a focus on racial variations.

The cross-sectional survey study was distributed to English-speaking women, Caucasian, Black, and Hispanic, aged 18 years and older who received general care at a large health care center in Northwestern Ohio. The survey itself consisted of a 50-item questionnaire created to assess the awareness, perceived benefits, and treatment indications, along with methods of soliciting PFPT.

In the study results, 68% of Caucasian women, 50% of Black women, and 47% of Hispanic women were familiar with the term “pelvic floor.” However, only 35% of White women, 19% of Black women, and 33% of Hispanic women were familiar with the PFPT team at the hospital. An overwhelming majority of White women knew about kegel exercises (91%, compared to 76% of Black women and 73% of Hispanic women). However, only 26% of White women were familiar with pelvic exercises other than Kegel, as compared to 40% of Hispanic women and 20% of Black women.

The investigators concluded that knowledge of PFPT remains relatively low, regardless of race and education level. This lack of awareness across the board indicates enhanced patient education efforts focused on conservative management methods of conditions such as pelvic pain would be beneficial.

Reference
Zoorob D, Gear G, Faisel L, Gerren A, Yunghans S, Wahl H. Patient attitudes and perceptions regarding pelvic floor physical therapy—a geographic case study. Poster presentation at the 2022 American Urogynecologic Society and International Urogynecological Association’s 47th Annual Meeting. June 14-18, 2022. Austin, Texas.