Why is this important
Although much is known about the causes, impact and treatment of pelvic floor disorders, this research has generally come from more economically developed countries, and there is far less published information from low and middle income countries (LMIC).
Two recent studies in Ethiopia report prevalence for women experience symptoms of any pelvic floor disorders of 12% and 20% 1,2. Despite a majority of women in this Eastern Ethiopian population reporting symptoms of UI and POP to be severely distressing only a third of women had sought help. This is despite growing evidence that UI and POP have significant negative impacts on these women’s lives, affecting daily activities and social roles and personal and sexual relationships. UI and POP are often perceived as an inevitable part of aging or result of childbirth and women “silently wait to heal” as reported in a qualitative study from North West Ethiopia 3,4.
There has been work to raise awareness of symptoms and encourage women to seek help. However, the lack of accessible and effective care pathways for women in LMICs must also be addressed. Access to surgical treatment is very limited given the number of available qualified health professionals and geographical and financial barriers for women 5. Yet evidence from other countries suggests that non-surgical treatment may be effective for a large proportion of women.