Primary care providers' attitudes, knowledge, and practice patterns regarding pelvic floor disorders

Understanding barriers to seeking care for pelvic floor disorders is necessary. We sought to assess familiarity with pelvic floor disorders, as well as identify screening and referral patterns among primary care providers.

This Institutional Review Board approved study was distributed through a secure online server (SurveyMonkey®). Primary care providers within a large healthcare system were invited to participate in a 14-question survey regarding the prevalence, diagnosis, and treatment of urinary incontinence (UI), overactive bladder (OAB) syndrome, and pelvic organ prolapse (POP). Demographic information was collected. Descriptive statistics and associations were calculated.

A total of 360 emails were delivered, 108 responded (response rate 30.0 %). Respondents were evenly distributed with respect to age and years in practice. Providers correctly estimated the prevalence of UI and OAB, and most reported treating these conditions themselves (92.6 % and 88.9 %, respectively). If treatment failed, however, referral was most often (68.1 %) to urology. The majority reported not screening for POP, and 50.9 % believed the prevalence to be rare. Referrals for POP were most often (61.1 %) to urogynecology. Male providers were less likely to screen for POP than female providers (p < 0.001). Only a minority (35.2 %) described being 'very familiar' with urogynecology, and 19.4 % were unaware of such providers within the system.

Primary care providers within a large healthcare system were more familiar with UI and OAB than POP, often underestimating the prevalence of POP. Nearly one-fifth were unaware of urogynecologists within their system. Educational outreach regarding pelvic floor disorders and the urogynecology specialty would likely improve patient access to care.

International urogynecology journal. 2016 Jan 28 [Epub ahead of print]

Donna Mazloomdoost, Lauren B Westermann, Catrina C Crisp, Susan H Oakley, Steven D Kleeman, Rachel N Pauls

Division of Urogynecology and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, TriHealth/Good Samaritan Hospital, 3219 Clifton Ave, Cincinnati, OH, 45220, USA. ., Division of Urogynecology and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, TriHealth/Good Samaritan Hospital, 3219 Clifton Ave, Cincinnati, OH, 45220, USA.

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