By the year 2050, it is projected that one in three women will be diagnosed with one or more types of pelvic floor disorder (PFD), according to a study presented at the Urogynecologic Society on its 30th Annual Scientific Meeting. From the present 32.2 million reported cases, this may translate to 50.1 million women experiencing PFD or an increase of 56 percent.
Still expected to be the most common PFD, urinary incontinence will increase from 18.3 million to 28.4 million by 2050. For the same period, the number of women expected to suffer fecal incontinence is seen to reach 16.8 million from the present 10.6 million. Increasing by 46 percent, women diagnosed with pelvic organ prolapse (POP) may reach 4.9 million from the existing 3.3 million.
Healthcare providers have expressed grave concern over these alarming projections. A number of implications are seen that may have great impact on women and they realize the need to take necessary measures to address these concerns.
An increase in the demand for the care of these women may become necessary due to the enormous increase in the prevalence of these disorders. Many fear that in dealing with these disorders, there might not be enough fully-trained doctors. They see a shortage of capable medical experts to help these women unless more physicians are encouraged to specialize in this field.
This potentially disastrous situation may also be addressed by other measures such as a more comprehensive research on this subject and a massive education program directed at women who may be at risk of developing pelvic floor ailments. Discovering remedies for these conditions should not be the sole objective but should also focus in dealing with obesity which has been acknowledged as a prime risk factor which has seen an increase in the country in epidemic proportions.
Women have benefited in their struggle to maintain ideal weights with the classification of obesity as a disease. While this reclassification may be considered a positive initial step, before these women can triumph in their fight against excess weight, there is still much to be done.
Experts also see the need to educate women on these disorders by convincing them that they do not have to suffer in silence. They should come forward and report their symptoms in order to have the appropriate treatment for their conditions and should not take these disorders as a cause for embarrassment.
Also very important, these projections may mean the need for innovative and better options in the treatment of these disorders which will surely stimulate competition from different companies. It is hoped that companies such as Ethicon may have learned something from the vaginal mesh controversy and will put the welfare of the patients before any other considerations, financial or otherwise. Women sustained serious injuries as a result of these mesh implants which have compelled women to file claims, with Ethicon expected to have the most number of vaginal mesh lawsuits.