OBJECTIVES: Researchers and clinicians tend to focus on one pelvic floor symptom (PFS) at the time. However, the pelvic floor acts as one functional unit, increasing the likelihood of concurrent PFS in patients with pelvic floor dysfunction. There is also a paucity of literature on the prevalence of concomitant PFS, especially in males. Therefore, we explored the occurrence of concomitant PFS in community-dwelling males and females.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This prospective observational population-based cohort study included males and females aged ≥16 years from a single Dutch municipality. Participants completed validated questionnaires on lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), defecation problems, sexual dysfunction, pelvic pain, and pelvic organ prolapse. Medical general practitioner records were examined. Furthermore, a randomly selected group of non-responders aged <80 years received a short questionnaire, to study response bias.
RESULTS: We invited 11 724 people, among which 839 females and 566 males completed the questionnaires. Of the female participants, 286 (34.1%) reported no PFS, and 251 (29.9%) reported two or more PFS. The most prevalent PFS clusters in females were sexual dysfunction and pelvic pain, sexual dysfunction and defecation problems, LUTS and defecation problems, and LUTS, defecation problems, and pelvic pain. Of the male participants, 212 (37.5%) reported no PFS, and 191 (33.7%) reported two or more PFS. The most prevalent clusters in males were sexual dysfunction and LUTS, defecation problems and LUTS, and sexual dysfunction, LUTS, and defecation problems.
CONCLUSION: A considerable overlap existed between PFS, with differences in PFS clusters between females and males. Of note, females reported pelvic pain more than males. We conclude that healthcare providers should address all PFS in males and females.