Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Are There Racial Differences in Pelvic Organ Prolapse?

Racial differences exist for certain diseases which are well known: diabetes, high blood pressure and prostate cancer may be more aggressive or more difficult to treat in American blacks. So researchers asked if racial differences exist as well in regards to pelvic organ prolapse.

Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is very prevalent and can lead to many health-related issues. Certain risk factors are well known, such as childbirth, hysterectomy, menopause, and familial. A large population-based study conducted by Kaiser looked at over 2,200 middle aged and older women. Data was all self-reported by the women in the survey who then underwent an exam.

What were the findings?

Certain conditions were shown again to be associated with POP such as: prior hysterectomy, menopause, chronic cough from bronchitis/emphysema, and weekly urinary incontinence. Race/ethnicity was also found to be relevant. Even though degree of prolapse was similar across all race groups, White and Latina compared to Black women were associated with symptomatic prolapse. Latina women were most bothered with 41% reported moderate to extreme bother, with 20% of white women, 20% Asian women, and 17% of black women. Factors that were independently associated with the leading edge of the prolapse being at/beyond the hymen and stage of prolapse (objective prolapse) were white vs. black race, age, BMI and vaginal delivery, and diabetes.

Even though the degree of prolapse was the same across all groups, Latina and white women had more subjective complaints about their prolapse. The study authors suggest there may be cultural differences in attitudes towards the condition or in tendency to report it. To me this suggests that a thorough history and physical exam is always good medicine in order to properly diagnose pelvic health conditions.

1 comment:

feeler said...

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