Comparison of Pelvic Floor Disorder Communication Between Younger and Older Women in Rural Communities



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Objective: This study investigated the differences between younger, those ages 18-40, and older, those 41+, women’s perceptions and modes of communication about pelvic floor disorders (PFDs) for medical professionals and health advocacy agencies to provide the best materials and care for women at different points of her life. Methods: The qualitative research strategy was used to conduct one-on-one interviews with older and younger rural women to ask about their perceptions on PFDs and their opinions on two PFD educational fliers. All interviews were then transcribed and analyzed for major themes and differences. Results: 9 older and 10 younger rural women were interviewed. Data showed older women had more knowledge, communication, perceptions, and personal experience with PFDs than younger women. Younger women expressed having a high level of stigma and discomfort when talking about pelvic health in their community. Although both younger and older women expressed they would speak to other women about PFDs, most mentioned they would not initiate the conversation. Younger women were also more likely to share and seek PFD information using online platforms, such as an app and Facebook, than older women. Conclusion: Data suggests older rural women are more aware of PFDs, its local treatment facilities and risk factors than younger rural women. More open conversations with medical professionals and older family members, as well as more online PFD messaging, can increase PFD communication and reduce stigma among young rural women.