The Emotional Burden of Pelvic Organ Prolapse in Women Seeking Treatment: A Qualitative Study

Chiara Ghetti, Laura C. Skoczylas, Sallie S. Oliphant, Cara Nikolajski, Jerry L. Lowder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Objective We aimed to qualitatively describe the emotional burden experienced by women seeking treatment for prolapse. We hypothesized that the condition of prolapse would have an impact on women's emotional well-being. Methods Women with stage II or greater symptomatic prolapse participated in focus groups or individual phone interviews. A trained facilitator conducted semi-structured focus groups and interviews. These were audio-taped and transcribed. Two authors coded transcripts and identified themes using an "editing" approach. The codebook was amended until no new major themes emerged from the data. Results Forty-four women participated (25 in focus groups and 19 in phone interviews). Mean (SD) age of women was 60 (10) years and mean (SD) prolapse leading edge was 3 (2) cm. Analysis revealed the following 3 main themes: (1) emotions associated with the condition of prolapse (minimal emotions, annoyance, irritation, frustration, anger, sadness, anxiety, depression), (2) communicating emotions related to prolapse (to friends, family, healthcare providers), and (3) emotions relating to treatment (both positive and negative effects). Conclusions Prolapse significantly impacts women's emotional health and subjective well-being. An improved understanding of women's emotional experiences of prolapse may help providers better meet patients' needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-338
Number of pages7
JournalFemale Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


  • emotions
  • pelvic organ prolapse
  • psychosocial
  • qualitative study
  • well-being


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