Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education


Health Education

First Advisor

Welshimer, Kathleen


Many women with pelvic floor disorders (PFDs) suffer in silence; unaware there is a medical explanation for their symptoms. Limited research on their perspectives living with these conditions was the underlying reason for this phenomenological study. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with at least one vaginal delivery and a PFD diagnosis by a medical professional required for all participants. Subjects' ages ranged from 29 to 57, with the mean age of 41.3 years. The four major themes that emerged were (a) pregnancy-related issues, (b) interaction with family and friends, (c) relationships with significant others, and (d) interactions with healthcare professionals. All of the women visited multiple health care specialists, with the average period being 12 years from their first symptoms to diagnosis. Participants shared they did not discuss their symptoms with friends and/or partners hoping the problems would resolve on their own. Further studies on the personal experiences of women living with PFD are essential not only for the quality of prenatal care, but to encourage more women to seek help and improve their overall quality of life.




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