Postcesarean pelvic floor dysfunction contributes to undisclosed psychosocial morbidity

Mira Lal, Helen M. Pattison, Teresa F Allan, Roger Callender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To estimate the prevalence and severity of postcesarean pelvic dysfunction. STUDY DESIGN: Using biopsychosocial interviewing at home, 184 postcesarean primiparas were compared to 100 vaginally delivered women regarding symptoms of stress incontinence, anal incontinence and dyspareunia. Delivery details were confirmed from medical records. RESULTS: Comparison of postcesarean vs. vaginally delivered women revealed stress incontinence in 33% vs. 54% and dyspareunia in 27% vs. 46%, both differences reaching statistical significance, unlike anal incontinence, which was manifest in 51% vs. 44%. When compared to emergency cesarean the relative risk of stress incontinence following an elective cesarean was 0.99 (0.71, 1.39), of dyspareunia 1.02 and of anal incontinence 1.05, indicating no statistically significant difference. Thirty (22%) stress incontinent and 4 (3%) fecally incontinent mothers used pads continuously, suggesting severe physical morbidity. Severe dysphoria (depression) was expressed by 41 (35%) stress incontinent mothers, 38 (30%) with dyspareunia and 34 (26%) with anal incontinence; the association of severe dysphoria with dyspareunia was statistically significant (OR = 2.504 [1.362, 4.602]). Few women came forward to seek help. CONCLUSION: Pelvic dysfunction was similar after elective or emergency cesarean. Compared to vaginal delivery, postcesarean stress incontinence and dyspareunia were less frequent but biopsychosocial morbidity could be severe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-60
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Reproductive Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009


  • biopsychosocial morbidity
  • postcesarean dyspareunia
  • postcesarean incontinence


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