INTRODUCTION AND HYPOTHESIS: The objective was to examine the association between reproductive and anthropometric factors and later risk of pelvic organ prolapse (POP).
METHODS: We carried out a prospective cohort study including 11,114 female nurses > 44 years from the Danish Nurse Cohort. In 1993, the study population was recruited through the Danish Nurse Organization and self-reported data on age, height, weight, age at menarche, age at first birth and number of childbirths were obtained. POP diagnosis was obtained from the National Patient Registry. Risk of POP was estimated using COX regression and presented as hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI).
RESULTS: Overall, 10% of the women received a diagnosis of POP within a median follow-up of 22 years. A 4% increase in risk of POP was seen for each increasing BMI (kg/m2) unit at baseline. Compared to women of normal weight, higher risks of POP were seen in overweight (HR 1.18: 1.02-1.36) and obese women (HR 1.33: 1.02-1.74), while underweight had a lower risk (HR 0.51: 0.27-0.95). Compared to women with one childbirth, women with no childbirths had a reduced risk of 57% while increased risks of 46%, 78% and 137% were observed in women with two, three and four childbirths. Women with menarche before the age of 12 tended to have a higher risk of POP as did women who were 30-33 years at their first childbirth.
CONCLUSIONS: POP is a common health problem in women, and BMI and number of childbirths are strong predictors.