Misconceptions and miscommunication among Spanish-speaking and English-speaking women with pelvic organ prolapse

Cecilia K. Wieslander, Alexandriah Alas, Gena C. Dunivan, Claudia Sevilla, Sara Cichowski, Sally Maliski, Karyn Eilber, Rebecca G. Rogers, Jennifer T. Anger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Introduction and hypothesis: Limited data exist on women’s experience with pelvic organ prolapse (POP) symptoms. We aimed to describe factors that prevent disease understanding among Spanish-speaking and English-speaking women. Methods: Women with POP were recruited from female urology and urogynecology clinics in Los Angeles, California, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Eight focus groups were conducted, four in Spanish and four in English. Topics addressed patients’ emotional responses when noticing their prolapse, how they sought support, what verbal and written information was given, and their overall feelings of the process. Additionally, patients were asked about their experience with their treating physician. All interview transcripts were analyzed using grounded theory qualitative methods. Results: Qualitative analysis yielded two preliminary themes. First, women had misconceptions about what POP is as well as its causes and treatments. Second, there was a great deal of miscommunication between patient and physician which led to decreased understanding about the diagnosis and treatment options. This included the fact that women were often overwhelmed with information which they did not understand. The concept emerged that there is a strong need for better methods to achieve disease and treatment understanding for women with POP. Conclusions: Our findings emphasize that women with POP have considerable misconceptions about their disease. In addition, there is miscommunication during the patient–physician interaction that leads to further confusion among Spanish-speaking and English-speaking women. Spending more time explaining the diagnosis of POP, rather than focusing solely on treatment options, may reduce miscommunication and increase patient understanding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-604
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Urogynecology Journal and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Disease understanding
  • Focus groups
  • Grounded theory
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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