Knowledge of erectile dysfunction and pelvic floor disorders among young adults

The prevalence of pelvic floor disorders (PFD) in aging women can be compared to the prevalence of erectile dysfunction (ED) in aging men. The objective of this study was to assess young adults’ familiarity with the definition, prevalence, etiology, and treatment of PFD and ED. Women and men aged 18-40 years completed a validated survey (Prolapse and Incontinence Knowledge Quiz) to assess knowledge of urinary incontinence (UI) and pelvic organ prolapse (POP). Both groups completed a similar questionnaire created to assess knowledge of ED. Participants were asked to estimate the prevalence of these conditions and to identify their source(s) of knowledge. Of 377 respondents, 65% were female and 35% were male. Respondents underestimated the prevalence of these disorders and were significantly worse at estimating the prevalence of PFD than ED. Men and women had significantly less knowledge of POP (67% +/- 32, compared to ED (83% +/- 20) and UI (82% +/- 22), p < 0.001). Men and women did not differ with regards to their knowledge about UI and POP, but men had significantly more knowledge about ED than women (87% +/- 18 versus 81% +/- 21, p = 0.008). Higher education level and increased age were related to better knowledge of PFD and ED.

Despite high education levels, young adults in this study had an inferior understanding of POP compared to UI or ED. Women knew more about ED than about POP, a condition that could affect them over the course of their lifetime.