Effects of age on levator function and morphometry of the levator hiatus in women with pelvic floor disorders

Mirjam Weemhoff*, Ka Lai Shek, Hans P. Dietz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Epidemiological data supports the hypothesis that ageing is a risk factor for pelvic organ prolapse. In this study, we intended to determine the effect of age on levator function and morphometry in women with pelvic floor disorders. Three hundred seventy-five patients underwent an interview, physical examination and transperineal ultrasound. Clinical assessment included palpation using the Modified Oxford Scale. Ultrasonography was performed to diagnose levator defects and assess levator hiatal morphometry. Pelvic floor muscle strength was weakly associated with patient age (r = -0.25, p <0.01). This remained true after accounting for the confounders parity and levator defects. Morphometry of the levator hiatus was weakly positively correlated with age. Ageing seems to have a limited effect on contractility and distensibility of the pelvic floor muscle. The small effect of ageing results in reduced contraction strength and increased hiatal diameters. This effect is partly confounded by parity and levator defects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1137-1142
JournalInternational Urogynecology Journal
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010


  • Age
  • Pelvic floor
  • Prolapse
  • Ultrasonography

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