Women make up half of the population. Approximately 86% of Australian women will have a baby over their lifetime, and of those, roughly half will experience POP.
Many of these women have symptoms such as incontinence or pain that restrict them from doing activities they would like at home or at work. For some women it even prevents them from continuing work, volunteering, or caring for children or other relatives. The unsatisfactory nature of so many current treatments, and the lack of knowledge about the condition, really compounds this.
I have often wondered what the cost is to society of 1 in 5 Australians being so limited in their activity.
Deloitte Access Economics was commissioned in 2011 by the Continence Foundation of Australia to try and answer this question. They were looking at all incontinence, not just prolapse - but prolapse is one of the leading causes of incontinence among women, who suffer from incontinence far more than men.
The figure they came up with was that incontinence cost the Australian economy $42.9 billion a year, not including the cost of actually treating or managing incontinence.
Considering this figure, prolapse and other conditions that cause incontinence (many of them, like prolapse, often related to childbirth) need to be a much larger focus of research and public awareness campaigns. The economic cost, and the human cost, is too high.