Prevalence and risk factors for pelvic organ prolapse in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania: A population based study in Tanzanian rural community

Masenga, Gileard G; Shayo, Benjamin C; Rasch, Vibeke
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The prevalence and risk-factors of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) in Tanzania are unknown. To help elucidate the problem, we assessed POP and associated risk-factors among Tanzanian women by deploying the POP-Q classification system.


A cross sectional community based study conducted in Hai, Rombo and Same Districts, Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania. Women aged 18–90 were recruited through multi-stage random sampling from January to May 2015. Home-based questionnaire interviews were performed and the women were subsequently invited to the nearest health clinic for pelvic examination. Trained physicians used the POP-Q classification system to assess the POP stage.


A total of 1195 women were interviewed and invited for pelvic examination; 1063(89%) women presented at the clinic of whom 1047(88%) accepted a clinical examination. Of 1047 examined women, 64.6% had an anatomical POP stage II–IV and 6.7% had a severe POP that descended 1 cm or more below the hymen. POP stage II–IV was associated with being aged 35+ years, being a farmer, doing petty trading and having delivered 3 times or more. Severe POP was associated with carrying heavy objects for  5 hours (OR 4.70;1.67–13.2), having delivered 5 times or more (OR 10.2;2.22–48.6) and having delivered at home (OR 2.40;1.36–4.22).


POP is a common condition among rural Tanzanian women where 64.6% are having POP grade II-IV and 6.7% are having a severe POP descending 1 cm or more below the hymen. Risk-factors are increasing age, heavy lifting, high parity and home-delivery.