The Future of Research in Female Pelvic Medicine

Jamie Chao, Toby C. Chai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery (FPMRS) was recently recognized as a subspecialty by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). FPMRS treats female pelvic disorders (FPD) including pelvic organ prolapse (POP), urinary incontinence (UI), fecal incontinence (FI), lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), lower urinary tract infections (UTI), pelvic pain, and female sexual dysfunction (FSD). These conditions affect large numbers of individuals, resulting in significant patient, societal, medical, and financial burdens. Given that treatments utilize both medical and surgical approaches, areas of research in FPD necessarily cover a gamut of topics, ranging from mechanistically driven basic science research to randomized controlled trials. While basic science research is slow to impact clinical care, transformational changes in a field occur through basic investigations. On the other hand, clinical research yields incremental changes to clinical care. Basic research intends to change understanding whereas clinical research intends to change practice. However, the best approach is to incorporate both basic and clinical research into a translational program which makes new discoveries and effects positive changes to clinical practice. This review examines current research in FPD, with focus on translational potential, and ponders the future of FPD research. With a goal of improving the care and outcomes in patients with FPD, a strategic collaboration of stakeholders (patients, advocacy groups, physicians, researchers, professional medical associations, legislators, governmental biomedical research agencies, pharmaceutical companies, and medical device companies) is an absolute requirement in order to generate funding needed for FPD translational research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Urology Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Female pelvic medicine
  • Female urology
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Urinary incontinence


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