Nurse-Midwifery M.S.

Number of Pages


Year Approved


First Advisor

Vingers , Julie Ann

Second Reader

Katrina Wu


Introduction: The prevalence of pelvic floor disorders (PFD) continues to rise in conjunction with life expectancy. Despite professional recommendations, pelvic floor physical therapy (PFPT) remains an underutilized resource for PFD. Research Aim: To identify barriers and facilitators to improve seeking and complying with pelvic floor physical therapy as a treatment for pelvic floor disorders. Methods: This literature review utilized Whittemore and Kanfl’s (2005) search methodology as a guiding framework. A systematic search of peer-reviewed articles from 2017-2022 was conducted using CINAHL, PubMed, Scopus, and Google Scholar. The initial search yielded 5,333 results, with 103 duplicates removed, leaving 5,230 articles. Eighty-four articles were reviewed for full text review, of which 11 met inclusion criteria. A strategic hand search yielded an additional seven articles through citation searching and relevant journals, producing a total of 18 articles in this review. Relevant study demographics and findings were extracted and organized according to the designated levels of the socio-ecological model. Results: In total, 2,602 women described the themes of time constraints, self-discipline, lack of information, societal/cultural influences, insurance status, and co-existing medical conditions as significant barriers to seeking or complying to prescribed PFPT. On the other hand, fear of surgery, more severe PFD symptoms, influence of peers and family members, eHealth or apps, increased knowledge, and driving shorter distances all contributed to women seeking or complying to PFPT. Discussion: This review found that the barriers and facilitators to seeking and/or complying to PFPT focused mainly on the individual and interpersonal levels. There is a great demand for additional research regarding the impact at the community, organizational, and especially the public policy level. Identifying and evaluating specific cultural and political implications in the United States will be key to eliminating the barriers to seeking and complying with PFPT and thus creating facilitators to care.

Degree Name

M.S. Nurse-Midwifery

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis