Barriers to Urogynecologic Care for Racial and Ethnic Minority Women: A Qualitative Systematic Review

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Urogynecology (Hagerstown, Md.)








IMPORTANCE: Studies have sought to evaluate factors that have perpetuated disparities in health care, including urogynecologic care. However, there remains a lack of understanding of barriers to care specific to racial/ethnic minority populations. OBJECTIVES: We aimed to report identified barriers to urogynecologic care (eg, care for symptoms/diagnoses of urinary incontinence [UI], accidental bowel leakage [ABL], and pelvic organ prolapse [POP]) for underrepresented racial and ethnic minority (URM) women in the United States. STUDY DESIGN: We conducted a systematic search for studies through 5 electronic bibliographic databases. Inclusion criteria for eligible studies included the following: (1) studies reporting barriers to care for those with urogynecologic symptoms/diagnoses, (2) publication date year 2000 or later. Exclusion criteria included study cohorts with children, exclusively non-U.S. populations, cohorts without URM participants, and studies without qualitative research methodology. Study methodology, characteristics, as well as barriers and facilitators to urogynecologic care were captured using a thematic synthesis approach. RESULTS: There were 360 studies identified. Twelve studies met criteria: 6 had study populations with UI, 3 with POP, 2 on UI and/or POP, and 1 on ABL. There were 7 focus group studies (total 44 groups, n = 330), 4 interview studies (total 160 interviews, n = 160), and 1 had both (10 interviews, 6 groups, n = 39). Most studies reported on patient-associated barriers (n = 10/12) and physician/provider-associated barriers (n = 10/12), whereas only half reported system-associated barriers (n = 6/12). CONCLUSION: Identified barriers to urogynecologic care for URM populations were examined. Findings likely do not fully reflect barriers to urogynecologic care for URM populations. Comprehensive evaluation of social determinants of health and systemic racism within studies is needed to understand the unique barriers present for racially/ethnically diverse populations.


Obstetrics and Gynecology