For a study, researchers sought to offer a conceptual framework to help studies into the significant and little-known burdens of noncancerous genitourinary conditions (NCGUCs).

In order to identify the known and unmeasured burdens of NCGUCs that must be measured in order to determine the total burden, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases organized a workshop of different multidisciplinary investigators and health professionals. After the meeting, a smaller number of participants continued to meet to discuss the burden.

The Hidden Burden of Noncancerous Genitourinary Conditions Framework considers effects at various levels of health and social ecology, such as individual (i.e., biological factors, lived experience, behaviors), interpersonal (i.e., romantic partners, family members), organizational/institutional (i.e., schools, workplaces), community (i.e., public restroom infrastructure), societal (i.e., health care and insurance systems, national workforce/economic output), and ecosystem (i.e., the landfill waste) effects. In addition, the approach recognized that NCGUCs could both be a symptom of underlying biological dysfunction and have biological consequences (generation and exacerbation of health conditions, treatment side effects).

NCGUCs imposed a significant, little understood burden on people and society. It was necessary to have a body of evidence to represent the whole burden. A life course perspective, numerous levels of well-being and social ecology, as well as potential connections between NCGUCs and genetics, sex, race, and gender, should all be considered during NCGUC burdens. This strategy would clarify costs in terms of cumulative effects and possible health disparities. Finding the NCGUCs’ hidden burden might help the crucial area of health receive more attention and funding (for new studies and better therapies, for example).