Female Soldiers' Gynecologic Healthcare in Operation Iraqi Freedom: A Survey of Camps With Echelon Three Facilities

Nielsen, Peter E.; Murphy, Christopher S.; Schulz, Jodi; Deering, Shad H.; Truong, Vu; McCartin, Tamarin; Clemons, Jeffrey L.
November 2009
Military Medicine;Nov2009, Vol. 174 Issue 11, p1172
Academic Journal
Objective: To describe female soldiers' predeployment gynecologic healthcare screening, common symptoms, and availability of gynecologic care during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Methods: A questionnaire distributed to U.S. military females presenting to outpatient facilities in level 3 echelon of care between August 2005 and March 2006. Results: Three-hundred ninety seven of 401 surveys (99%) were returned. Ten percent of deployed females (40) had no cervical cytology screening 1 year before deployment and 27% of the 399 required additional treatments for abnormal cervical cytology during deployment. Thirty-five percent reported a gynecologic problem and 44% received care at their base. Irregular bleeding was the most common gynecologic problem. Forty-four percent of women used some form of hormonal contraception; however, 43% changed methods because of unavailability. One-third of soldiers received pre-deployment menses regulation counseling, with 48% of those using continuous oral contraceptive pills for cycle control. Conclusion: Gaps remain in predeployment gynecologic screening and counseling. These critical predeployment medical evaluations must remain a priority for all female soldiers to ensure unit readiness.


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