Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

Veterans Corner

October 21, 2012

Army addressing women’s health needs through urinary device

By Jim Vines | jim.helpingveterans@gmail.com

It’s happened untold times to female troops over the past decade in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s not just uncomfortable, its a health hazard. Suppressing urination, limiting fluids to avoid having to go and primitive bathroom facilities have all contributed to a high rate of urinary tract infections suffered by deployed women.

Nearly half of 850 women surveyed in 2000 said they had symptoms of UTI, or vaginitis, while deployed. Many of them declined to seek medical treatment, risking complications like kidney disease and pelvic infections. Although troubling, the results are not surprising, at least among military experts in women’s health. Prevalent genitourinary problems among deployed women and their difficulties in getting treatment has been documented in a report before.

The Women’s Health Task Force, formed last year, has recommended changes and initiatives based on the report. Some of those recommendations are about to be implemented. Devices that allow women to urinate discreetly will be made widely available before or while they’re deployed. Self diagnosis kits to let women test themselves for urinary and vaginal infections are planned by next year.

The kits are designed to address the fact that significant numbers of women won’t seek medical attention for genitourinary issues while deployed.

Female troops lack confidence in their providers, who are usually male medics. They have doubts about confidentiality feel awkward seeing someone they know, prefer a female provider and say clinics in the field lack privacy. The kits should be available in downrange pharmacies by the end of 2013.

The kits now in development will include a thermometer, a urine collection cup and a decision-making algorithum to determine the type of vaginitis.

A popular brand, the Freshette, is sold by Amazon and REI for about $25, mostly to campers and hikers. It’s a lightweight, palm-sized, reusable device that consists of a cup and flexible tube. It allows women to urinate standing up without disrobing to avoid hazards like unsanitary restrooms, uneven terrain, poison oak and ivy and rough weather.

Military women familiar with the Freshette swear by it. The devices are already in the Army supply system. Some savvy commanders have ordered the devices for all their female soldiers.

The effort to address female soldiers’ health needs comes after about 275,000 women have deployed over the last decade, and as new occupational specialties and positions open to women and put more of them on the front lines. It comes as the Army is starting to give women better fitting body armor and combat uniforms as women rise through the chain of command.

Happy belated birthday to the U.S. Navy, born Oct. 13, 1775.

Speak to you again next week.

Jim Vines is commander of AmVets Post 133 in Mineral Wells.

1
Text Only
Veterans Corner
Featured Ads
Mineral Wells Index


Click on a photo to view our SmugMug page

Front page
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Must Read