Almost half of women veterans who used Veterans Affairs health care in the 2010 fiscal year had at least one reproductive health diagnosis, but the diagnoses varied among age categories.
“Understanding the reproductive health care needs of women veterans using VA, through examination of their reproductive health diagnoses, can provide critical information for policy planners,” Jodie G. Katon, PhD, of the Health Services Research and Development at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and colleagues wrote.
Jodie G. Katon
Katon and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional analysis of data from the Women’s Health Evaluation Initiative database to assess the reproductive health diagnoses of women veterans using Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care and how they differed by age and are affected by sociodemographics and clinical characteristics.
At least one reproductive health diagnosis was seen in 43% (n = 127,530) of women veterans using VA. Among women aged 18 to 44 years (n = 16,658), menstrual disorders and endometriosis were the most common diagnoses. Menopausal disorders were most common among women aged 45 to 64 years (n = 20,707) and osteoporosis among women aged 65 years or older (n = 8,365).
Overall, women with reproductive health diagnoses were more likely to have related mental health (46% vs. 37%, P < .001) and medical conditions (75% vs. 63%, P < .001) compared with women without such diagnoses.
“The high prevalence of comorbid medical and mental health conditions among women veterans with reproductive health diagnoses highlights the importance of integrating reproductive health expertise into all areas of VA health care, including primary, mental health and specialty care. Ongoing efforts to expand reproductive health services within VA increase coordination for fee basis care, and incorporation of tele-health technology are expected to continue to enhance reproductive health care for women veterans,” Katon and colleagues wrote. – by Casey Hower
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.