Genitourinary infections in Australian servicewomen

Simone D O'Shea*, Rodney R Pope, Katharine Freire, Rob Marc Orr, Naomi Gallagher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Background:
Genitourinary infections, including those associated with the
urinary tract (urinary tract infection [UTI]) and vulvovaginal region, are
common in women, affecting approximately one‐third of biological females. A
growing female military workforce necessitates consideration of their
genitourinary health risks and needs to support and enhance their
occupational health, safety, and performance.

Method:
The pelvic health of active‐duty servicewomen in the Australian
Defense Force (ADF) was explored using an online cross‐sectional survey. For
the purposes of this study, only data related to genitourinary infections were
extracted. The data were descriptively analysed to provide estimates of period
prevalence rates. Risk factors and prevention and management strategies
utilized were identified and described.
Results: Of the 491 servicewomen who provided survey responses, 41% (95%
confidence interval [CI]: 37%–46%) reported experiencing at least one UTI and
32% (95% CI: 28%–36%) reported experiencing regular symptoms of
vulvovaginal irritation during their last period of active‐duty service. Service
arm, length of service, and history of participation in field activities or
deployment were not substantially associated with prevalence estimates.
Medical assessment was the most common diagnostic strategy for UTI and
antibiotics were the most common management strategy.

Conclusion:
Genitourinary infections are common in female ADF personnel
and may impact on occupational health and performance. Therefore,
organization‐wide prevention and management approaches may be an
important strategy for reducing the impact on personnel, their units and
mission objectives, by reducing working days lost, utilization of health services
and minimizing risks in more austere military environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalNeurourology and Urodynamics
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2023

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