Distress and Pain During Pelvic Examinations Effect of Sexual Violence
ABSTRACT To estimate the range and severity of distress and pain during pelvic examinations among female veterans with and without histories of sexual violence, and to examine whether posttraumatic stress disorder explains additional variance in examination-related distress and pain above that accounted for by exposure to sexual violence.
We employed a cross-sectional cohort design in which 67 selected female veterans completed self-administered questionnaires to assess history of sexual violence and experiences of distress and pain associated with the pelvic examination. A subsample of 49 completed an assessment for posttraumatic stress disorder approximately 2 weeks later.
Distress associated with the pelvic examination was highest for women with prior sexual violence and posttraumatic stress disorder (median 5.49), next highest for women with sexual violence only (median 2.44), and lowest for women with neither (median 0), P=.015. Higher ratings of pain were also found among women with sexual violence (median 2.5) compared with those without (median 0), P=.04. However, posttraumatic stress disorder was not linked with increased pain from speculum insertion beyond that accounted for by sexual violence; limited power may have precluded detection of this effect.
Distress and pain during pelvic examinations may indicate a history of previous sexual violence, particularly in those with posttraumatic stress disorder. Extra sensitivity to the special needs of this population is warranted and may contribute positively to the quality of patients' experiences.
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ABSTRACT: An increasing number of young women veterans are returning from war and military service and are seeking reproductive health care from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Many of these women seek maternity benefits from the VHA, and yet little is known regarding the number of women veterans utilizing VHA maternity benefits nor the characteristics of pregnant veterans using these benefits. In May 2010, VHA maternity benefits were expanded to include 7 days of infant care, which may serve to entice more women to use VHA maternity benefits. Understanding the changing trends in women veterans seeking maternity benefits will help the VHA to improve the quality of reproductive care over time. The goal of this study was to examine the trends in delivery claims among women veterans receiving VHA maternity benefits over a 5-year period and the characteristics of pregnant veterans utilizing VHA benefits. We undertook a retrospective, national cohort study of pregnant veterans enrolled in VHA care with inpatient deliveries between fiscal years (FY) 2008 and 2012. We included pregnant veterans using VHA maternity benefits for delivery. Measures included annualized numbers and rates of inpatient deliveries and delivery-related costs, as well as cesarean section rates as a quality indicator. During the 5-year study period, there was a significant increase in the number of deliveries to women veterans using VHA maternity benefits. The overall delivery rate increased by 44% over the study period from 12.4 to 17.8 deliveries per 1,000 women veterans. A majority of women using VHA maternity benefits were age 30 or older and had a service-connected disability. From FY 2008 to 2012, the VHA paid more than $46 million in delivery claims to community providers for deliveries to women veterans ($4,993/veteran). Over a 5-year period, the volume of women veterans using VHA maternity benefits increased by 44%. Given this sizeable increase, the VHA must increase its capacity to care for pregnant veterans and ensure care coordination systems are in place to address the needs of pregnant veterans with service-connected disabilities.Women s Health Issues 01/2014; 24(1):e37-e42. DOI:10.1016/j.whi.2013.10.002 · 1.61 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Childhood sexual abuse survivors frequently report feeling retraumatized during routine healthcare encounters. The goal of this study was to develop a model to aid in understanding difficulties abuse survivors face when accessing healthcare. Meta-synthesis was used to combine data from 15 qualitative studies. The resultant Healthcare Retraumatization Model postulates that retraumatization is a cyclical process with four interrelated subprocesses: hypersensitivity to threats to safety, exposure to triggers, post-traumatic stress reactions, and avoidant coping. Hypersensitivity can cause abuse survivors to feel threatened in situations which require trust and evoke vulnerability, powerlessness, or loss of control. Triggers are situations that cause abuse survivors to feel threatened and elicit stress reactions. Survivors typically cope by employing avoidant coping strategies originally developed during childhood to survive their abuse. Without intervention, retraumatization can result in unhealthy outcomes due to the negative effects of stress on survivors' mental and physical health along with interruptions in healthcare.
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ABSTRACT: Sexual violence and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been linked to increased reports of distress and pain during the pelvic examination. Efforts to more fully characterize these reactions and identify core factors (i.e., beliefs about the examination) that may influence these reactions are warranted. This descriptive, cross-sectional study examines the relationship between sexual violence, PTSD, and women's negative reactions to the pelvic examination. Additional analyses highlight how maladaptive beliefs about the safety, necessity, and utility of the pelvic examination may contribute to these reactions. Materials and A total of 165 eligible women veterans were identified via medical record review and mailed a survey that assessed: (1) background information; (2) history of sexual violence; (3) current symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder; (4) fear, embarrassment, distress, and pain during the pelvic examination; and (5) core beliefs about the examination. Ninety women (55% response rate) completed the survey. Women with both sexual violence and PTSD reported the highest levels of examination related fear: chi(2) = 18.8, p < .001; embarrassment: chi(2) = 21.2, p < .001; and distress: chi(2) = 18.2, p < .001. Beliefs that the examination was unnecessary or unsafe or not useful were more commonly reported in this group and were associated with higher levels of examination-related fear and embarrassment. Women with sexual violence and PTSD find the pelvic examination distressing, embarrassing, and frightening. Efforts to develop interventions to help reduce distress during the examination are warranted.Journal of Women's Health 07/2010; 19(7):1271-80. DOI:10.1089/jwh.2009.1673 · 1.90 Impact Factor