Women's Health Portal

 Deployment Health for Women

Last Updated: November 19, 2018
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A woman’s personal hygiene habits while in the field environment, such as during a deployment, can have a strong impact on her wellbeing. Good health does not just happen; it comes with conscious effort and good habits.

Women's Healthcare in the Deployed Environment

Anytime you prepare for a medical visit, it's important for you to carefully consider what questions you need to ask your provider in advance. This is especially important in the deployed environment, where time is significantly constrained and you have only a few minutes to explain your symptoms and concerns.

It is important for you to continue to receive routine health screenings while you are deployed. See the attached information sheet for a list of important screening tests for women. Talk to your provider to determine which test you need based on your risk factors. Recommended Screening Tests for Women External Link

Promoting Women's Health in Austere Environments 

History has often demonstrated that the course of battle is influenced more by the health of the troops than by strategy or tactics.  Health is largely a personal responsibility.  A woman's personal hygiene habits while in the field environment, such as during a deployment, can have a strong impact on her wellbeing. Good health does not just happen; it comes with conscious effort and good habits.

Promoting Women's Health in Austere Environments External Link (milSuite/ CAC required) - This slide deck meets these objectives:  

  • Describe the field training/deployed environment and related feminine hygiene issues
  • Discuss methods to promote personal hygiene and prevent disease
  • Illustrate how austere environments can affect menstrual symptoms and cycles
  • Discuss treatments available to assist with menstrual symptoms
  • Demonstrate how to use the articles in the Feminine Hygiene Toolkit

Women's Health Readiness

Women's Health Readiness Updates (milSuite/CAC required) (15 DEC 2016) External Link

The Women's Health Service Line (WHSL) created a slide deck highlighting key women's health readiness updates to the following topics:

  • Female-specific deployment information
  • Women's Wellness
  • Reproductive and Sexual Health

Military Health System (MHS): Health Readiness Information External Link The Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for Health Readiness Policy and Oversight is the principal staff assistant and advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) for all medically related Department of Defense policies, programs, and activities. The office is responsible for deployment medicine, force health protection, medical readiness, international health agreements, deployment related health policy, theater information systems, humanitarian and health missions, and national disaster support.

Female Urinary Diversion Device (FUDD)

When deployed, you may need to urinate in unsanitary locations or with male soldiers close by.  Toilet facilities may be primitive during deployment. You may need to urinate outside at the tree line, for example. Portable toilets and restrooms may be dirty. Convoy trips can be long. To avoid improvised explosive devices outside of the vehicle you may need to urinate within the vehicle.

Some women avoid urinating by reducing their fluid intake or holding their bladder too long. This is not a good idea. You need to stay hydrated to avoid heat illness, bladder infections and kidney stones.

The female urinary diversion device (FUDD) allows you to urinate discreetly while standing up or leaning back. You can urinate with minimal undressing - just unbutton your pants. When you use a FUDD, you'll avoid exposure to poisonous plants and insects as well.  

Watch this FUDD YouTube video to learn more.......External Link

To use the FUDD:

  • Stand with your back to the wind or facing the toilet.
  • Pull the extension tube through the spout until it stops
  • With your feet apart, adjust your clothing so that the top of the cup fits snugly against your body and the tube is out front of your pants.
  • Urinate. To avoid a leak, do not tilt the cup forward while using. When finished, use a flick of the wrist to remove remaining droplets, then wipe dry. Slide the tube back into the cup. Rinse, clean and dry when you can. Use the plastic bag to hold the FUDD between uses.
  • You may want to practice a few times in the shower to get the hang of it before you need to use the FUDD in the field.
  • Save your bladder: hydrate and use a FUDD. 

To order, use NSN 4510 014702805: Female Urinary Diversion Device External Link

Deployment Health Assessments

In order to perform at your best, it’s important for service members to be physically and mentally fit.  To improve the overall health fitness of the U.S. military, the Defense Department launched a three-step health assessment for personnel deploying around the world. Taken both before and after deployment, the assessment helps you better understand your physical and psychological health through all deployment phases. It allows you to be proactive in improving and maintaining resilience during the full deployment cycle. The assessment is not just completing a form.  It is also an opportunity to see your health care provider and discuss any concerns you may have as you transition through the deployment.

The article Understanding Deployment Health Assessments External Link (non-government) will help answer questions about the deployment health assessment process, including why it is important and how it can lead you to resources that can help you stay physically and mentally fit. 

What happens at the health assessments?
Pre-Deployment Health Assessment
  • Complete DD Form 2795 External Link
  • Meet with a health care professional to assess ability to deploy
  • Receive immunizations, supply of medicine and medical tags
  • Given to all service members deploying OCONUS for more than 30 days
  • DD Form 2795 needs to be completed and validated within 120 days of deployment
Post-Deployment Health Assessment (PDHA)
  • Complete DD Form 2796 External Link
  • Assesses overall health after returning from a deployment
  • Given in-theater or within 30 days of returning home
Post-Deployment Health Reassessment (PDHRA)
  • Complete DD Form 2900 External Link
  • Required for all redeployed individuals that completed form 2796 (PDHA)
  • Confidential, one-on-one discussion with a health care provider
  • Focuses on psychological health
  • Given 90-180 days after returning to a home station
  • Screens for concerns that have emerged since deployment or that may emerge over time following deployment

Deployment Health Assessment Program Video External Link

Financial Readiness          

Army OneSource: Financial Readiness External Link (non-government) Provides information on the Army's Financial Readiness Program (FRP) and Consumer Advocacy Services available at every installation. 

Military OneSource: Personal Finance External Link (non-government) Achieving financial security might be easier than you think especially with the help of Military OneSource. Learn some personal finance basics like how to pay down debt, manage a checking account, choose good investments and create a family budget. Read up on consumer rights and military savings programs. Discover ways to resolve debt and create a financial plan for every phase of your life. Military OneSource offers free services and resources so you can prepare for a secure future.

Money Smart: A Financial Education Program External Link (non-government) Money Smart is a comprehensive financial education curriculum designed to help low- and moderate-income individuals outside the financial mainstream enhance their financial skills and create positive banking relationships. Money Smart has reached over 3 million consumers since 2001. Research shows that the curriculum can positively influence how consumers manage their finances, and these changes are sustainable in the months after the training.

Deployment-Related Nutrition

Deployment and Field Performance Nutrition (APHC) Field training and combat may be the most physically demanding work you do in the military.  In order to optimize performance, it is critical that your body is properly fueled. 

Women's Health Algorithms for Providers and Medics

Women's Health Algorithms for Providers and Medics External Link (milBook - restricted access) This PowerPoint presentation guides healthcare providers in the diagnosis and treatment of common medical conditions in female Service members such as painful urination, vaginal discharge, sexually transmitted infections, and urinary incontinence.

Preparing for Redeployment

Returning from deployment can be exciting and stressful, as families readjust after extended periods of separation.  There are steps that you can take to make the redeployment a joyful period for you and your loved ones.  

AfterDeployment.org External Link (non-government) Website provides wellness resources for the military community.

Military OneSource: Returning Home From Deployment External Link (non-government) You’re headed home after a deployment. It’s been a long time coming, and you deserve to celebrate. But it’s important to know what other adjustments you might face post-deployment, like how your children will respond to you after a long absence and how you will fit into the household routines.

Deployment and Environmental Health (APHC) The Army Public Health Center provides services and information pertinent to maintaining and improving environmental health on installations and in deployment locations.  

Deployment Support for Family Members

Families bear the brunt of the effects of deployment and their support is essential to the wellbeing and peace of mind of our Service members. The following family support links provide information on available services, programs and entitlements to ensure that family and loved ones are well provided for.

The Coming Home Project External Link (non-government) Coming Home Project is a non-profit organization devoted to providing expert consultation for community-based organizations that address collective and individual trauma. They also serve communities that promote social, economic, racial and environmental justice, helping participants, employees and leaders with custom-designed, culturally sensitive, integrative training that enhances wellbeing, builds self-care skills, counteracts compassion fatigue and burnout, and promotes collaboration, success, and sustainability.

Finding Support Resources in Your Community External Link (non-government) When a service member, veteran or family is ready to reach out for support services for reintegration challenges, it is easiest to start in your own community. Website highlights several resources and services that are available nationally and locally to help you with employment, housing, counseling, education assistance and much more.

Health & Human Services: Supporting Military Families  External Link The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its operating divisions offer a variety of resources and programs specifically designed to support military families.

Psychological Health Center of Excellence (PHCoE) External Link Collaborates across the Defense Department, Department of Veterans Affairs and other agencies to provide leadership and expertise, inform policy and drive improvements in psychological health outcomes. The center maintains five core strategic priorities: support the services and combatant commands; improve care quality; increase access, reduce barriers, and encourage optimal use of psychological health resources; advance the science of psychological health; and foster organizational development.

Sesame Street: Military Family Outreach External Link (non-government)  Nearly 800,000 preschoolers are separated from a parent serving in the U.S. military.  For these children and their families, Sesame Street provides much-needed support and practical education with Talk, Listen, Connect, a multiphase outreach initiative to help kids through deployments, combat-related injuries, and the death of a loved one. Videos, storybooks, and workbooks especially created for this program guide families through these tough transitions by showing how real families — as well as furry monsters — deal with similar circumstances.