Homeless women's gynecological symptoms and use of medical care

J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2001 Aug;12(3):323-41. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2010.0797.


Information is lacking on homeless women's gynecological symptoms and use of medical care for symptoms. This paper documents and explains gynecological symptoms and conditions and use of medical care in a probability sample of 974 reproductive-age (15-44) homeless women. Two-thirds of women reported symptoms during the previous year; 71 percent of those received medical care for their gynecological symptoms. Pregnancy, drug dependence, more episodes of homelessness, and general physical health symptoms were positively associated with a number of gynecological symptoms. Gynecological symptoms, younger age, better perceived health, and insurance coverage were positively associated with medical care; women reporting recent drug use and rape received less care. These findings support the importance of medical care and other treatment and support services for homeless women, including expanded care during pregnancy and substance abuse treatment. Health insurance coverage and an interruption in the cycle of homelessness also appear vital to women's health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • California / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Genital Diseases, Female / epidemiology*
  • Genital Diseases, Female / physiopathology
  • Genital Diseases, Female / therapy
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Services Research
  • Homeless Persons / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Regression Analysis
  • Urban Population
  • Women's Health Services / statistics & numerical data*