Menstrual characteristics in some adolescent girls in Accra, Ghana
Background: Menstruation has a variable pattern within a few years of menarche which may not be well understood by many adolescent girls. Providing accurate information on menstruation is necessary to
reduce anxiety, menstrual morbidity and improve reproductive health of these adolescents.
Objective: To determine the age at menarche, duration of menstruation, length of menstrual cycle, regularity of menstrual cycle, prevalence of dysmenorrhoea and sources of information on menstruation.
Setting: ST Mary’s Senior Secondary School, Accra
Methodology: Cross-sectional descriptive study using self-administered questionnaire
Results: Four hundred and fifty six girls whose ages ranged from 14-19years with mean and median ages of 16 ± 0.93years and 16years respectively were surveyed. Their ages at menarche ranged from 9years
to 16years and the mean age at menarche was 12.5 ±1.28years. Their menstrual cycle lengths ranged from 21-35days with mean menstrual cycle length of 27.9± 0.9days; the mode and median were both 28days. The
mean duration of menstrual flow was 4.9days with mode and median of 5days. Seventy one percent (n=449) had menses lasting 3-5days while 27.2% had menses lasting over 5 days. Some 24 %(n=409) had
irregular menses six months after their menarche and 59.6%(n=453) were experiencing menses with clots. The prevalence of dysmenorrhoea was 74.4% (n=453). Some 80.2 %(n=378) of the girls got counselling and
education on care for their menses from their parents.
Conclusion: The age at menarche and other menstrual characteristics observed in this study are similar to adolescent menstrual characteristics described by studies in other populations in the world.