Are menstrual knowledge outcome scores similar among rural and urban girls?
Background: Adolescent girls constitute a vulnerable group particularly in India where menstruation is still regarded as something dirty and messy. The cultural and social influences appear to be hurdle for advancement of knowledge of the subject. This results in adverse health outcomes in these adolescent girls. Awareness about menstruation and hygienic practices followed during menstruation are of immense importance as it has a health impact in terms of increased vulnerability to reproductive tract infection.
Aim: a) To assess and compare the knowledge regarding menstruation in rural and urban adolescent girls. b) To associate the findings with the selected socio-demographic variables.
Subjects and methods: A community based, cross sectional study was undertaken among 715 adolescent schools going girls in the field practice area of the RHTC and UHTC of Department of Community Medicine, District Bareilly. A pre-designed, pretested structured questionnaire was used in the study regarding knowledge and perception of the school going girls regarding menstruation.
Results: Majority of the girls had first heard of menstruation and acquired knowledge related to it before attaining menarche (72.45%). The major source of information was from their mothers and sisters (60.6%). Maximum number of girls was not aware of the source of bleeding (53.7%). Statistically significant difference with knowledge scores was seen in girls of higher standards, maternal literacy and father’s occupation.
Conclusion: Several factors are known to influence menstrual behaviour, the most significant being maternal literacy and father’s occupation. Imparting knowledge about menstruation and safe practices during menstruation is necessary to mitigate the suffering of adolescent girls. Therefore promoting positive attitudes towards management of menstruation and related problems among the adolescent girls is the need of the hour.
Keywords: Menstruation, Knowledge, Perception