Perception and Misconceptions about Menstruation in Lagos, South-West, Nigeria
While menstruation may be perceived as a sign of femininity, fertility, youth, or purification of the body, it could also be linked with vulnerability and pollution; sometimes with attitudes of disgust and shame. These perceptions vary, and are affected by factors, which include but not limited to; culture, religion and societal beliefs. In this study we assessed for women's perception of menstruation, menstrual characteristics and misconceptions. It was a prospective cross-sectional household survey with multi-staged cluster sampling design in which 230 randomly selected; consenting women in September and October 2018 were assessed about their menstrual pattern and perception using a structured questionnaire. The mean age of the study population was 32.87 ± 10.8years. The mean age at menarche of the respondents was 14.34 ± 2.05 years. About 37% of the women reported a regular 28-day menstrual cycle length. Almost 40% of the women reported they enjoyed their period in every way, 7.3% felt embarrassment when they had to talk about menstruation or purchase menstrual products while 22.5%observe various restrictions during menstruation for religious reasons. The desire to completely stop menstrual flow was highest among women aged 35–44 years (11.1%) and divorced or widowed women (18.2%) but least desired by single women (6.8%). Therefore a significant proportion of women perceived menstruation to be a normal physiologic process and an index of fertility but still exhibit socio-cultural and religious based restrictions during menstruation.
Key Words: Menstruation Perceptions, Misconceptions