Menstrual health management: Knowledge and practices among adolescent girls
Objectives: To assess the knowledge and attitude of adolescent girls regarding menstruation and menstrual hygiene.
Material and Methods: After approval by the ethical committee , the study was conducted on 340 adolescent girls aged 12-19 years, belonging to an urban slum area of Delhi. This was a questionnaire based cross-sectional study conducted over a period of 9 months in a tertiary hospital. Confidentiality of the subjects was ensured.
Results: Out of 340 girls 69 % were between 16-19 years. Source of information about menstruation in majority of the cases was mother (60%). Only 48% girls knew menstruation before menarche and 24% girls knew uterus as the organ for menstruation. 71 % girls used sterile sanitary napkins as absorbent. Satisfactory changing of pads (>2pads/day) was done by 68 % and 77% girls cleaned the genitalia satisfactorily (>2 times/day). 41% girls were aware of the fact that unhygienic use of pad could be a source of genital infection and 8% girls had associated vaginal discharge. Social restrictions during menses in the form of religious activities, drop out from school, avoiding certain foods etc were practiced in many families.
Conclusion: Although the menstrual practices appear to be satisfactory in major percentage of girls but knowledge regarding menstrual hygiene is worrisome, as maximum girls are unaware of menarche and physiology of menstruation. Inclusion of such information in the school curriculum and wider coverage in mass media will help to bridge this gap.
Keywords: Adolescence; hygiene; menstruation health
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