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Background: Menstruation is a natural phenomenon among matured females who experience shedding of blood for 1-7 days every month from the age of maturity until menopause. Menstrual hygiene and management is an issue that is insufficiently acknowledged and has not received adequate attention.
Aims and Objectives: This study seeks to assess hygienic behavior of unmarried females aged 15 to 22 years and factors affecting their behaviors.
Study Design: A cross-sectional study was conducted during 2009-10 on 350 students. They were recruited from educational institutions from a major city in South India. Demographic and menstrual history and hygiene questionnaires were used for obtaining required information. Statistical Packages for the Social Sciences (SPSS) for Windows version 16 was used. Descriptive statistics, Chi-sq and Fisher’s exact tests were used for analysis.
Results: Mean age of menarche was 13.4±1.2 years; disposable pads were used by two-thirds of the selected girls (68.9%) regardless of age while 45.1% reported to use both disposable and non disposable materials. Frequency of changing pads was 2-3 times a day by 78.3% girls. Socioeconomic Status (SES) of the selected girls and their age influenced choice of napkin/pads and other practices such as storage place of napkins; change during night and during school or college hours and personal hygiene. Older girls had better hygienic practices than the younger ones. Seventy six percent of the participants desired for more information regarding menstruation and hygienic practices.
Conclusion: A variety of factors are known to affect menstrual behaviors most influential being age and SES. Awareness regarding the need for information about healthy menstrual practices is on rise among young women. It is probable that a mechanism be introduced to provide knowledge about menstrual health and self maintenance among women.
Menarche age, Menstruation, Menstrual absorbents, Menstrual hygiene, Practices, Girls, South India