Menstrual disorders and treatment seeking behaviour of adolescents

Veena G. Rahatgaonkar, Anuradha H. Wakankar, Gauri A. Oka, Sonal V. Kamble


Background: Menstrual abnormalities are a major gynaecological problem faced by adolescent girls leading to morbidity that may have an adverse effect on their school attendance. The objective of the study was to determine prevalence of menstrual disorders in girls aged 10-19 years and to study their treatment-seeking behaviour.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study on 592 girls in the age group of 10 to 19 years attending schools in Pune city during January 2016 to December 2016. Permission was sought from school authorities. Girls 10-17 years were included after obtaining parental consent. For 18 and 19 year olds, informed consent was taken from the girls themselves. Demographic information, height, weight and characteristics of menstrual period were noted.

Results: Majority girls (36%) were in age group 12.1-14 years. Most prevalent menstrual disorder was painful menses reported by 70% of girls, followed by heavy menstrual bleeding (46%) and cycle irregularity (22%). All menstrual disorders were most commonly prevalent in the age group of 14.1 to 16 years. Proportion of girls visiting a doctor and taking medications for painful menses was 26.7% and 16.5% respectively, for heavy menstrual bleeding was 25.7% and 16.5% respectively and for cycle irregularity was 33% and 16.5% respectively. No association was found between mother’s education and treatment seeking behaviour for menstrual disorders.

Conclusions: In spite of high prevalence of menstrual disorders, only a minority of the adolescents seek expert advice. This underscores the need for creating awareness among girls, mothers and teachers and developing a screening tool to identify girls who could benefit by further investigation and follow-up.


Menstrual disorders, Treatment seeking behaviour, Adolescents

Full Text:



Blakemore SJ, Burnett S, Dahl RE. The role of puberty in the developing adolescent brain. Hum Brain Mapp. 2010;31(6):926–33.

Esen İ, Oğuz B, Serin HM. Menstrual Characteristics of Pubertal Girls: A Questionnaire-Based Study in Turkey. J Clin Res Pediatr Endocrinol. 2016;8(2):192–6.

Miiro G, Rutakumwa R, Nakiyingi-Miiro J, Nakuya K, Musoke S, Namakula J, et al. Menstrual health and school absenteeism among adolescent girls in Uganda (MENISCUS): a feasibility study. BMC Womens Health. 2018;18(1):4.

Chan S, Yiu K, Yuen P, Sahota D, Chung T. Menstrual problems and health-seeking behaviour in Hong Kong Chinese girls. Hong Kong Med J. 2009;15:18–23.

World Population Monitoring. United Nations. 2012.

Smitha M, Narayana M, Srinivas B, Renuka M. Adolescent menstrual health: Profoundness of the problem and the rationale behind denial of treatment. Natl J Community Med. 2016;7(3):499–504.

Ghafari M, Shamsuddin K, Amiri M. Barriers to utilization of health services: perception of postsecondary school malaysian urban youth. Int J Prev Med. 2014;5(7):805–6.

Kabir H, Saha NC, Wirtz AL, Gazi R. Treatment-seeking for selected reproductive health problems: Behaviours of unmarried female adolescents in two low-performing areas of Bangladesh. Reprod Health. 2014;11(1):1–7.

Chauhan M, Patel H, Solanki H. Reproductive Health Problems and Treatment Seeking Behavior Among Adolescent Girls of Uhtc Field Practice Area, Govt. Medical College. Natl J Community Med. 2016;7(5):355–8.

Deardorff J, Abrams B, Ekwaru JP, Rehkopf DH. Socioeconomic status and age at menarche: an examination of multiple indicators in an ethnically diverse cohort. Ann Epidemiol. 2014;24(10):727–33.

Braithwaite D, Moore DH, Lustig RH, Epel ES, Ong KK, Rehkopf DH, et al. Socioeconomic status in relation to early menarche among black and white girls. Cancer Causes Control. 2009;20(5):713–20.

Pandey M, Pradhan A. Age of attainment of menarche and factors affecting it amongst school girls of Gangtok, Sikkim, India. Int J Contemp Pediatr. 2017;44(66):2187–92.

Al-Sahab B, Ardern CI, Hamadeh MJ, Tamim H. Age at menarche in Canada: results from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children & Youth. BMC Public Health. 2010;10(736):1471–2458.

Ayele E, Berhan Y. Age at menarche among in-school adolescents in Sawla Town, South Ethiopia. Ethiop J Health Sci. 2013;23(3):189–200.

Patil S, Wasnik V, Wadke R. Health Problems Amongst Adolescent Girls In Rural Areas of Ratnagiri District Of Maharashtra India. J Clin diagnostic Res. 2009;3(3):1784–90.

Pathak PK, Tripathi N, Subramanian SV. Secular trends in menarcheal age in India-evidence from the Indian human development survey. PLoS One. 2014;9(11):e111027.

Song Y, Ma J, Wang HJ, Wang Z, Hu P, Zhang B, et al. Trends of Age at Menarche and Association with Body Mass Index in Chinese School-Aged Girls, 1985-2010. J Pediatr. 2014;165(6):1172–7.

Bachloo T, Kumar R, Goyal A, Singh P, Yadav SS, Bhardwaj A, et al. A study on perception and practice of menstruation among school going adolescent girls in district Ambala Haryana, India. 2016;3(4):931–7.

Kumbhar SK, Reddy M, Sujana B, Roja Reddy K, Divya Bhargavi K, Balkrishna C. Prevalence of Dysmenorrhea Among Adolescent Girls (14-19 Yrs) of Kadapa District and Its Impact on Quality of Life : a Cross. Natl J Community Med. 2011;2(2):265–8.

Kumar S, Konjengbam S, Devi HS. Dysmenorrhea among higher secondary schoolgirls of Imphal West district, Manipur: A cross-sectional study. JMS. 2016;30(1):38–43.

Rigon F, De Sanctis V, Bernasconi S, Bianchin L, Bona G, Bozzola M, et al. Menstrual pattern and menstrual disorders among adolescents: an update of the Italian data. Ital J Pediatr. 2012;38:38.

Parker MA, Sneddon AE, Arbon P. The menstrual disorder of teenagers (MDOT) study: Determining typical menstrual patterns and menstrual disturbance in a large population-based study of Australian teenagers. BJOG An Int J Obstet Gynaecol. 2010;117(2):185–92.

Nwankwo TO, Aniebue UU, Aniebue PN. Menstrual Disorders in Adolescent School Girls in Enugu, Nigeria. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2010;23(6):358–63.

Karout N. Prevalence and pattern of menstrual problems and relationship with some factors among Saudi nursing students. J Nurs Educ Pract. 2015;5(12):1–8.

Agarwal A, Venkat A. Questionnaire Study on Menstrual Disorders in Adolescent Girls in Singapore. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2009;22(6):365–71.

Gulzar S, Khan S, Abbas K, Arif S, Husain SS, Sommer J. Prevalence, Perceptions and Effects of Dysmenorrhea in School Going Female Adolescents of Karachi, Pakistan. Int J Innov Res Dev. 2015;4(2):236–40.

Wong WC, Li MK, Chan WYV, Choi YY, Fong CHS, Lam KWK, et al. A cross-sectional study of the beliefs and attitudes towards menstruation of Chinese undergraduate males and females in Hong Kong. J Clin Nurs. 2013;22(23–24):3320–7.

Ranabhat C, Kim C-B, Choi EH, Aryal A, Park MB, Doh YA. Chhaupadi Culture and Reproductive Health of Women in Nepal. Asia Pacific J Public Heal. 2015;27(7):785–95.