Published: 2021-03-25

Socio-cultural barriers for menstrual hygiene management among adolescent school girls of southern India

Logeswari K., Jeram Parmar, Deodatt M. Suryawanshi


Background: India is home to 20% of the world’s adolescent population, with 1 in 10 children currently experiencing puberty. Menstruation, a physiological process in females is influenced not only by race, nutrition and heredity but also by the socio-cultural milieu. In Indian society, the social and cultural restrictions influence the knowledge, attitudes and the practices of adolescent girls towards menstrual hygiene. The present study was carried out to find out the level of knowledge, attitude and practice and the restrictions they face during the process of menstruation.

Methods: The study was a descriptive cross-sectional study where 489 adolescent school going females of the age group of 13-15 were recruited using simple random sampling from a cluster of schools and interviewed using a semi structured questionnaire for their knowledge, attitudes, practices and the restrictions they face during menstruation. A scoring system was adopted and categorised as poor, average and good.

Results: 423 (88.6%) participants demonstrated average to poor knowledge scores, while 279 (57.1%) participants demonstrated average to poor practice scores. There was a significant difference observed between the educational status of mother (p=0.041) and the knowledge scores of study participants. There was no correlation observed between the monthly per capita income of households and the knowledge (r=0.097) and practice scores (r=0.0034). 375 (76%) study participants faced multiple restrictions during menstruation like not allowed to pray or visit temples (93.6%), total seclusion (74.6%), wash clothes separately (74.6%), sleep on floor (74.6%), restriction on leisure (70.4%), eat out of separate utensils (70.4%), and restriction on consumption of food items (49.8%).

Conclusions: Knowledge and practices regarding menstrual hygiene was low among study participants and was influenced by various prevalent socio-cultural restrictions.



Adolescence health, Barriers, Menstrual hygiene, Menstrual hygiene management, Restrictions, Socio-Cultural

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