Introduction: Menstruation is a physiological process which starts around 11-16 yrs of age in most girls andcontinues throughout the reproductive life until menopause. During these years females spend one-sixth of their time menstruating and in discomfort. It is of utmost importance that hygienic practices are followed for a healthy and safe life. Various social and cultural taboos and habits have clouded the situation along with restricted facilities creating a disease burden such as genital infections and menstrual problems, including missed days at schools and work. It is the responsibility of the policy makers and also the health care workers to help in bridging the gap of lack of knowledge and availability of resources in creating a female hygiene friendly infrastructure in all the places.
Objectives: The study was conducted to assess the knowledge and awareness about menarche and menstrual cycle in school going girls. Also it was carried to study the prevailing practices of menstrual hygiene among the adolescent girls. The various sociocultural restrictions and taboos under practice in relation to menstruation and were analysed the reasons alongwith their solutions to improve the present situation of female hygiene practices were tabulated.
Materials and Methods: A semi structured, question answer style written survey was conducted among adolescentgirls aged 11-18 yrs from nearby schools of Index Medical College, with help of PG resident doctors and medical interns. The survey was followed by educational and awareness talk on female hygiene practices that need to be followed.
Results: The result of the study were as follows-56.4%% were aware about menstruation before attaining menarche, and 88.20% had attained menarche at the time of study. 68.5% had mother as first informant, 40.3% knew about menstruation only after getting their 1 period. 28.5% felt insecure, 18.4% had anxiety, 30.5% were worried about menstruation. 95.5% perceived menstruation as a natural process, 98.6% used sanitary pads for bleeding, 1.4% used old cloth. 98.6% cleaned private parts during menses of which 75.3% used only water. Only 78.1% had the facility to change pads in school, of which only 58.9% changed pads in school. 90.4% had a daily bath during menses. 38.6% were not allowed to pray. 5% were not allowed to attend school, 8.3% were not allowed to sleep on their regular bed, and 11% were asked not to touch family members. 5% were restricted from playing outside and were not even allowed to go out of their home. 81.3% shared their menstrual health problems with mother.
Conclusion: This study provided an understanding of perception of menstruation amongschool going girls. It also deals with the understanding of the society that still menstruation is not taken as a natural process, but rather as a curse and menstruating girls and women are being put under a lot of restrictions due to such practices. Lack of proper infrastructural facilities are a reason why so many girls drop out and restrict their attendance at school after menarche and much still needs to be done in this field to ensure smooth and healthy transition of adolescent girls into adulthood.
Menses, Girls, School, KAP.