A Study of Menstrual Hygiene Practices and Associated Symptomatic Genitourinary Illness among Adolescent Girls in Rural Puducherry

Hema Priya Subramani, Nandi Partha, Seetharaman Narayanan, Narayan Kavasseri Anantahasubramanian, Lokeshmaran Anandaraj

Abstract


Background: Adolescent population occupies 1/5th of world’s population and in India 20.9% of the population falls in this age group. Social prohibitions and traditional beliefs blocked the access to get the right kind of information to adolescent girls that led to poor hygiene practices. These practices result in harboring of microorganisms that increase susceptibility to genitourinary infections. Hence this study was conducted to study the menstrual hygiene practices among adolescent girls and in rural Puducherry.

Methodology: A community-based descriptive cross sectional study was conducted in rural field practicing area of MGMCRI, Puducherry, from 15th of March 2013 to 31st April 2014 by using semi-structured questionnaire. 528 adolescent girls were included by complete enumeration.

Results: Majority (89.2%) of the adolescent girls was using sanitary pads, fresh and reusable cloths were used by 6.6% and 4.2%, respectively. 65.3% girls changed their soaked absorbent 25 times in a day. Majority (60.8%) of the girls disposed their used absorbent by burying or burning. 67.9% girls were washing genitalia during micturition. 54.4% used soap and water for hand cleaning purpose and 1.4% used ash & mud etc. 35.9% & 32.5% reported abnormal vaginal discharge and itching in the genitalia. 2-4 symptoms and more than 4 symptoms were reported in 39% and 4.6% girls. The association between menstrual hygiene practices with genitourinary illness (symptomatic) was found to be statistically significant.

Conclusions: Even though sanitary pad users were high, unhygienic practices were noticed, so more emphasis is needed to be given on awareness of menstrual hygiene practices among adolescent girls. This study also highlights the lack of sanitary latrine facility in majority of houses that affected the privacy of the girls which resulted in poor menstrual hygiene practices.


Keywords


Adolescent girls, Menstrual hygiene practices, Genitourinary illness, Sanitary pads.

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