AbstractIntroductionAdolescence is a critical period of life marked by biological, social and psychological changes for an individual. Objective The objective of the study was to assess the knowledge and practices of adolescent girls pertaining to menstruation in an urban slum.MethodsA cross-sectional descriptive study of three months duration (January 2011 to March 2011) was conducted in an urban slum of Mumbai. All adolescent girls from 10-19 years of age, who had attained menarche, attending general out-patient department and STI clinic, were included. The total sample size of the study was 241. After taking the informed consent of the study respondents, participants were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. The questionnaire comprised of eliciting information pertaining to the socio-demographic profile and reproductive health i.e. hygiene during menstrual periods, awareness about HIV/AIDS of the participants. Special care was taken to maintain privacy and confidentiality. Data entry and statistical analysis were done using SPSS version 17. Frequency distributions were calculated for all the variables and chi-square test was used to study the association between socio-demographic parameters and knowledge and practices about menstruation.ResultsIt was observed that 79(32.8%) subjects had unsatisfactory menstrual hygienic practices. Even though 66% of adolescent girls were aware about the different modes of transmission of HIV, only 19% knew about safe sexual practices. Education status and late adolescent age group (15-19 years) had a statistically significantly association with adolescent girls knowledge about menstruation. Good/fair knowledge and education status was found to be significantly associated with good practices during menstruation.ConclusionsStudy findings have revealed that education status of the adolescent girls was the most important determinant for having good menstrual knowledge. Also significant association was observed between education level and healthy menstrual practices. Thus steps should be taken to improve the literacy status of the adolescent girls for bringing about further improvements in the menstrual hygiene related knowledge and practices.
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