Skip to main content
Log in

Knowledge and Practices of Menstrual Hygiene of the Adolescent Girls of Slums in Siliguri City, India: A Cross-Sectional Study

  • Published:
Global Social Welfare Aims and scope Submit manuscript



Girls in their adolescence confront various obstacles regarding menstruation and its effective management. Because of the lack of space and sanitary conditions, adolescent girls living in slums are unable to menstruate and communicate their issues. These circumstances are worsened by societal beliefs, stigmas around menstruation, and discriminatory social standards. Owing to growing concerns, the menstrual hygiene practices and awareness of adolescent girls in the slums of Siliguri city are being evaluated.


A questionnaire-based cross-sectional study was carried out. Five hundred fifty slum-dwelling adolescent girls between the ages of 10 and 19 years were surveyed using multistage random sampling. Bivariate and multivariate logistic analyses were conducted in order to identify the variables responsible for poor menstrual hygiene practices. In the multivariable model, factors with P values of less than 0.25 in the bivariate analysis were included for additional examination. In the final model, a P value less than 0.05 was used as the basis for identifying characteristics that, with 95% confidence, had a statistically significant link with poor menstrual hygiene practices.


77.09% of adolescent girls in the slums of Siliguri city reported having dysmenorrhoea, and 58.55% of girls had irregular menstrual cycles, while 68.73% of them reported a general lack of knowledge regarding sources of menstrual bleeding and 51.09% and 50.18% forbidden from touching others and going into kitchens, respectively, while menstruating. 34.73% of adolescent girls avoided using sanitary pads, and 25.64% used handmade absorbents, while 39.64% used commercially manufactured sanitary pads. 64.91% used water and soap to wash their external genitalia. Only 37.64% of girls disposed their used pads in the dustbin. In general, 61.45% of females were found to maintain poor menstruation hygiene with 95% CL.


The result of the present study highlights that adolescent girls’ menstrual hygiene behaviours and knowledge about menstruation are positively associated.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1

Similar content being viewed by others

Data Availability

Data was collected through primary survey.


  • Balla, C. P., & Nallapu, S. S. R. (2018). Knowledge, perceptions and practices of menstrual hygiene among degree college students in Guntur city of Andhra Pradesh, India. International Journal of Reproduction, Contraception, Obstetrics and Gynecology, 7(10), 4109–4115.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bhattacharyya, M., Sen, P., Hazra, S., Sinha, R. N., & Sahoo, S. (2015). A study of menstrual hygiene among adolescent school girls in a slum area of Kolkata. National Journal of Community Medicine, 6(03), 345–348.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bhattacherjee, S., Ray, K., Biswas, R., & Chakraborty, M. (2013). Menstruation: Experiences of adolescent slum dwelling girls of Siliguri City, West Bengal, India. Journal of Basic and Clinical Reproductive Sciences, 2, 85–91.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Census of India. (2011). Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India.

  • Chakravarthy, V., Rajagopal, S., & Joshi, B. (2019). Does menstrual hygiene management in urban slums need a different lens? Challenges faced by women and girls in Jaipur and Delhi. Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 26(1&2), 138–159.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Choudhary, N., & Gupta, M. K. (2019). A comparative study of perception and practices regarding menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls in urban and rural areas of Jodhpur district, Rajasthan. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 8(3), 875–880.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dasgupta, A., Roy, K., Bandyopadhyay, L., & Paul, B. (2019). Quantification of poor menstrual hygiene among women of reproductive age group in a slum of Kolkata. International Journal of Community Medicine and Public Health, 6, 2017–2022.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Deshpande, T. N., Patil, S. S., Gharai, S. B., Patil, S. R., & Durgawale, P. M. (2018). Menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls – A study from urban slum area. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 7, 1439–1445.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Garg, S., Sharma, N., & Sahay, R. (2001). Socio-cultural aspects of menstruation in an urban slum in Delhi, India. Reproductive Health Matters, 9(17), 16–25.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Goddard, S. J. & Sommer, M. (2020) Menstrual health and hygiene management and WASH in urban slums: Gaps in the evidence and recommendations. wH2O: The Journal of Gender and Water, 7(1).

  • Hennegan, J., Zimmerman, L., Shannon, A. K., Exum, N. G., OlaOlorun, F., Omoluabi, E., & Schwab, K. J. (2018). The relationship between household sanitation and women’s experience of menstrual hygiene: Findings from a cross-sectional survey in Kaduna State, Nigeria. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(5), 905.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Parker, H., & A., A. Smith, J., Verdemato, T., Cooke, J., Webster, J., & C. Carter, R. (2014). Menstrual management: A neglected aspect of hygiene interventions. Disaster Prevention and Management, 23(4), 437–454.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jitpure, S. (2016). Assessment of menstrual hygiene, menstrual practices and menstrual problems among adolescent girls living in urban slums of Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh). IOSR Journal of Dental and Medical Sciences, 15(10), 16–20.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Karki, S., Rajbhandari, A. K., Dahal, M., Shahi, P., & Sharma, S. (2018). Knowledge and practice on menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls of selected slums in Kathmandu valley. Journal of Patan Academy of Health Sciences, 5(2), 114–122.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mohite, R. V., & Mohite, V. R. (2016). Menstrual hygiene practices among slum adolescent girls. International Journal Of Community Medicine And Public Health, 3(7), 1729–34.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Muralidharan, A. (2019). Constrained choices? Menstrual health and hygiene needs among adolescents in Mumbai slums. Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 26(1&2), 12–39.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nair, P., Biswas, N., Sahana, S., Shivakumar, G. C., Choudhary, P., & Thomas, J. (2022). Awareness and attitude of young girls in urban slums of Bhopal to menstruation–A cross sectional study. Journal of Positive School Psychology, 2051–205.

  • Pal, J., Ahmad, S., & Siva, A. (2017). Impact of health education regarding menstrual hygiene on genitourinary tract morbidities: An intervention study among adolescent girl students in an urban slum. International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 5(11), 4937–4941.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sahiledengle, B., Atlaw, D., Kumie, A., Tekalegn, Y., Woldeyohannes, D., & Agho, K. E. (2022). Menstrual hygiene practice among adolescent girls in Ethiopia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PloS One17(1), e0262295.

  • Santra, S. (2017). Assessment of knowledge regarding menstruation and practices related to maintenance of menstrual hygiene among the women of reproductive age group in a slum of Kolkata, West Bengal, India. International Journal Of Community Medicine And Public Health, 4(3), 708–712.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Samanta, A., Thakur, J., & Goswami, M. (2019). Menstrual characteristics and its association with socio-demographic factors and nutritional status: A study among the urban slum adolescent girls of West Bengal, India. Anthropological Review, 82(2), 105–124.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schmitt, M. L., Clatworthy, D., Ratnayake, R., Klaesener-Metzner, N., Roesch, E., Wheeler, E., & Sommer, M. (2017). Understanding the menstrual hygiene management challenges facing displaced girls and women: Findings from qualitative assessments in Myanmar and Lebanon. Conflict and Health, 11(1), 1–11.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schmitt, M. L., Wood, O. R., Clatworthy, D., Rashid, S. F., & Sommer, M. (2021). Innovative strategies for providing menstruation-supportive water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities: Learning from refugee camps in Cox’s bazar, Bangladesh. Conflict and Health, 15(1), 1–12.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shah, S. P., Nair, R., Shah, P. P., Modi, D. K., Desai, S. A., & Desai, L. (2013). Improving quality of life with new menstrual hygiene practices among adolescent tribal girls in rural Gujarat, India. Reproductive Health Matters, 21(41), 205–213.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sonowal, P., Talukdar, K., & Saikia, H. (2021). Sociodemographic factors and their association with menstrual hygiene practices among adolescent girls in urban slums of Dibrugarh town, Assam. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 10(12), 4446.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Srinivasan, D., Agrawal, T., Attokaran, T., Fathima, F. N., & Johnson, A. R. (2019). Awareness, perceptions and practices regarding menstruation and menstrual hygiene among students of a college in Bengaluru Urban district, South India: A cross sectional study. International Journal of Community Medicine and Public Health, 6(3), 1126–1132.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vishwakarma, D., Puri, P., & Sharma, S. K. (2021). Interlinking menstrual hygiene with women’s empowerment and reproductive tract infections: Evidence from India. Clinical Epidemiology and Global Health10, 100668.

  • Yalew, M., Adane, B., Arefaynie, M., Kefale, B., Damtie, Y., Mitiku, K., & Dewau, R. (2021). Menstrual hygiene practice among female adolescents and its association with knowledge in Ethiopia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PloS One16(8), e0254092.

  • Yaliwal, R. G., Biradar, A. M., Kori, S. S., Mudanur, S. R., Pujeri, S. U., & Shannawaz, M. (2020). Menstrual morbidities, menstrual hygiene, cultural practices during menstruation, and wash practices at schools in adolescent girls of North Karnataka. A cross-sectional prospective study. Obstetrics and Gynecology International.

    Book  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



Author 1, Debarati Chowdhury, surveyed and collected the primary data from the study area, while Debarati Chowdhury and Indrajit Roy Chowdhury contributed equally to the writing of the research paper.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Debarati Chowdhury.

Ethics declarations

Ethics Approval

Menstruation hygiene and practices are a sensitive issue among slum dwellers, and it is already well-known that it is associated with social stigma and superstitious beliefs. Menstrual-related issues are frequently avoided by females, especially teenage girls; therefore, privacy of the interviewees was maintained throughout the entire study. Informed verbal permission was drawn from the willing participants prior to the data gathering procedure. The survey’s purpose, voluntary participation, and flexibility to leave the interview at any time were all mentioned during the verbal consent procedure. All the respondents were preinformed that the gathered data will be intended for the study and for their benefits too.

Consent to Participate

Informed verbal permission was drawn from the willing participants prior to the data gathering procedure. The survey’s purpose, voluntary participation, and flexibility to leave the interview at any time were all mentioned during the verbal consent procedure.

Consent for Publication

The purpose of the data collected was explained to all respondents in advance, and their consent was obtained for the study to be published in a journal.

Competing Interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Springer Nature or its licensor (e.g. a society or other partner) holds exclusive rights to this article under a publishing agreement with the author(s) or other rightsholder(s); author self-archiving of the accepted manuscript version of this article is solely governed by the terms of such publishing agreement and applicable law.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Chowdhury, D., Chowdhury, I.R. Knowledge and Practices of Menstrual Hygiene of the Adolescent Girls of Slums in Siliguri City, India: A Cross-Sectional Study. Glob Soc Welf 10, 167–179 (2023).

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: