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

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Abstract

Background

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.

Methods

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.

Findings

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.

Conclusion

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

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Data Availability

Data was collected through primary survey.

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Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

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.

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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.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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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). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40609-023-00281-y

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