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Understanding the Menstrual Hygiene Practices Among Women: An Indian Perspective

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Population, Sanitation and Health
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Background: Menstruation is a normal biological process which is experienced by adolescent girls and women. Menstrual hygiene practice for a woman is very important for her good health and also well-being for her family. Menstruation is still considered as a taboo for most of society. Especially in developing countries due to different social and cultural customs and mindsets, adolescent girls do not get the proper knowledge about menstrual hygiene management. The study explores the factors affecting women’s (age 15–24) use of different menstrual hygiene methods.

Methods: The study is based on the data collected from National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), conducted in 2019–20. The survey interviewed 2, 41,180 women from the age group of 15–24 across 28 states and 8 union territories of India. For this study 2, 41,112 women have taken into consideration as they have experienced menstruation cycle. Binary logistic regression analysis has been used to find out the factors associated with the use of menstruation hygiene methods.

Results: Data reveal that about 77% of women aged 15–24 use a different hygiene method during their menstruation cycle. Exposure to mass media, high-wealth status, and residents in urban areas come out as a positive factor that led to the adoption of the menstrual hygiene method. Women with low educational levels, residing in a rural area, and belonging to the SC and ST community are less likely to use hygiene practices during their menstrual cycle. Religion comes out as a significant factor which impacts the use of hygiene methods among adolescent women in India. It has been observed that Muslim women are less likely to use hygiene practices than Hindu women during their menstruation cycle.

Conclusion: Education can play a great role in adolescent women to get knowledge about different menstrual hygiene methods and also overcome the taboo and embarrassment related to the menstrual cycle. Advertising menstrual hygiene methods in mass media and door-to-door promotion of hygiene methods in rural areas may help women to better understand their menstrual cycle and health. Awareness among adolescent girls about menstrual hygiene and also easy access to high-quality sanitary napkin to the women in rural India is much needed to increase the use of menstrual hygiene methods among women.

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Sen, P., Karmakar, S., Sikdar, T., Roy, R. (2023). Understanding the Menstrual Hygiene Practices Among Women: An Indian Perspective. In: Alam, A., Rukhsana, Islam, N., Sarkar, B., Roy, R. (eds) Population, Sanitation and Health. Springer, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-031-40127-5

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