The onset of menstruation is one of the most important physiological changes occurring in girls during the adolescent years. Menstruation heralds the onset of physiological maturity in girls. It becomes the part and parcel of their lives until menopause. Apart from personal importance, this phenomenon also has social significance.
Menstrual hygiene is a hygienic practice during menstruation that can prevent women from infection in the reproductive and urinary tract. In India, menstruation is surrounded by myths and misconceptions with a long list of “do’s” and “don’ts” for women. Menstruation and menstrual practices are still clouded by taboos and socio-cultural restrictions resulting in adolescent girls lacking knowledge and remaining ignorant of the scientific facts and hygienic health practices, which sometimes results in adverse health outcomes.
Hygiene-related practices of women during menstruation are of considerable importance, as they may increase vulnerability to Reproductive Tract Infections (RTI’s). Poor menstrual hygiene is one of the major reasons for the high prevalence of RTIs in the country and contributes significantly to female morbidity. Lack of knowledge regarding menstruation and menstrual hygiene leads to poor attitude and practice. There are various issues like awareness, availability, and quality of napkins, regular supply, privacy, water supply, disposal of napkins, reproductive health education, and family support which need simultaneous attention for the promotion of menstruated hygiene.
Frequent episodes of such infections can lead to future consequences like difficulty in conceiving, increased risk of abortions, and preterm delivery. Hence, not maintaining proper menstrual hygiene can affect the entire reproductive career of a woman.