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TitleCultural aspects of menstruation and menstrual hygiene in adolescents
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsFarage, MA, Miller, KW, Davis, A
PaginationP. 127-139
Date Published2011-03-01
Keywordshygiene, menstruation, personal hygiene, social aspects, women

The topic of genital hygiene practices in adolescent girls is under-represented in the literature, despite the fact that poor genital hygiene has a significant potential to negatively impact adolescent health. Moreover, douching (a hygiene practice relatively common among adolescent girls) is linked to numerous serious gynecological problems. Menstruation brings with it a significant hygiene challenge, but in many cultures it is also an important social milestone, surrounded by many cultural practices that profoundly alter a girl’s life. The ability to practically manage menstruation may also impact a girl’s life, depending on the availability of appropriate absorbent products and access to private sanitation facilities. Despite the fact that menstruation is shared by more than half the world’s population, it is a topic that virtually all cultures are uncomfortable discussing at some level, and most girls are ill-informed with regard to menstruation and are unprepared for menarche. Better preparation for menstruation, however, has been consistently associated with a better outlook on menstruation and a better competence in managing menstrual hygiene. Girls regard parents, other adult females, schools, community health organizations and health professionals as appropriate sources of information, which suggests numerous ways in which girls could be more effectively prepared about menarche and menstrual hygiene. [authors abstract]

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