Poor management of menstrual hygiene: a leading cause of school absenteeism among adolescent girls in the urban slum of Madhya Pradesh

Surya Bali, Sembagamuthu Sembiah, Kriti Yadav, Jayeeta Burman


Background: Despite the strides made in the field of adolescent and women health, menstrual problems remain a stigma. Unsatisfactory menstrual hygiene practices have a profound influence on the adolescent girl’s health and academic performance. Therefore, the present study aimed to assess the relationship between school absenteeism and poor MHM and its impacts on school girl’s day to day lives.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional study conducted among 384 adolescent girls enrolled in anganwadi centres of the urban slum of Madhya Pradesh from January to June 2018. A pre-designed and pretested questionnaire used to collect the data regarding menstrual hygiene practices and school absenteeism. Data were analyzed using the SPSS software (version 16.0. Chicago, SPSS Inc.).

Results: The study found that around two-thirds (64.3%) and nearly one third (30%) of the participants were using a simple cloth and sanitary pads. About half (50.6%) of the respondents miss their school during the menstruation. Majority of them perceived that menstruation interferes with their school performance. The main reason for missing the schools was fear/ shame of leakage. In multivariable regression lack of sanitary facilities and painful menstruation remained significant predictors of school absenteeism.

Conclusions: There is a dire need to fortify efforts directed towards increasing awareness on menstrual hygiene, to revamp the existing measures for improving menstrual health of the adolescent girls. Focused attention is warranted by policymakers to improve the quality of life of this vulnerable group.


Adolescent girls, Menstrual hygiene, School absenteeism

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