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Menstruation related myths in India: Strategies for combating it



Menstruation is a phenomenon unique to girls. However, it has always been surrounded by taboos and myths that exclude women from many aspects of socio-cultural life. In India, the topic has been a taboo until date. Such taboos about menstruation present in many societies impact on girls' and women's emotional state, mentality and lifestyle and most importantly, health. The challenge, of addressing the socio-cultural taboos and beliefs in menstruation, is further compounded by the low girls' knowledge levels and understandings of puberty, menstruation, and reproductive health. Thus, there is the need to follow a strategic approach in combating these issues. The current paper aims to discuss menstruation related myths prevalent in India, their impact on women's life, relevance of addressing these issues in primary care and a brief description about various strategies to combat them.
Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care 184 ApriI 2015 : Volume 4 : Issue 2
Menstruation is the natural part of the reproductive cycle in
which blood from the uterus exits through the vagina.[1] It is a
of 11 and 14 years and is one of the indicators of the onset
of puberty among them. Despite being a phenomenon unique
to girls, this has always been surrounded by secrecy and myths
in many societies. Taboos surrounding menstruation exclude
women and girls from many aspects of social and cultural life.
Some of these are helpful, but others have potentially harmful
Myths Related to Menstruation in India
In India even mere mention of the topic has been a taboo in
appear to be a hurdle for advancement of knowledge on the
subject.[3] Culturally in many parts of India, menstruation is
still considered to be dirty and impure. The origin of this myth
dates back to the Vedic times and is often been linked to Indra’s
slaying of Vritras. For, it has been declared in the Veda that
guilt, of killing a brahmana‑murder, appears every month as
menstrualowaswomenhadtakenuponthemselvesapartof 
Indra’s guilt.[4] Further, in the Hindu faith, women are prohibited
from participating in normal life while menstruating. She must
daytodaychoresof herlife.However,scienticallyitisknown
that the actual cause of menstruation is ovulation followed by
missed chance of pregnancy that results in bleeding from the
endometrial vessels and is followed by preparation of the next
cycle. Therefore, there seems no reason for this notion to persist
that menstruating women are “impure.”
Many girls and women are subject to restrictions in their daily
lives simply because they are menstruating. Not entering the
“puja” room is the major restriction among urban girls whereas,
not entering the kitchen is the main restriction among the rural
girls during menstruation.[5] Menstruating girls and women are
also restricted from offering prayers and touching holy books.[6]
The underlying basis for this myth is also the cultural beliefs of
impurity associated with menstruation. It is further believed that
menstruating women are unhygienic and unclean and hence the
food they prepare or handle can get contaminated. According to
study by Kumar and Srivastava[7] in 2011, participating women
also reported that during menstruation the body emits some
specic smell or ray, which turns preser ved food bad. And,
therefore, they are not allowed to touch sour foods like pickles.
Menstruation related myths in India: strategies for
combating it
Suneela Garg1, Tanu Anand1
1Department of Community Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India
Abs t r Ac t
Menstruation is a phenomenon unique to girls. However, it has always been surrounded by taboos and myths that exclude women
from many aspects of socio‑cultural life. In India, the topic has been a taboo until date. Such taboos about menstruation present in
many societies impact on girls’ and women’s emotional state, mentality and lifestyle and most importantly, health. The challenge,
of addressing the socio‑cultural taboos and beliefs in menstruation, is further compounded by the low girls’ knowledge levels
and understandings of puberty, menstruation, and reproductive health. Thus, there is the need to follow a strategic approach in
combating these issues. The current paper aims to discuss menstruation related myths prevalent in India, their impact on women’s
life, relevance of addressing these issues in primary care and a brief description about various strategies to combat them.
Keywords: Adolescent, attitudes, culture, female, genital diseases, health knowledge, health surveys humans, India,
menstruation, practice, puberty, reproductive health
Family Practice
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Address for correspondence: Dr. Tanu Anand,
Department of Community Medicine, H‑1/7 Malviya Nagar,
New Delhi ‑ 110 002, India.
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Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care 185 April 2015 : Volume 4 : Issue 2
Garg and Anand: Menstruation related myths
However, as long as general hygiene measures are taken into
for spoilage of any food in making.
Cultural norms and religious taboos on menstruation are often
compounded by traditional associations with evil spirits, shame
and embarrassment surrounding sexual reproduction.[2] In some
cultures, women bury their cloths used during menstruation to
prevent them being used by evil spirits.[8] In Surinam, menstrual
blood is believed to be dangerous, and a malevolent person
can do harm to a menstruating woman or girl by using black
magic (“wisi”). It is also believed that a woman can use her
menstrual blood to impose her will on a man.[1,6] Interestingly, in
Asia including India, such beliefs are still practiced.[4] However,
In some parts of India, some strict dietary restrictions are also
followed during menstruation such as sour food like curd,
tamarind, and pickles are usually avoided by menstruating girls.[5,7]
It is believed that such foods will disturb or stop the menstrual
o w. [9] As far as the exercise is concerned, many studies in India
and elsewhere have revealed that many adolescent girls believe
that doing exercise/physical activity during menses aggravate
the dysmenorrhea while in real exercise can help relieve the
menstruating women with symptoms of premenstrual syndrome
and dysmenorrhea and relieve bloating. Exercise also causes a
release of serotonin, making one feel much happier.[9‑11]
In some parts of India, perceptions of Hinduism center on
notions of purity and pollution. Bodily excretions are believed
to be polluting, as are the bodies when producing them. All
women, regardless of their social caste, incur pollution through
the bodily processes of menstruation and childbirth. Water is
considered to be themost common medium of  purication.
The protection of water sources from such pollution, which is
the physical manifestation of Hindu deities, is, therefore, a key
concern.[1,12] This highlights the possible reason why menstruating
womenare notallowedtotakeabath especially forrst few
days of their menstrual period. It is believed that if a girl or
women touches a cow while she is on her period, that the cow
will become infertile – leading girls to associate their own bodies
with curse and impurity.
Impact of Myths Related to Menstruation on
Women’s Life
Such taboos about menstruation present in many societies impact
on girls’ and women’s emotional state, mentality and lifestyle and
most importantly, health. Large numbers of girls in many less
economically developed countries drop out of school when they
begin menstruating. This includes over 23% of girls in India.[12]
In addition to this, the monthly menstruation period also creates
obstacles for female teachers.[2] Thus, the gender – unfriendly
school culture and infrastructure and the lack of adequate
menstrual protection alternatives and/or clean, safe and private
sanitation facilities for female teachers and girls undermine the
right of privacy.[2,6] There are health and hygiene issues also
to consider relating to girls and menstruation. Over 77% of 
menstruating girls and women in India use an old cloth, which
is often reused. Further, 88% of women in India sometimes
resort to using ashes, newspapers, dried leaves and husk sand
to aid absorption.[12] Poor protection and inadequate washing
facilities may increases susceptibility to infection, with the odor
of menstrual blood putting girls at risk of being stigmatized. The
The challenge, of addressing the socio‑cultural taboos and beliefs
in menstruation, is further compounded by the fact the girls’
knowledge levels and understandings of puberty, menstruation,
and reproductive health are very low.[3,9,13,14]
Relevance of Addressing Menstruation
Related Myths by Primary Care Physicians
Primary care physicians are the first point of contact for
diagnosis of common menstrual problems and other associated
reproductive morbidities among the populations in their
community. Many of the practices during menstruation have
direct implications on reproductive health. For instance, not
bathing during menstruation can lead to compromise in hygiene
of the girl and thus lead to the reproductive tract infections.
A primary care physician, is thus, required to be acquainted
with common myths related to menstruation prevalent
in his/her community and treat the individual holistically by
addressing them also. Else, the problem may be treated for a
while but it would continue to recur with increasing severity.
Strategies to Combat Menstruation Related
Based on the available evidence, it is pertinent to follow a strategic
approach for combating the myths and social taboos associated
with menstruation in order to improve the reproductive health
of adolescentgirlsandwomen.Therstandforemoststrategy
in this regard is raising the awareness among the adolescent
girls related to menstrual health and hygiene. Young girls often
grow up with limited knowledge of menstruation because their
mothers and other women shy away from discussing the issues
with them. Adult women may themselves not be aware of the
biological facts or good hygienic practices, instead passing on
cultural taboos and restrictions to be observed.[1] Community
based health education campaigns could prove worthwhile in
achieving this task. There is also need to spread awareness among
the school teachers regarding menstruation.
Empowerment of women through education and increasing
their role in decision‑making can also aid in this regard. Women
and girls are often excluded from decision‑making due to their
lower literacy levels per se. Increasing the education status of
women plays an important role in improving the health status of
the community at large and overcoming the cultural taboos, in
particular. Provision of sanitary napkins and adequate facilities
for sanitation and washing should be made available with the
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Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care 186 April 2015 : Volume 4 : Issue 2
Garg and Anand: Menstruation related myths
gender perspective. In Delhi, there are an estimated 132 public
toilets for women, only 8% the number of the 1534 for men.[12]
Low cost sanitary napkins can be locally made and distributed
particularly in rural and slum areas as these are the areas where
accessto the productisdifcult.[7] Government of India has
approved a scheme to improve menstrual hygiene for 1.5 Crore
adolescent girls by distributing low cost sanitary napkins in
rural areas under the National Rural Health Mission since
2010.[15] However, the scheme is in the pilot phase, and a lot
more needs to achieve in this regard. Increasing the role of the
male partner and clearing the beliefs system of the male partner
is also pertinent in combating deep rooted social beliefs and
cultural taboos. Men and boys typically know even less, but it
is important for them to understand menstruation so they can
support their wives, daughters, mothers, students, employees,
and peers.[13] Sensitization of health workers, Accredited Social
Health Activists and Anganwadi workers regarding menstruation
biology must also be done so that they can further disseminate
this knowledge in the community and mobilize social support
against busting menstruation related myths. Adolescent Friendly
Health Services Clinics must also have trained manpower to
address these issues.
Thus, it is becoming clear that multi‑sectoral approaches are
needed. We need to link physical infrastructure and water
and sanitation projects to health education and reproductive
health programs and address the issue in more holistic
ways.[14] Menstruation is nothing but a very normal biological
phenomenon, and adolescent girls and women should understand
that they have the power of procreation only because of this
1. Module one: Menstrual Hygiene Basics. 2012.
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2. Stefanie Kaiser. Menstrual Hygiene Management.
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3. Patil R, Agarwal L, Khan MI, Gupta SK, Vedapriya DR,
Raghavia M, et al. Beliefs about menstruation: A study from
rural Pondicherry. Indian J Med Specialities 2011;2:23‑6.
4. Chawla J, Matrika. The Mythic Origins of the Menstrual
Taboo in the Rig Veda. 1992. Available from: http://www.
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5. Puri S, Kapoor S. Taboos and Myths associated with women
health among rural and urban adolescent girls in Punjab.
Indian J Community Med 2006;31:168‑70.
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11. Poureslami M, Osati‑Ashtiani F. Assessing knowledge,
attitudes, and behavior of adolescent girls in suburban
districts of Tehran about dysmenorrhoea and menstrual
hygiene. J Int Womens Stud 2002;3:51‑61.
12. SOS Childrens’ Village. Social taboos damage the
health of girls and women. 2014. Available from:
social‑taboos‑damage‑the‑health‑of‑girls‑and‑women. [Last
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13. Kirk J, Sommer M. Menstruation and body awareness: linking
girls’ health with girls’ education. 2006. Available from:
kirk‑2006‑menstruation‑kit_paper.pdf. [Last accessed on
2014 Aug 13].
14. Kaur K, Arora B, Singh GK, Neki NS. Social beliefs and
practices associated with menstrual hygiene among
adolescent girls of Amritsar, Punjab, India. J Int Med Sci
Acd 2012;25:69‑70.
15. Press Information Bureau, GoI. Government Approves
Scheme for Menstrual Hygiene 1.5 Crore Girls to Get
Low‑Cost Sanitary Napkins. 2010. Available from: http:// [Last
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How to cite this article: Garg S, Anand T. Menstruation related
myths in India: Strategies for combating it. J Fam Med Primary Care
Source of Support: Nil. Conict of Interest: None declared.
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... It has deteriorated over time. In the Vedic era, it was observed that women enjoyed numerous rights and they had dominance over men (Garg & Anand, 2015). Women were granted all privileges, including the power to conduct ceremonies and other rituals, as well as the right to education and the privilege to pick their partner through 'Swayamvara'. ...
... Many of these points of view are in direct opposition to Vedic instructions. For example, the 'Agnihotrayagna,' also known as 'Mahayagna,' mentioned in the Vedas is the most prominent yagna performed by Vaidiks, which include both males and females, and which must be performed daily, even though menstruation is a normal biological process (Garg & Anand, 2015). They are free to endure 'mahayagna' throughout their periods and to enter temples. ...
... The menstrual cycle and the theories regarding it, which have made this biological phenomenon an impurity, have their origins in Brahmanical culture. In today's society, these rituals are blindly practiced without regard for sanctity, turning the process into a humiliation (Garg & Anand, 2015). As a result, no one wishes to have a healthy discussion about menstruation and the issues that women face during that period. ...
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The edited volume creates an awareness to prevent the spread of violence at the time of communal disturbances and creates an understanding of the actual role of a common man to make peace at the time of disturbance. It invites every citizen to realise their duties and responsibilities towards maintaining communal harmony. It strengthens the sense of unity in diversity amongst citizens of the country and actively participates in Communal Harmony activities.
... Socio-cultural myths and taboos (Garg & Anand, 2015) surrounding menstruation exist in many societies and they are a source of stigma leading to emotional and physical suffering for girls and women. In India, even speaking about the topic is taboo which deprives girls of knowledge and the adequate support needed to understand and deal with menstrual health. ...
... The "puja" rooms and the kitchens are areas where girls are not allowed during their period. In some cultures, menstrual blood is to be feared as it can be used by evil spirits to harm menstruating girls (Garg and Anand, 2015). The practice of Chhaupadi in Nepal, where girls are segregated in menstrual huts has led to the death of young women. ...
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Gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women is a major theme in the field of sport for development. Understanding the lived experiences of participants, across all genders, is fundamental to creating inclusive environments for everyone. However, a key aspect of many girls' and women's experiences is largely missing from research and practice-menstrual health. This chapter examines innovative approaches in sport for development that aim to address menstrual health education, reduce menstrual stigma and provide menstrual products to participants. These projects and programmes take different approaches, building from global development initiatives and engaging in grassroots social entrepreneurship, to engage in this taboo topic. Their efforts occupy a unique and emerging space in the field of sport for development, one that is growing alongside a broader movement on menstrual health as a social justice issue. Through review and analysis, this chapter highlights the need for more critical and comprehensive perspectives on gender and sport for development. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is also examined, with menstrual health as a reflection of how the pandemic has disproportionately affected many girls and women. 2
... Myths and rumours about menstruation found in this review lead to fear, shame and self-isolation [41]. They were also found in studies conducted in India [70] and Ghana [71], leading to psychological distress in menstruating women. ...
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Plain language Summary Globally, menarche is an important developmental milestone for females. Experiences of menarche and subsequent menstruation are embedded in socio-cultural norms and practices which can impact women’s ability to manage menstruation with dignity. This paper reviews social and cultural factors that affect the ability of women to effectively manage their menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) in Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs). Peer-reviewed and grey literature were searched systematically, using the PRISMA extended scoping review methodology. Eleven studies met the inclusion and exclusion criteria: 10 qualitative studies and one mixed methods study. Included studies had been conducted in Melanesian (n = 9), Polynesian (n = 1) and Micronesian (n = 1) states of PICTs. Factors affecting MHH were identified and categorised using the Socio-Ecological Framework categories: biological; personal; interpersonal; environmental and societal. All 11 studies reported elements of societal and personal factors; ten studies reported evidence relating to interpersonal factors; nine studies reported elements relating to environmental factors; and two studies presented evidence linked to biological factors. MHH experiences of women in PICTs are shaped by socio-cultural norms and practices. These norms and practices need to be incorporated into sexual and reproductive health planning, programs and education in order to be relevant to diverse village and urban settings in PICTs.
... [47] This study reported that most adolescent girls (52.59%) shared information with their mothers when they had their first menarche, 32.76% of adolescent girls shared about the first menarche with their sister, and 14.66% of adolescent girls shared it with others (relatives/friends), but not a single adolescent girl shared it with their brother and father, because of stigma, restrictions, misconceptions, myth toward menstruation, and considered as impure, and taboo. [9] A crosssectional survey was conducted in March 2020 in the schools of Chinnalapatti, Dindigul district, Tamil Nadu in southern India, with a primary focus on finding out the main factors associated with the restrictions during menstruation among adolescent girls. A study has been reported that a significant percentage of adolescent girls faced many kinds of restrictions during menstruation, such as not allowed to go to the temple and participates in religious activities (99.14%), not allowed to go near plants (99%), not allowed to play or do any kind of physical activity (50.86%) during menstruation. ...
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Background: The study aims to determine the factors associated with restriction during menstruation among adolescent girls. To find out the source of knowledge and information regarding menstruation and emotional reaction at the time of menarche. Methods: A Cross-sectional survey was conducted in the Schools of Chinnalapatti, Dindigul district, Tamil Nadu in southern India. A sample size of 116 adolescent girls aged 9-18 years. The questionnaire included questions regarding demographics, socio-category, education, family income, age at menarche, emotion response at menarche, social restriction, source of knowledge, and information. Results: The mean age year of menarche was 11.72 ± 1.27 years. Most adolescent girls (52.59%) informed their mothers first menarche. Furthermore, significant participants responded that mothers and relatives were the common sources of knowledge and information regarding menstruation. Participants were not allowed to go in religious activities (99.14%), not allowed to go near plants (99%), forced to be separated from others (35.34%). Parent qualification had a significant influence on restriction during menstruation. Conclusion: A significant percentage of girls have to face many kinds of restrictions during menstruation. Socioeconomic factors were significantly associated with the types of restrictions during menstruation. The study suggests that elementary knowledge and awareness about menstruation must be dispersed by the schools/NGOs where teachers, students (male and female), and their parents should participate for better awareness, leading to overcoming the efficiency.
... This is an example of secrecy and mystery about menarche perceived by young females who also see menstruation as something which should not be discussed with males (Patil et al., 2011;Sommer et al., 2017). Traditional connotations with evil spirits, humiliation, and embarrassment surrounding sexual reproduction may exacerbate cultural norms and religious taboos on menstruation (Garg & Anand, 2015). Participants also describe that adulting was not a pleasant phase of their lives and how suddenly they had to adapt to the responsible adult phase. ...
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Introduction: Menarche marks the beginning of the biological transition to puberty. Adolescent girls are often hesitant and embarrassed to discuss menstruation and menstrual problems with their parents, friends, and teachers, which may have turned into a negative impact on their health. Girls who are unaware of menstruation are more likely to have gynecologic issues. As a result, it is critical to assess girls' knowledge, attitude, practice, and perceptions about menstruation, which will aid in the planning and implementation of appropriate educational programs or interventions to raise awareness.
This chapter presents an enquiry into the scourge of menstrual untouchability, which still pervades a large section of Indian society. An attempt has been made to understand the underlying dynamics of the social evil of menstrual untouchability through anecdotal evidence gathered through unstructured theme-based interviews of respondents in Uttarakhand, India. Social norms and the pressure to abide by them have been found major reasons for propagation of menstrual untouchability. The practice of menstrual untouchability has been found to be much less rigidly observed in urban communities and single adult-women households. Isolation during menstrual periods and consequent respite from household chores has also been discovered as a reason for some women submitting themselves to this practice. All these insights have formed the basis for suggestions made to rid the society of evil of menstrual untouchability.
Feminine hygiene advertisements are key sources of information for menstruators and others. This research used quantitative content analysis to examine the representation of menstruation in advertisements in the Arab and western worlds. The analysis was carried out on a sample of 222 advertisements – 157 western and 65 Arab – produced between 2000 and 2020. Coding sheet questions focused on the social interactions of advertisement actors and the word descriptors used to define aspects of menstruation. Results were consistent with the literature on the menstrual taboo and social stigmas surrounding menstruation, as well as research suggesting that Arab societies exhibit relatively greater degrees of social conservatism regarding gender. In particular, findings, which are contextualized in light of feminist theory, showed that ads consistently concealed key aspects of menstruation, showed models in isolation, employed euphemisms, rarely spoke of menstrual blood and almost never portrayed blood in a realistic red colour. Both Arab and western advertisements highlighted the feminine hygiene product’s role as saviour. Examined Arab advertisements were more conservative than western ads. Arab ads were more likely to mention secrecy terms, and less likely to label menstrual fluid as ‘blood’, display menstrual blood in the colour red and show female models interacting with male models.
To identify the extent of menstrual disorders and relation to various aspects of life in 100 women of age group 12-25 years. This is a cross-sectional study. Data is collected using questionnaire on demographics, medical history, personal habits, academic performance and menstrual pattern. Results analyzed using EPI info and SPSS software. 40% have no idea of menstruation prior to menarche, 28% of all were scared at menarche. 15% of menstrual education is contributed by schools. 60% had HMB, 83% had PMS. 91% had menstrual disorders and 37% had severe dysmenorrhea on day 1. Irregular cycles has significant association with BMI and medical history. PMS has significant association with food habits and alcohol intake. 64% with menstrual disorders did not seek medical help. Adolescent period in women can be quite difficult especially in view of menarche; understanding of menstruation and facing menstrual needs preparation which is lacking in India. Menstrual education should be included in school study curriculum. Awareness should be increased about menstrual disorders, hygiene, personal habits and support should be given during menstruation in schools to avoid skipping of schools and to decrease academic stress during periods and medical help should be taken.
(a). Situation faced: In India, there is a severe lack of access to menstrual education and health issues. Awareness of menstruation hygiene in rural or urban areas are just inadequate. Females especially in low-income areas face hygiene issues during menstruation, particularly in the beginning years of menstruation among young girls. Girls in rural and semi-urban settings suffer insufficient puberty education and unavailability of hygienic aids (absorbents), which leads to menstruation as an uncomfortable and shameful experience for them. Reports suggest that there is absenteeism of girls from schools due to fear of humiliation and body odor. Cultural taboos complement their snags and prevent them from seeking help, and it restricts their activities during this period. (b). Action taken: Lots of initiatives are taken by the government and social bodies to increase awareness and reduce taboos through various programs, focusing on ensuring dignity, privacy, and breaking the stigma. Efforts are being made to ensure absorbents accessible and affordable. (c). Lessons learned: We face extreme gender-related disparity for health awareness, availability of separate washrooms, cleaning materials, and safe disposal of solid waste. Disposal of these used items is also an area of concern. The efforts taken by a young entrepreneur in dealing with causes related to menstrual hygiene, illiteracy about the whole concept of menstruation, its myths, and taboos faced by young girls and women, use of sanitary pads, and their self-esteem. More social entrepreneur are welcomed to tackle this stigma.
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The study attempts to find out the existing social and cultural practices regarding menstruation, awareness levels, and the behavioral changes that come about in adolescent girls during menstruation, their perception about menarche, how do they treat it, and the various taboos, norms, and cultural practices associated with menarche. The study was conducted on 117 adolescent girls (age 11-20 years) and 41 mothers from various communities and classes in Ranchi comprising residential colonies and urban slums. The findings unfolds many practices: cultural and social restrictions associated with menstruation, myth, and misconception; the adaptability of the adolescent girls toward it; their reaction, reaction of the family; realization of the importance of menstruation; and the changes that have come in their life after menarche and their resistance to such changes. The article also suggests the strategies to improve menstrual health and hygiene among adolescent girls. The study concludes that cultural and social practices regarding menstruation depend on girls' education, attitude, family environment, culture, and belief.
Menstrual practices are still shrouded by taboos and socio-cultural restrictions. Thus adolescent girls remain ignorant of the scientific facts and hygiene practices which sometimes result into adverse health consequences. This study was undertaken with the objective of eliciting the beliefs, perception and source of information regarding menstruation among the adolescent girl students and to find out the status of menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls. An exploratory and descriptive study has been conducted among 10th clas adolescent girl students of senior secondary schools in Amritsar City, Punjab. A pre-designed and pretested interview schedule has been during the interview. Data has been analyzed statistically by chi square test. Out of 300 respondents 184(61.3percent) adolescent girls are having awareness about menstruation prior to initiation of menarche. Mother was the first informant regarding menstruation in case of 160 (53.3 per cent) girls. 221 (73.7 per cent) girls believed it a normal physiological process. 207 (69.0 per cent) girls knew regarding use of sanitary ad during the menstruation. Regarding menstrual hygiene practices, 68.7 per cent girls used sanitary pads and 30 (10.0 per cent) respondents practicing any cloth or rag/ cotton during menstruation. For the purpose of cleaning external practiced by the family, 294 (98.0 per cent) girls practiced different types of family restrictions during menstruation.
The aim of this study was to assess the level of knowledge, attitudes and health-taking behavior of female students ages 15-18 years old in regard to dysmenorrhea and menstrual hygiene in suburban districts of Tehran, the capital of Iran. The study applied a descriptive, cross-sectional method, in which 250 students were selected at random, using a cluster random sampling method. The data was collected by applying a 44-item questionnaire. The reliability of the questionnaire was checked by the Chronbach-Alpha method, showing a correlation of 90 percent. Seventy-seven percent of the subjects claimed that they had enough knowledge about dysmenorrhea, from which only 32% practiced the personal health taking behavior, such as taking a bath and using hygienic materials. About 33% of the students avoided any physical activity or even mild exercise during menstrual period. Over 67% of the girls reported to take palliative medicine for their menstrual pain without prescription by a doctor. Fifteen percent of them stated that dysmenorrhea has interfered with their daily life activities and caused them to be absent from school between one to seven days, similar to other relevant studies. The prevalence of dysmenorrhea in this study was 71%. The main point achieved in this study was the necessity of educating female students about the menstrual period health-taking behaviors, including: appropriate nutrition, exercise and physical activity, personal hygiene, and appropriate use of medication based on physician's prescription.
Menstruation and body awareness: linking girls' health with girls' education
  • J Kirk
  • M Sommer
Kirk J, Sommer M. Menstruation and body awareness: linking girls' health with girls' education. 2006. Available from: kirk-2006-menstruation-kit_paper.pdf. [Last accessed on 2014 Aug 13].
Tackling menstrual hygiene taboos Sanitation and Hygiene Case Study No. 10 Available from:
  • Unicef Bangladesh
UNICEF. Bangladesh: Tackling menstrual hygiene taboos. Sanitation and Hygiene Case Study No. 10. 2008. Available from: BANGLADESH_4web.pdf. [Last accessed on 2014 Aug 12].
The Mythic Origins of the Menstrual Taboo in the Rig Veda Available from: http://www. matrika‑
  • J Chawla
Chawla J, Matrika. The Mythic Origins of the Menstrual Taboo in the Rig Veda. 1992. Available from: http://www. matrika‑ [Last accessed on 2014 Aug 09].
Social taboos damage the health of girls and women
  • Sos Childrens
  • Village
SOS Childrens' Village. Social taboos damage the health of girls and women. 2014. Available from: social-taboos-damage-the-health-of-girls-and-women. [Last accessed on 2014 Aug 12].