The Impact of Menstruation on the Well-Being of Adolescent Schoolgirls in Rural Tamil Nadu
Daniels, Kyle R.
- Background: Since 2006 menstrual hygiene management (MHM) has begun to gain traction and research has begun to inform what constitutes a hygienic, dignified MHM practice. This thesis sought to contribute towards alleviating some of the current research gaps in the field by increasing the understanding of the impact of menstruation on the well-being of adolescent schoolgirls in rural Tamil Nadu, ... read moreIndia. Methods: Secondary data analysis was performed on data collected by Eco Femme, a local MHM organization, in the fall of 2015 from 332 schoolgirls in 7th-11th standard from 3 different schools. Descriptive statistics were generated from both quantitative and qualitative data. Analysis focused on understanding how the respondents currently manage their menstruation, how menstruation affects their schooling, and how they feel about menstruation. Results: The majority (73.8%) of participants reported using disposable sanitary napkins (DSN) and the type of product used did not appear to vary much between school and home. Aside from stores, the government was the other main source of DSN with 45.5% of respondents citing it as a source of their protective materials. Interestingly, 59.3% of students reported drinking less while menstruating with 26.5% citing not wanting to go to the bathroom at school as a reason. When asked if they felt comfortable in school during menstruation, 58.1% said “yes” and 25.6% said “no.” A high (70.2-73.8%) percentage of students felt able to explain to a friend how to use products, the menstrual cycle, and how to care for the menstruating body. Discussion: The self-reported knowledge, behavior, practices, and feelings of the respondents provoke consideration of whether menstruation impacts the well-being of females in accordance with the MHM narrative (such as school absenteeism). The results suggest sources of morbidity (like cramps and reduced water intake) that standard MHM interventions do not currently address.read less