Vinitra Dayalan1, Sripreethika Rajavelu2, Sampath Kumari3, Vignesh Mantharam4
BACKGROUND The major Problems occurring during the adolescent period is related to menstrual cycle. Data regarding the burden of menstrual disturbances in school going children of South India is lacking. Assessing the burden in such children may aid in revealing the current state of menstrual health and hence aiding the policy makes to take appropriate measures. Hence, we assessed the prevalence of menstrual disturbances in school going adolescent girls of South India. The primary aim of this study is to assess the burden of menstrual disorders in school going adolescent girls. The secondary objective were to assess individual menstrual disturbance in the study group and to assess the various factors influencing the menstrual health. MATERIALS AND METHODS This cross-sectional study was conducted in two government girl’s higher secondary school in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. After receiving approval, a structured questionnaire in the regional language (Tamil) was distributed to the school going children between the age of 10 and 19 years. Demographic data and details regarding menstrual health were collected. Frequency of medical assistance and school absenteeism were also analysed in patients with dysmenorrhea. Data were analysed using the SPSS 13.0.1. RESULTS Data of 340 girls who have attained menarche and who have completed the questionnaire was analysed. The median age of menarche in the study group was 13 years. (IQR; 12, 14)) and 13.2% attained early menarche(before12 years). There was a higher prevalence of menstrual disturbances; (46.2%) with polymenorrhea and (12%) with oligomenorrhea. there was a significantly higher usage of sanitary pads in our study population in our study group (98%). In addition, (41.5%) had premenstrual symptoms and (36.8%) had dysmenorrhea. With a higher prevalence of dysmenorrhea (n=125), 35 had school absenteeism. But, only 8/35 consulted a physician and took treatment. Five of these patients were told to have PCOS and 2 were diagnosed to have hypothyroidism. Factors associated with early menarche included overweight (p<0.05) and less involvement in physically demanding activities (p<0.05). Girls who take pure vegetarian diet had decreased prevalence of menstrual irregularities (polymenorrhea or oligomenorrhea) (p<0.03). CONCLUSION Menstrual disorders form a major source of comorbidity in our study group. About 1 in 10 girls attain menarche at an early age less than 12 years and more than half of the girls had menstrual disturbances. But, a very few children seeked medical help for the same, which led to diagnosis of treatable gynaecological diseases.