Introduction: Menstrual hygiene and the socio-cultural taboo for its management was and is an issue that is insufficiently acknowledged and has not received adequate attention in the reproductive health and other related aspects. This study was undertaken with the objective to determine the prevailing knowledge, hygiene and socio cultural practices during menstruation among adolescent school girls.
Materials and Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out 166 adolescent school girls aged 11-19 years studying at secondary level from 5 government schools of Kailali district using self-administered semi-structured questionnaire.
Results: The mean age at menarche was 12.94 years. More than one fourth of the respondents had known about menstruation before their menarche, the principle sources being friends and mothers. Nearly 5% of the respondents perceived it as disease and curse or sin. The most common health problem faced during menstruation was dysmenorrhea. Single-use commercial sanitary pad as absorbent material during menstruation was very poor. All of the respondents practiced some form of restriction or exclusion and the commonest one experienced by all was absent from religious activities. During menarche more than 10% of them had slept at cow sheds or huts which show that the "Chaupadi Pratha" still prevails in some of the community.
Conclusion: Though the knowledge seems satisfactory; the practices are not optimal for proper hygiene. The local customs and religious traditions and taboos concerning menstruation have added challenges to young girls to manage their period properly.
Hygiene, health problems, socio-cultural practices, menstruation