The onset of menstruation is one of the most important changes occurring among the girls during the adolescent years. The first menstruation or menarche occurs between the age of 11-15. In many parts of the country, especially in the rural areas, girls are not prepared and aware about menstruation, so they face difficulties and challenges at home and school. There is little, inaccurate or incomplete knowledge about menstruation.
Girls have little or no information about reproductive tract infections caused due to ignorance of personal hygiene. Adolescent girls constitute a vulnerable group where they are neglected. Menstruation is still regarded as something unclean or dirty in Indian society. Moreover, some view it as a disease and feel the need to shun those undergoing it.
Menstrual hygiene practices are affected by cultural norms, parental influence, personal preferences, economic status and socio-economic pressures. Many girls face restrictions on cooking, work activities, bathing, worshipping and eating certain foods. These restrictions are due to the overall perception of the people regarding menstruation as they consider it dirty and polluting. These prohibitions are more in rural areas than in urban areas. The girls are also not allowed to participate in religious activities or to touch religious articles. Unprepared girls confused and embarrassed about menarche are likely to develop a negative attitude towards menstruation.