The purpose of the study was to determine the negative and positive attitude to and practice of menstrual hygiene among senior female secondary school students in Udenu local government area, Enugu state. To achieve the purpose of the study, ten specific objectives with corresponding research questions were posed and two hypotheses postulated. Descriptive survey research design was used for the study. The population for the study consisted of 7680 senior female secondary school students while stratified sampling procedure was used to draw a sample of 384 students used for the study. The instrument for data collection was 40 item researcher’s designed questionnaire. The research questions were answered using means and percentages while null hypotheses were tested using analysis of variance (ANOVA) and chi-square statistics at .05 level of significance The following results were obtained. Attitude towards personal hygiene (f = 19.894, P=.000<.05) attitude towards selection of menstrual absorbents (f=28.675, P =.000< .05), Attitude towards disposal (F =10.736, P =. 000< .05) and attitude towards storage of menstrual absorbents (F=11.461, P =.000<.05). The P- values were lesser than .05 level of significance at 2 and 283 degrees of freedom. For the practices: practices towards personal hygiene (X2= 127.5,6, P=.000), selection of menstrual absorbents (X2=17.917 P=.000), disposal (X2 =97.292, P=. 000) and storage (X2= 42.965, p =. 000) with their corresponding P- values which are lesser than .05 level of significance at 8 degrees of freedom. Major findings show that age has major effects on the attitudes and practices of menstrual hygiene among senior female secondary students. It was recommended by the researcher that government should expand and intensify education on menstrual hygiene so as curb these negative attitudes and practices towards menstruation. It was also recommended that appropriate waste disposal facilities such as toilets and incinerator should be provided especially in schools to ensure adequate menstrual waste disposal.

Background to the Study
Menstruation is a phenomenon unique to all females. The onset of menstruation represents a landmark even in pubertal development of the adolescent girl. Menstruation a natural process in a woman’s life needs special care from physical and psychological point of view. Menstrual hygiene management is an issue that is insufficiently acknowledged and has not received adequate attention from any quarter of the society (Arkutu, 1995). Menstruation and the menstrual cycle are characterized by variability in volume, pattern and regularities, which at the earlier stages of the development of the adolescent can create emotional discomfort particularly to the poorly informed girl (Nair, 2011). The challenge of providing special facilities for girls reaching puberty is a question far removed from the authorities. The lack of policy in this regard is a major hurdle. Unfortunately, authorities have not yet realized the fact that lack of facilities in school can force girls to remain absent from schools and in the other hand, it would cause infectious diseases.

Statistically, United Nation Children Fund UNICEF in collaboration with World Health Organization WHO (2005) had identified that 75 per cent of women population had gynecological problems or complications as a result of poor menstrual hygiene. This has resulted to infertility which also brought about broken homes. In Nigeria, major cultural difference exists which to a large extent influence several characteristics and attitude of people. Culturally, amongst the Ibos, discussion on sexuality including menstruation is often shrouded in secrecy, rarely is such discussion carried out even among adults themselves. Abioye (2000) reported that some girls have no access to clean and safe sanitary products and are subjected to restrictions in their daily activities or lives because they are menstruating. Besides, the health problems due to poor hygiene during menstruation are as a result of unaffordability of facilities and inappropriate supply of sanitary products which may push them temporarily or sometimes permanently out of school, having a negative impact on the right to education.

Menstruation means the periodic discharge of blood and mucosal tissue from the uterus accruing approximately monthly from puberty to menopause. According to Chung (1981) the first menstruation is considered as a symbol of transition from girlhood to adulthood. Various aspects such as physiology, pathology and psychology of menstruation have been formed to associate it with health and well-being of women; hence it is an important issue concerning morbidity among female population (Arkutu, 1995). Menstruation is the periodic shedding of the endometrial (lining of the uterus) accompanied by blood loss that identifies the reproductive years of a woman’s life (Arkutu,1995) Menstruation is a natural phenomenon among matured females who experience shedding of blood for one to seven days every month from the age of maturity until menopause (Abera, 2003). Menstruation refers to as the monthly bleeding of each menstrual cycle of adolescent and adult women. Adiar (2008), stated that the first menstruation (Menarche) usually, occurs at puberty typically between the ages of 11 and 16, and periods continues until the menopause around the age of 45-50. However, menstruation does not occur during pregnancy and can be suppressed or disrupted in women who are breast feeding. Menstruation is part of the menstrual cycle which helps a woman’s body to prepare for the possibility of pregnancy each month. Snigh (2006) stated that the parts of the body involved in menstrual cycle include: the uterus, cervix, vagina, fallopian tube, the brain and the pituitary gland. Some girls start their menstrual periods as early as 10 years of age and as late as 16 years old. The average age a girl begins menstruating is 12 years (Jones, 1999).

Menstruation is one of the most important stages in a woman’s life. Although, it is a natural process, is linked with several misconceptions which sometimes results into adverse health conditions or outcomes (Abera, 2003). Negligence in menstrual hygiene has resulted in biological and gynecological problems across nations. The negative effects such as, vaginal tract infections, urinary tract infection as well as, infertility are far-ranging on the lives of girls and women, and on the wider development goal (Abera, 2003). Neglecting menstrual hygiene could also have a negative effect on environment, failing to provide disposal facilities for used sanitary products can result in a significant solid waste. Up till day, poor menstrual hygiene in developing countries has led to so many health problems. One of the main reasons behind the issue is that menstruation is considered in many societies a hidden and secret issue. Isolation of menstruating girls and restrictions being imposed on them in the family has reinforced a negative attitude toward this phenomenon.

A report from Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH, 2008), in South Asia indicated that menstrual hygiene has been associated with a wide range of health and psycho-social outcomes e.g., stress levels, fear, embarrassment, and social exclusion. The situation in African cities is not much different. The forum for African Women Educationist FAWE (1999) in Uganda observed that menstruation and menstrual hygiene are the most important factors affecting school drop-out among adolescent girls. According to the report, the cause lies in a combination of poverty, tradition and taboos. The report further stated that poor menstrual hygiene links to urinary or reproductive tract infections and other reproductive health problems.

This is why hygiene related practices during menstruation are of considerable importance for reproductive health. Good hygiene towards menstruation such as use of sanitary pads and adequate washing of genital area is essential for girls and women of reproductive age who need access to clean and soft absorbent sanitary products, which in long run protect their health (Fernade, 2008). Good hygiene prevents transmission of infections.

Hygiene refers to personal and environmental cleanliness which particularly help to minimize exposure to germs. Hygienic practices vary widely, and what is considered acceptable in one culture might not be acceptable in another. Hygiene in home and everyday life setting play an important part in preventing spread of infections. Hygiene is based on identifying the routes of spread of pathogen and applying hygiene procedures and critical points at appropriate times to break the chain of infection (Andrew, 1992). The aim of personal hygiene is to promote standards of personal cleanliness within the setting of the condition where people live. Personal hygiene include: bathing, clothing, washing hands, and toilets, care of nails, feet and teeth, personal appearance and inculcation of clean habits in the young. Environmental hygiene deals with the home and other surroundings. It involves proper disposal of waste, possible and adequate water supply, hygienic storage of food among others. Poor environmental hygiene leads to health problems. Therefore, hygiene practices during menstruation are of great important.

Menstrual hygiene is defined as a practice by which women and adolescent girls use a clean material to absorb or collect menstrual blood, and this material can be changed in privacy as often as necessary for the duration of menstruation. Santha,(2011) stated that it also include using soap and water for washing the body as required and having access to facilities to dispose materials . Menstrual hygiene can be essential in ensuring that a woman’s everyday life is not interrupted by menstruation. It ensures that a woman can continue with her daily routine such as going to school, going to work or doing household chores. It can also prevent potential situations of embarrassment about her. Maintaining proper menstrual hygiene is important to the well being and development of the body (Kadel, 2007). The author stated that, one should bath regularly, use clean and dry feminine hygiene products such as sanitary pads, napkins, tampon, and cloths among others and change them regularly during menstruation. If a woman is using cloth, it is important that the woman regularly wash them with soap and water, and dry them completely in the sun before use; as damp clothing can carry germs that can lead to infection.

Menstrual hygiene of adolescents and young people is important to the overall health and quality of life of any community. Ranjinj (2009) stated that menstrual hygiene affects people’s quality of life, prevention of gynaecological complications and makes way for sustainable development. In this study, menstrual hygiene means conditions or practices especially cleanliness to be exhibited by senior secondary students towards menstruation or while they are menstruating in order to maintain good health. This study will be restricted to some components as personal hygiene, selection of menstrual absorbents, proper disposal of absorbents and storage. These components which formed the bedrock of the study were highlighted below.

Personal hygiene may be described as the principle of maintaining cleanliness and grooming of the external body. Abioye (2000) suggested that failure to keep up a standard of hygiene can have many implications. Not only is there an increased risk of getting an infection, but there are many social and psychological aspects that can be affected. The author further stated that one of the most effective ways one can protect his or herself and others from illness is through the practice of good personal hygiene. This means, washing one’s hands, especially, and also one’s body. Good habits can help control body odour and bad breath. During menstruation, personal hygiene is a common concern for most women, from bathing, showering to washing clothes, everything requires tips for keeping body clean and maintaining a good health (Hahn, 1997). Women, especially girls going to school often have problems about maintaining hygiene during periods. It is also very important that one keeps oneself clean and dry. Daily or more frequent washing of the genital area is very important. It helps to stop any odour or possible infection. Adiar (2001) suggested that personal hygiene during menstruation explored included information about bathing and showering buying and using sanitary products. The author stated that it is essential to maintain strict hand washing before and after changing sanitary products.

Hygiene products are materials or items worn by a woman while she is menstruating to absorb the flow of blood from the vagina (Gupta, 2006). These materials or items include sanitary towel, menstrual pad, cloths, tampons, napkins and many more. The author stated that absorbents should be changed at least 3-4 times daily. Napkins or cloths should be washed thoroughly, dried well before re-use to avoid the invasion of micro organisms. The choice of sanitary protection is very important and much more a personal decision. It is always influenced by a woman or girls’ access to fund, water and other affordable options. Again, the menstrual flow, that is, light or heavy is another considerable factor in choosing any product .Once, a girl begins menstruating, she needs to choose from the various menstrual products which are available. The used or soiled absorbents should be properly discarded.

To dispose means to get rid of something. Disposal of menstrual hygiene products after use is very much important. It is essential to discard the used products properly because they are capable of spreading infections and have offensive odour ( Harvey,2002).The authour stated that wrapping it well before discarding it ensures that smell and infections are prevented. The unused (clean) absorbents should be stored well.

Storage is the act of keeping things for future use. According to Rathus (1983), keeping the unused menstrual products is very important, and helps to make it available when needed. The author opined that, it is advised not to keep the menstrual products in damp and humid places to avoid the outgrowth of micro-organisms which can contaminate them. From the foregoing, one stands to reason that acquisition of.....

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