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Lee LK, Chen PCY, Lee KK, Kaur J
Correspondence: Dr Lee Lai Kah, email@example.com
Introduction The onset of menstruation is part of the maturation process. However, variability in menstrual cycle characteristics and menstrual disorders are common. The purpose of this study was to determine the menstrual characteristics of adolescent females and factors associated with it.
Methods This is a cross-sectional descriptive study carried out on 2,411 secondary school adolescent females in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. Data were collected using a self-administered structured questionnaire on menstruation in Bahasa Malaysia.
Results Abnormal cycle length (menstrual cycle longer than 35 days or cycle length between 14 to 20 days or irregular pattern) was common and affected 37.2 percent of subjects. The majority (74.6 percent) experienced premenstrual syndrome and 69.4 percent had dysmenorrhoea. About 18 percent reported excessive menstrual loss (use two pads at a time to prevent blood from soaking through or confirmed by doctor to be anaemic due to heavy menstrual flow). Only 11.1 percent of schoolgirls seeked medical consultation for their menstrual disorders. Mothers remained the most important source of information (80 percent). Menstrual disorders were significantly more common in female adolescents who smoke and have suicidal behaviours (p-value is less than 0.05).
Conclusion Menstrual problems among adolescent female are common. They are influenced by certain modifiable factors.
Keywords: adolescents, dysmenorrhoea, female adolescents, menstruation, premenstrual syndrome
Singapore Med J 2006; 47(10): 869-874