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Introduction Like other biological phenomena, menstrual characteristics also vary with different age groups, socioeconomic status, and lifestyles. This study aimed to find out the variation in the menstrual characteristics among adolescents of different age groups, and the significant predictors of a menstrual outcome.
Methods 260 adolescent Bengali-speaking Hindu girls of three different age groups (early, middle and late adolescence) were selected from the district of 24 Parganas (North), West Bengal, India. Data on the socioeconomic conditions and menstrual characteristics were collected via a pre-tested questionnaire.
Results Significant differences exist between these three age groups in characteristics such as irregularity in the cycle, skipping of the cycle, duration of menstrual discharge, absenteeism from school because of pain and discomfort related to menstruation, and the prevalence of white discharge. Logistic regression showed that socioeconomic variables such as the occupations of the parents and educational levels of the parents and the subjects have a significant relationship with some menstrual outcomes (irregularity in the menstrual cycle, premenstrual problems, and duration of menstrual discharge) and with consultation of doctors due to some morbid conditions. Some of the other menstrual characteristics such as duration of menstrual discharge, number of days of peak discharge and absence of pain at the time of menstrual discharge, can be significantly predicted by age group of the individuals and other menstrual features.
Conclusion Menstrual characteristics vary among the adolescents of different age groups, and some of the menstrual characteristics can be predicted by some socioeconomic factors and other menstrual variables.
Keywords: female adolescents, menstrual characteristics, menstruation
Singapore Med J 2008; 49(7): 542-550