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Puberty and menstruation knowledge among young adolescents in low- and middle-income countries: A scoping review

Authors

Ernestina Coast
Samantha R. Lattof
Joe Strong

Publication type:
Journal articles
Date: December 2018

This article presents a scoping review of evidence relating to knowledge and experiences of puberty and menstruation among females aged 10–14 years in low- and middle-income countries. Forty-four items from 12 countries were identified from a systematic scoping review and screening of 8083 items. Included studies were quality assessed. A majority (40/44) of studies used school-based samples, and fifteen studies reported on interventions. Girls had inadequate knowledge about menstruation; menarche as a trigger for girls learning about menstruation was common. Adolescents struggled with menstrual hygiene. Negative emotions were associated with menarche and menstrual management. A minority of studies dealt explicitly with puberty. Most girls obtained information about menstruation and/or puberty from their mothers, although mothers were not necessarily girls’ preferred source for learning about these topics. Young adolescent girls are under-prepared for puberty and menstruation. Predominantly school-based studies mean we know little about young out-of-school adolescents. The evidence base lags behind the rise in interest from practitioners as well as the development (and evaluation) of puberty and/or menstruation interventions.

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