Menstrual hygiene management and reproductive tract infections: a comparison between rural and urban India
The objective of the research was to compare factors associated with menstrual hygiene management (MHM) between urban and rural ever-married women in India, and its effect on reproductive tract infections (RTIs). A cross-sectional study was performed analysing data from the Indian District Level Household and Facility Survey 2007–08 (DLHS-3). The respondents were ever-married women between 15 and 49 years of age (N = 577,768). A quarter of women from urban areas use improved methods compared with only 4.3 per cent in rural areas. Cloth had the highest prevalence of usage in both areas. Socio-demographic factors associated with the usage of improved methods were almost the same between localities. Women using improved methods were less likely to suffer from RTIs across localities, except for urinary tract infections (UTIs) in rural areas; UTIs (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 0.95 – 1.03 in rural areas and AOR = 0.80 – 0.88 in urban areas). Findings reiterate the complexity of MHM and the need for immediate attention from the government and other agencies to ensure that girls and women have hygienic practices during their menstrual periods which will help prevent RTIs related to poor MHM.