Journal List > Korean J Women Health Nurs > v.20(3) > 1089481

Ahn and Cho: Personal Hygiene Practices related to Genito-urinary Tract and Menstrual Hygiene Management in Female Adolescents



The study was to survey personal hygiene practice related to genito-urinary tract and menstrual hygiene management in female adolescents in order to obtain basic information for health education.


With a descriptive survey design, 389 adolescents were recruited via convenience sampling in Korea. Survey instrument was the feminine and menstrual hygiene practice and perception of vaginal douching. Data were collected from a self-administered structured questionnaire.


Mean age of adolescents was 16.09 and menarche was at 13.21. While washing hands after urination/defecation was highly performed, wipe front to back and wash with soap and water were reported as being not well done. Twenty-eight percent reported douching habit. More positive beliefs about douching were reported by adolescents who practiced douching. Menstrual hygiene management was very appropriate with changing sanitary pads regularly with hand washing; but less performed for limiting bathing activity during menstrual periods and washing hands after activity of genito-urinary area.


Some adolescents practiced inadequate hygiene practices especially for body cleansing during menstrual period and vaginal douching. It is important to develop and implement school health education programs on feminine and personal hygiene for adolescents to help them perform adequate health behaviors.

Figures and Tables

Table 1
Subjects' Characteristics (N=389)

Indicates multiple response.

Table 2
Feminine Personal Hygiene Practice related to Genito-Urinary Tract (N=389)

Indicates additional questions asked to subjects.

Table 3
Difference in Perception of Vaginal Douching and Related Variable according to Vaginal Douching Practice (N=389)

Fisher's exact test.

Table 4
Menstrual Hygiene Management (N=389)

Indicates additional questions asked to subjects.

Summary Statement

▪ What is already known about this topic?
Studies on feminine hygiene practice have been conducted with adolescents, young and middle-aged women. Inadequate feminine and personal hygiene was related to various genito-urinary infection and reproductive health problems. There was a paucity of studies conducted in Korea.
▪ What this paper adds?
Levels of personal hygiene practice regarding genito-urinary tract and menstrual hygiene management were high. However, wiping front to back, washing with soap and water, and bodily cleansing during menstrual period were not well performed. Some adolescents had wrong perceptions of vaginal douching and practiced this method which was inadequate feminine and personal hygiene practice.
▪ Implications for practice, education and/or policy
School health education about proper feminine and personal hygiene practices is recommended for adolescents to obtain adequate health behaviors for future reproductive health.


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