Pediatricians' knowledge, attitudes and practices surrounding menstruation and feminine products
Int J Adolesc Med Health
© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston. This study investigates whether primary care pediatricians adhere to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations by routinely evaluating patients' menstrual cycles and educating patients about menstruation and feminine products. Additionally, this study examines pediatricians' knowledge and attitudes surrounding menstrual health topics. A 53-item online questionnaire was developed to evaluate pediatricians' knowledge, attitudes and clinical practices regarding menstruation-related topics. The questionnaire was emailed to 2500 AAP members using a geographically-stratified sampling approach, with pediatricians in each state selected randomly. Mann-Whitney U tests, t-tests, and logistic regressions were used to assess associations between correlates and pediatricians' knowledge, attitudes and practices. Five hundred and eighteen out of 2500 pediatricians participated (response rate = 20.7%), 462 met inclusion criteria; 78.8% were female, 79.2% were Caucasian. The majority of the pediatricians (58.2%) were "not at all" or only "slightly" familiar with the AAP guidelines on anticipatory guidance surrounding menarche. Many reported they do not routinely provide anticipatory guidance regarding menstruation to pre-menarchal patients (24.7%), discuss menstruation with post-menarchal patients (33.1%) or ask patients the date of their last period (28.4%). The majority were unlikely to discuss feminine products with patients. Gaps in menstruation-related knowledge were noted. Male pediatricians were significantly less likely to evaluate patients' menstrual cycles and provide patient-education regarding menstruation-related topics, and had significantly lower self-rated and measured knowledge of these topics. A concerning number of pediatricians in a national sample do not abide by AAP recommendations surrounding menstruation and exhibit knowledge gaps in this area. To effectively address the health needs of female patients, pediatricians should better incorporate menstrual health care into their clinical practice.
School of Medicine