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International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health

Editor-in-Chief: Merrick, Joav

Editorial Board: Birch, Diana ML / Blum, Robert W. / Greydanus, MD, Dr. HC (Athens), Donald E. / Hardoff, Daniel / Kerr, Mike / Levy, Howard B / Morad, Mohammed / Omar, Hatim A. / de Paul, Joaquin / Rydelius, Per-Anders / Shek, Daniel T.L. / Sher, Leo / Silber, Tomas J. / Towns, Susan / Urkin, Jacob / Verhofstadt-Deneve, Leni / Zeltzer, Lonnie / Tenenbaum, Ariel

CiteScore 2018: 0.79

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.350
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.476

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Unpreparedness, impurity and paradoxical feeling: menstruation narratives of Iranian women

Afsaneh Sadat Seyed Hosseini
Published Online: 2018-10-20 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2018-0008



Menstruation is universally experienced by all healthy females from menarche to menopause, although the cognitive and emotional dimension of this experience may differ across time and place.


This qualitative study was conducted to explore the menstruation experiences of Iranian women.


Eight Iranian university students, aged between 21 and 25 years, who were resident in Tehran, were interviewed and data were analyzed using an interpretive phenomenological analysis approach.


Two main themes of the participant narratives were identified: “The menarche” and “women’s perception of menstruation”. Each of these elements comprised a number of sub-themes. The menarche experience was related to “inadequate preparation”, “fear and horror” and “the mother”. Women perceived menstruation as “shameful and secret”, “sickness and impurity”, “bothersome and painful”, accompanied with “paradoxical feelings” and “irregularity and unpredictability”.


The results of this study revealed that menarche experience for most of the women was a negative experience. Feelings of being fearful, shocked or worried could be influenced by inadequate preparation for menstruation. They reveived insufficient information from school or their friends and their mothers, specifically. Menstruation is shameful, kept secret and is usually hidden from men. Most of them experienced menstruation as a sickness and considered menstruating women as impure who must obey religious rules. Some of them had symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. For some women menstruation was both painful and pleasing and its irregularity and unpredictability made women anxious. The findings of this study highlight the effect of sociocultural factors on the menstruation experience.

Keywords: experience; Iranian women; menarche; menstruation; qualitative


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About the article

Received: 2018-01-09

Accepted: 2018-05-27

Published Online: 2018-10-20

Citation Information: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 20180008, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2018-0008.

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