Menstrual Cycle Self-Care Practices and Patterns of Thai Working Women

Tuesday, 14 July 2009: 10:50 AM

Donna Huddleston, PhD
Stone & Co., LLC, Cumming, GA
Puangtip Chaiphibalsarisdi, PhD
Faculty of Nursing, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, NA, Thailand
Beverly J. McElmurry, EdD, FAAN
Global Health Leadership Office, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing, Chicago, IL
Chang Park, PhD
Department of Health Systems Science, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL

Learning Objective 1: describe the self-care practices of Thai working women related to their menstrual cycle.

Learning Objective 2: discuss how the menstrual cycle patterns of Thai working women modulate with self care and discomfort and explore probable reasons for modulations.

Purpose: In Thailand, 530 working women participated in exploring the relationship of menstrual cycle events and experiences, self care practices, and discomfort within that culture.

Methods: Data were collected using the Menstrual Health Measurement (MHM) questionnaire developed by a Thai woman researcher. The women participants randomly selected from the personnel roster of a large factory in an urban area of Thailand ranged in age from 12-47 who had menstruated within the last month. All had completed mandatory education. Informed consent was obtained. SPSS 15, AMOS 7 and Latent Gold were used in data analysis.

Results: Cycle length was 27.8 days with mean flow duration of 4.16 days. These working women continued the traditional self care protocols, including drinking warm water to promote menstrual health. Three distinct cluster groupings or menstrual cycle patterns were identified; income, children, and oral contraceptive use were significant variables in defining these groups. Discomfort was statistically significant (F=7.44, df=2, p=0.007) and the premenstrual self-care scores showed a marked difference among the three groups (F=5.93, df=2, p=0.003). Backache was the major discomfort during the premenstrual days and menstrual cramping was the major discomfort during the menstrual days.

Conclusion: This study supports the hypothesis that self care practices modulate with menstrual cycle patterns and with discomfort. Also, traditional self-care practices are relevant to nursing assessment, planning, intervention, and evaluation as many Thai women continue traditional self-care practices handed down from generation to generation.