Menstruation is a normal physiological process in females that is a part of pubertal development (16, 17). In this cross-sectional study among secondary school girls in Herat city, only 39.2% of the participants heard about menstruation before they experience menarche. A study by Funmito Omolola Fehintola et, al. among secondary school girls in Nigeria showed that 96.4% of girls heard about menstruation before experiencing menarche (17). In another related study by Shivaleela P. Upashe et, al. in Western Ethiopia, 79.3% of girls heard about menstruation before menarche while Teketo Kassaw Tegegne et, al. study result shows that 86.7% of girls in Northeast Ethiopia heard about menstruation and menstruation hygiene before menarche (18, 19). In the general population to be polite, no one takes the name of genital systems parts, although it is part of the human body’s it would be considered as impoliteness. According to this study result, most of the girls do not know anything about menstruation when they experience menarche. This makes the menarche a bad and fearful experience for them.
In general, 53.3% of the participants of this study had a good knowledge level on menstruation and menstruation hygiene. While 81.4% of the participants who did not experience menarche had poor knowledge of menstruation and menstruation hygiene. This study also shows that 35.6% of the girls who experienced menarche had poor knowledge of menstruation and menstruation hygiene. Although 38.8% of the participants did not know that menstruation is a physiological process of the female body and 35.2% of them did not know that the source of blood in the menstrual cycle is the uterus. The study by Teketo Kassaw Tegegn et, al. showed that 51.4% of schoolgirls in Northeast Ethiopia had a good knowledge score on menstruation hygiene. Another study by Hussein Mohammed Gena in Eastern Ethiopia shows that 58.3% of schoolgirls had a good practice score on menstruation and menstruation hygiene (19, 20). Low level of knowledge of parents, thinking of menstruation as a shame are considered the main causes of the lower level of knowledge among girls. However, considering other country's girls’ knowledge scores on menstruation and menstruation hygiene, the knowledge score of the girls in this study who did not experience menstruation is surprisingly bad.
Almost one-third (32.9%) of the participants replayed that they take rest and may not even attend school during menstrual bleeding. Compared to a study by George Miiro et, al. that shows 20% of schoolgirls miss at least one day of their school during menstrual bleeding and another study by Aditi Vashisht et, al. shows that 40% of school girls missed their school during their last period. Our finding was almost in line with the study by Aditi Vashisht et, al. in Indian, in missing schools during menstruation. The reason for this match could be sharing the same beliefs and myths about menstruation among the general population of Afghanistan and India (21, 22). According to studies missing school is due to a lack of menstruation hygiene management instruments and toilets (23–30).
Mothers’ educational level association with girl’s menstruation knowledge score was not found significant in this study. Mothers’ educational level association with girl’s menstruation knowledge score was not significant. However, in families with a father’s higher educational level, a girl’s knowledge score on menstruation was found to be significant. Considering only 2.1% of the participants of this study’s primary source of information was teachers, it can be one of the reasons why the association between mothers’ educational level and girl’s knowledge score on menstruation is not significant. This shows the lack of awareness campaigns on the need to talk about menstruation in schools.