Use of menstrual sanitary products in women of reproductive age: Korea nurses' health study

Hansol Choi, Nam Kyoo Lim, Heeja Jung, Oksoo Kim, Hyun Young Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objectives: The use of menstrual hygiene products and its effect on women's health remains under studied. Patterns of menstrual hygiene product use and the rationale behind choices among Korean women aged 18-45 years were examined. Methods: This cross-sectional study was a part of the Korea Nurses' Health Study. A total of 20,613 nurses participated, and 8,658 nurses participated in Module 7 which included a menstrual hygiene products-related survey. The data were collected through the mobile survey using a self-reported questionnaire. Participants' use of menstrual hygiene products and related characteristics were analyzed using frequency (percentage) or mean (SD). Results: The most common types of menstrual hygiene products across all age groups were disposable menstrual pads (89.0%), followed by cloth menstrual pads (4.5%), tampons (4.2%), and only 1.6% used a menstrual cup. Disposable menstrual pads were the most common across all age groups, but in those aged under 30 years this was followed by tampon use (6%). The most important criteria when choosing a menstrual hygiene product was comfort for disposable menstrual pads (31.3%) and tampons (41.5%), natural ingredients or organic products for cloth menstrual pads (51.4%), and custom fit for the menstrual cup (50.7%). However, for all menstrual hygiene products (except cloth menstrual pads), there was a higher proportion of anxiety than perception of safety, and low awareness of toxic shock syndrome. Conclusion: It is important for women to use menstrual hygiene products with confidence. More research is needed to better understand potential health effects of menstrual hygiene products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-28
Number of pages9
JournalOsong Public Health and Research Perspectives
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
the Korea Nurses’ Health Study for their participation in this study. This research was supported by the National Institute of Health, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Grant no: 2018-NG001-00).

Publisher Copyright:
©2021 Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license.


  • menstrual hygiene products
  • menstruation
  • nurse
  • women's health


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