Drivers of menstrual material disposal and washing practices: A systematic review

Hannah Jayne Robinson, Dani Barrington

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Disposal and washing facilities and services for menstrual materials are often designed based upon technical specifications rather than an in-depth understanding of what drives peoples’ choices of practices.

Objectives and data sources:
This systematic review identified and summarised the main behavioural drivers pertaining to the choice of disposal and washing practices of menstrual materials through the thematic content analysis and study appraisal of 82 publications (80 studies) on menstrual health and hygiene published since 1999, reporting the outcomes of primary research across 26 countries.

Results: Disposal and washing behaviours are primarily driven by the physical state of sanitation facilities; however, this is intrinsically linked to taboos surrounding and knowledge of menstruation.

Implications: Using reasons given for disposal and washing practices by menstruators or those who know them well, or inferred by authors of the reviewed studies, we identify the key considerations needed to design facilities and services which best suit the desired behaviours of both planners and those who menstruate.

Registration: The review protocol is registered on PROSPERO: 42019140029

Inclusivity: The term menstruators is used throughout to encompass all those mentioned in the studies reviewed (girls and women); although no studies explicitly stated including non-binary or transgender participants, this review uses inclusive language that represents the spectrum of genders that may experience menstruation.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0260472
JournalPLoS One
Issue number12 December
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2021


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