Menstrual hygiene management is a global public health issue that requires local and individualized support to reduce activity limitations and enable safe, independent task performance for people with impaired body functions.
How do women with blindness or low vision self-manage their menstrual hygiene to promote independence, and what do they recommend occupational therapists incorporate in education for young women when working in this field?
Phenomenological design revealing lived experience expertise. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six women who are blind or have low vision aged 16-70 in Australia. The resulting data transcripts were coded and analyzed thematically using the Person-Environment Occupation Performance Model as an organizing framework.
Participants reported a range of personal (touch) and organizational strategies relying on environmental cues such as regular times for changing sanitary items, lining up pads using underwear seams and wearing dark clothing to disguise leaks. Participants suggested that group occupational therapy education sessions be used to promote self-management.
The lived experience of women who successfully self-manage menstrual hygiene with blindness or low vision has generated evidence to inform the development of therapist-mediated interventions and resources that could be applied with women across a range of clinical populations.