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Objective: The present study aims to evaluate the relationship between genital hygiene practices and genital infection in a group of university students.
Materials and methods: This is a descriptive study conducted with female students residing in Sakarya State Student Dormitory between the 1st of February and 30th of May 2011. State student dormitory of Sakarya city accommodate students who attend Sakarya University. 1653 students reside in this state student dormitory and 1057 (63.94%) of these who were willing to participate constituted the study group. Then interview forms, developed in line with the study purpose, were completed by the students who were supervised during the process. Familial income was graded as poor, moderate or good according to student’s perception. Obtained data were analyzed on computers with the SPSS statistics package software (version 15.0) and chi-square (χ2) test was used for analyses.
Results: History of genital infection was identified in 13.0%. Hosiery/cotton underwear was preferred by 93.4% of the students and 38.1% favoured white-coloured underwear. Of the students, 47.2% changed underwear daily and 71.2% used daily pads. “Front to rear” genital cleaning was favoured by 67.8%, 97.6% used “pads” during menstrual periods, 54.1% changed pads 6 times or more a day and 57.3% used “perfumes” for undesirable scent. No relationship was noted between the frequency of genital infections and the departments the students were studying, their years at school, age groups and mothers’ level of education (p>0.05). Likewise, the frequency of genital infections was not significantly related to how frequent the students changed their underwear or how many times they replaced the materials daily during the menstrual period in our study group (p>0.05). The frequency of genital infection was higher among the students who bathed in sitting position or once or less a week, who did not perform genital cleaning and who used daily pads (p<0.05).
Conclusion: The present study determined a higher frequency of genital infection among the students with improper genital hygiene practices.