Protocol for the Adolescent Menstrual Experiences and Health Cohort (AMEHC) Study in Khulna, Bangladesh: A Prospective cohort to quantify the influence of menstrual health on adolescent girls’ health and education outcomes


Menstrual health is essential for gender equity and the well-being of women and girls. Qualitative research has described the burden of poor menstrual health on health and education; however, these impacts have not been quantified, curtailing investment. The Adolescent Menstrual Experiences and Health Cohort (AMEHC) Study aims to describe menstrual health and its trajectories across adolescence, and quantify the relationships between menstrual health and girls’ health and education in Khulna, Bangladesh.

Methods and analysis

AMEHC is a prospective longitudinal cohort of 2016 adolescent girls recruited at the commencement of class 6 (secondary school, mean age=12) across 101 schools selected through a proportional random sampling approach. Each year, the cohort will be asked to complete a survey capturing (1) girls’ menstrual health and experiences, (2) support for menstrual health, and (3) health and education outcomes. Survey questions were refined through qualitative research, cognitive interviews and pilot survey in the year preceding the cohort. Girls’ guardians will be surveyed at baseline and wave 2 to capture their perspectives and household demographics. Annual assessments will capture schools’ water, sanitation and hygiene, and support for menstruation and collect data on participants’ education, including school attendance and performance (in maths, literacy). Cohort enrolment and baseline survey commenced in February 2023. Follow-up waves are scheduled for 2024, 2025 and 2026, with plans for extension. A nested subcohort will follow 406 post-menarche girls at 2-month intervals throughout 2023 (May, August, October) to describe changes across menstrual periods. This protocol outlines a priori hypotheses regarding the impacts of menstrual health to be tested through the cohort.

Ethics and dissemination

AMEHC has ethical approval from the Alfred Hospital Ethics Committee (369/22) and BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health Institutional Review Board (IRB-06 July 22-024). Study materials and outputs will be available open access through peer-reviewed publication and study web pages.


Adolescent, Dysmenorrhea, EPIDEMIOLOGY, Health Equity, Health policy, PUBLIC HEALTH

Author Hennegan J et al.
Journal BMJ Open
Published 10 April 2024
Volume 14
Issue 4
Pagination e079451
DOI 10.1136/bmjopen-2023-079451