Vaginal health isn’t just about what happens down there. It’s also about the health of the surrounding areas, including your entire body. And while addressing vaginal health is often viewed as taboo in the Muslim community, it is important that we create access to information and resources for Muslim women so that they may learn more about how to take care of all aspects of their body.
This checklist will help you take care of yourself so that your vagina — and everything else it connects to — can stay healthy and happy!
Be mindful of vaginal discharge, spotting, and bleeding
Vaginal discharge is normal and healthy. It helps maintain the health of your vagina by keeping it clean, removing old cells from the walls, and preventing infections.
Vaginal discharge has a range of colors and textures. It can be clear or white, sticky or watery, thick or thin. The texture often depends on where you are in your menstrual cycle, but there are other factors that can influence how much discharge you have at any given time — including medications you may be taking, hormonal changes in your body (like those that occur during pregnancy), stress levels, and more.
It’s important to know what your normal discharge looks like so you can spot signs of infection earlier. Vaginal discharge that has a foul odor or is a color other than your usual discharge may signal an infection.
Eat well-balanced meals to help avoid disease
The next step is to eat well-balanced meals. To help prevent disease and keep your vaginal health in tip-top shape, try to include five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
In addition to these foods, be sure to limit your consumption of the following:
- White bread, white rice, and other refined carbohydrates can cause an increase in sugar levels in the body.
- Sugar-sweetened drinks (including fruit juice).
- Trans fats found in baked goods, such as cookies or pastries made with margarine instead of solid vegetable shortening.
Think about what you’re putting in (and on) your body
It’s important to avoid irritating your vagina, including through the products you use on it. If you have a vaginal infection, be sure to consult your doctor before using any over-the-counter remedies.
- Perfumes, talc, and other products that can irritate the vagina should be avoided.
- Avoid douching since it can upset the balance of bacteria in your vagina and increase the risk of infection.
- Scented tampons and panty liners may also cause irritation if used too often before puberty or after menopause, as well as during sex. Look for unscented alternatives from companies like Natracare, Goddess Garden Organics, and Organic Matters, for example.
- Vaginal sprays containing alcohol are not recommended because they can dry out sensitive skin inside or outside of the vaginas. The same applies to wipes containing fragrances like lavender oil — check with your doctor first before using them!
Monitor your symptoms as you age
As you age, it’s important to take care of your vagina. Vaginal health can change during different parts of your life — for example, menopause, pregnancy, and breastfeeding all have an impact on the vagina.
Take this Vaginal Health Quiz to make sure everything is going well down there!
Take care of your vagina and it will take care of you
Vaginal health is important for overall health. It’s important to take care of your vagina because if you don’t, it might not be able to take care of you.
There are many things that can negatively impact vaginal health, including diabetes and obesity. If you notice any changes in your vaginal area or have any questions or concerns about your vaginal health, talk with your doctor.
Hopefully, by now, you feel more confident about your vaginal health. If not, don’t worry — you’re not alone!
There are a lot of things that can go wrong down there and it can be hard to tell when something just isn’t right. But don’t let yourself get discouraged or scared; instead, start by educating yourself on the signs of a healthy vagina so that you know what to look out for. Then keep an eye on what you eat and drink, watch out for infection-causing bacteria in your everyday products (especially those with alcohol), and keep track of discharge and bleeding, as well as any other symptoms that may indicate disease or infection, such as burning or itching. And lastly, share your concerns with your doctor. If you aren’t yet seeing a gynecologist, you should be — even if you aren’t yet sexually active.