A high vaginal pH is not ideal because it creates a breeding ground for unhealthy bacteria. Bacterial growth can lead to painful sex, odour, and discomfort. High pH increases your risk of getting STIs, pre-term births, and infertility. Continue reading to know more about vaginal pH levels, what is the correct balance, and how to maintain a good balance.
What does pH balance mean?
pH measures the acidity or alkalinity of a substance and it ranges from 0-14. Acidic substances have lower numbers. A healthy vaginal pH is 3.8-4.2 which is acidic. Your vaginal pH levels play a vital role in the health of your vagina. The vaginal environment needs to be acidity to keep infections at bay. The healthy microbes known as lactobacilli maintain your vaginal acidity by producing hydrogen peroxide and lactic acidic.
When there are not enough healthy microbes in your vagina, it leads to infections. Estrogen, a female sex hormone encourages the growth of healthy lactobacilli and acidic in the vagina. The progesterone and estrogen levels change throughout your life and during your menstrual cycle. As they change, your vaginal pH also changes.
What increases your pH?
- Menstrual period — blood has a pH of 7.4 which is more alkaline compared to the vaginal pH of below 4.5. As a result, it can increase the pH levels when you have a heavy period.
- Unprotected intercourse — semen has a pH of 7.1 which can elevate the vaginal pH levels.
- Douching — vaginal infusion with water can affect the pH levels. Water has a pH of 7.
- Medications — birth control pills and antihistamines can dry out the vagina and affect the pH.
- Hormones — menopause, pregnancy, and menstrual cycle can alter your hormone levels and change the vagina pH.
Why is a good vaginal pH balance important?
A good pH balance is not only for your underarms and hair but your vagina as well. It's ideal to have a slightly acidic vagina. In an acidic environment, it's hard for bacteria to grow out of control. Having an acidic vaginal is protective. It gives your vagina the barrier to protect the unhealthy bacteria from growing quickly and leading to an infection.
When you have a high pH level of above 4.5, it makes the environment at high risk of unhealthy bacterial growth. A high vaginal pH puts you at risk of getting the following infections:
- Bacterial vaginosis (BV) — it's a condition with a smelly odour and a white, yellow discharge. It can cause vaginal itching and burning during intercourse or urination.
- Trichomoniasis (trich) — it's a common sexually transmitted disease that affects more women than men. It usually does not have any symptoms. Trich is caused by a parasite transferred to the vagina during intercourse.
A low pH balance less than 4.5 creates a thriving environment for fungus and may cause a yeast infection. Although yeast is present in a healthy vagina when there is an overgrowth of the good bacteria, you are susceptible to getting a yeast infection.
How can you keep your vagina’s pH balance under 4.5?
Use a condom when having intercourse
Semen is alkaline and can interfere with the vagina's acidity. The condom will protect you from STDs and prevent alkaline semen from interfering with your pH levels. You can get bacteria and viruses during intercourse.
Use GynaGyn BV
GynaGyn BV is not just a treatment for bacterial vaginosis it can be used to prevent bacteria from forming. Use 1-2 applications 1-2 days after your menstrual cycle or after sexual intercourse.
Douching increases your pH levels. Your vagina is self-cleaning, and douching is not recommended. Douching causes more harm by washing away the good bacteria and the pH changes could lead to infections. Douche flushes water into the vagina and clears out secretions. If you have been using a douche to clean your vagina, you should stop and only wash the outside with mild soap and water or try our GynaFresh intimate wash.
Avoid vaginal deodorants and scented wipes
Perfumed products can disrupt the healthy balance in the vagina. You can keep the vagina healthy by washing with soap and water. If you are worried about the vaginal smell, you may have an infection such as bacterial vaginosis that needs more attention.
Don't stay with tampons for too long
The blood increases your vaginal pH during your menstrual cycle. If you keep a tampon in too long it can increase your pH levels. It is recommended to change your tampons every four to six hours.
Eat a healthy diet
You should avoid processed foods, simple carbs, refined sugars because they can alter the pH. Try to consume fresh foods. Foods with anti-fungal properties like yogurt can help fight the bad bacteria and it helps you reach your quota of vitamin D and calcium.
See your Gynecologist yearly
Regular gynecological exams are vital to maintaining a healthy vagina. A Gynecologist can diagnose any diseases that can harm your vagina and reproductive system.
If you have concerns about your vaginal pH, you should talk to a doctor or if you have questions about our GynaGyn products contact us.