Talking about vaginal pH is probably not a popular topic on girls’ nights, but making sure it is balanced is very important. A normal pH level for the vagina is between 3.8 and 4.5, which is more on the acidic side, and if it drops lower or higher for a longer period of time, there can be numerous consequences.
There are a variety of ways to maintain the correct pH level. These include proper hygiene practices, post-sexual care and using the best type of tampon applicator.
Signs of Imbalance
Having a pH level that is too high typically causes the main issues. When the level runs on the alkaline side, which is above 7.0, this can attract and grow bacteria. This leads to infections, such as bacterial vaginosis and urinary tract infections, and an increased risk of STDs. Signs that the pH levels are off include:
- Unusual discharge such as chunky, foamy or watery
- Burning while urinating or having sex
- Unpleasant, fishy odor
If you suspect pH imbalance, you can test it with a pH strip. These can be found in your doctor’s office or at a pharmacy.
Causes of Unbalanced pH
If you understand what causes an imbalance of pH, it is easier to practice prevention. The presence of good bacteria is one of the ways the vagina maintains its more acidic pH level. The use of antibiotics kills bad bacteria, but it also affects the number of good bacteria, so they cause changes to the normal level.
Having unprotected sex also leads to a higher pH, as semen is much more basic. Douching also changes the pH levels, as it removes good bacteria.
Pregnancy, breast feeding and menopause all change pH levels. During these stages, it may be wise to monitor pH regularly to help avoid infections. Having your period can also raise levels because blood is more alkaline, and it gathers on a pad or tampon. This is one of the many reasons using best organic tampons is important.
Tips to Maintain ProperpH Levels
Dealing with vaginal infections is not fun, and if you follow certain tips you will have the best chance of avoiding them.
Healthy Sexual Practices
Using a condom is always a good idea, and it helps to normalize pH levels. The barrier prevents the vagina from coming into contact with alkaline semen, and it prevents sexually transmitted diseases. Whether you use one or not, you should always urinate immediately after sex to expel any bacteria that may have been introduced.
Use Cotton Products for Menstruation
Using tampons and pads that are made out of synthetic fiber can impede the balance of bad and good bacteria. Switch to organic cotton period pads or 100% organic cotton tampons. You should also change these regularly and never keep them on for longer than six hours at a time.
Probiotics help boost the number of good bacteria in the vagina and protect against bad bacteria. You can use supplements or increase your intake of food such as organic cultured yogurt or non-dairy kefir.
Maintain Proper Vaginal pH
There are many ways to ensure the pH levels of the vagina remain at a healthy level. Follow the previous tips and look for products that encourage good bacteria and help fight off the bad kind.