The pH measures the acidity and basicity of a material (alkaline). Your vagina has its pH balance, as do other regions of your body. Infection prevention, hormonal variations, and healthy pregnancies depend on your vaginal pH level. It is vital to maintain your vaginal pH balance to keep it healthy.
The lower the pH, the more acidic it is. For instance, a pH value less than 7 is acidic, whereas a value more than 7 is considered basic. As a general rule, a healthy vaginal pH is less than 4.5. Having a lower value indicates that your vaginal environment is more acidic. A high pH environment can lead to vaginal infections because harmful bacteria and yeast can grow.
Doctors can detect the acidity of the vaginal environment using a pH meter at home. In this post, you will find out more about typical vaginal pH levels, how to maintain them, possible remedies, and how to test them at home.
What Is Vaginal pH Balance?
The pH scale is 0 to 14, where 0 is the most acidic and 14 is the most basic. According to this definition, acidic is a pH of less than 7, while alkaline is more than 7. (basic). A "normal" vaginal pH ranges from 3.8 to 4.5, which is somewhat acidic. Bacteria can't thrive in an acidic environment. Therefore the vagina acts as a natural barrier. Bacterial overgrowth is more likely if the pH of your vagina gets too alkaline.
Since your vaginal pH may be overly alkaline, how can you tell? Here are a few ways to figure it out:
The Color and Texture of the Discharge Have Been Altered
White, gray, or yellow vaginal discharge with a cottage cheese-like texture may be present in your body. Discharge in the normal range is usually clear to white.
Changes in the Odor of the Waste
Smells of fish may be noticeable. The scent of a healthy discharge might be extremely subtle, and it can even be completely odorless in some cases.
Itching and Discomfort in the Vulva and Vagina
Your vagina may be itchy around the opening, or you may experience burning and pain while peeing. A yeast infection or Bacterial vaginosis (BV) may also be symptoms of an alkalized vagina.
What Is a Healthy or Normal Vaginal pH?
The pH of a woman's vagina should be between 3.8 and 4.5. Meaning it's acidic, but the acidity decreases with age, rising closer to a pH of 5 as a result. Keep fungal and bacterial infections at bay by keeping the pH level in this range. Vaginal bacteria produce hydrogen peroxide and lactic acid that contribute to the vagina's acidic pH level.
A person's vaginal pH can change with time. Before and after menopause, it is typically higher than 4.5Trusted Source, but it can be lower. During a woman's reproductive years, her vaginal pH is typically less than 4.5, except if a condition or infection causes it to rise.
Vaginal pH Balance Symptoms
Numerous factors can contribute to a vaginal pH imbalance, which stimulates the development of unhealthy bacteria and yeasts. Bacterial infections or other health problems can be associated with an imbalanced pH level in the vaginal fluid. If you're suffering from any of the typical symptoms of an infection, your vaginal pH balance may be out of whack.
Aside from doing a test, how can you know if the acidity of the vaginal fluid is out of whack? Only by going to the doctor may you receive an accurate diagnosis. Some of these signs and symptoms are as follows:
A strong, fishy stench emanating from your vaginal region
- Vaginal discharge that is grey, green, or frothy
- Itching in and around the vaginal area
- Swelling and discomfort in the area around the vaginal opening
- Having pain or a burning sensation in the vaginal area when having sex
- When urinating, you might get a burning feeling. A urinary tract infection might be the cause of a burning sensation when urinating (UTI)
These are signs and symptoms of common illnesses such as bacterial vaginosis, Trichomoniasis, and yeast infections, among other things. The vast majority of these illnesses are classified as vaginitis, a more general term. Vaginitis is irritation or inflammation of the vaginal region and associated tissues.
Not all infections provide these signs. Also, some discharge is common in many females and does not signal a health concern. Unbalanced discharge may change color, quantity, or odor. Inquire about your discharge with a doctor.
Why Is a Vaginal pH Imbalance a Problem?
To keep your vagina healthy, it relies on the delicate bacterial colonies and yeasts that reside there. Contact with semen, douching, or menstruation can affect the pH level of the vaginal area, which can lead to discomfort, discharge, and unpleasant smells.
A rise in the pH of your vagina might allow yeasts and bacteria to establish a colony, which can lead to unpleasant smells and symptoms such as soreness, burning, itching, or discharge as a result of the following
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Yeast Infections
If you experience severe vaginal discomfort or strange symptoms, see your doctor, who can diagnose and treat you to alleviate them and check out more chronic infections.
Vaginal pH Balance Test
The vaginal pH levels may be tested at home using kits available for purchase. In certain pharmacies and online, you may find these kits. The kits include specific vaginal paper and a color chart. The paper's color varies with vaginal pH. pH ranges produce distinct hues. The test will not reveal your illness kind. Even without an infection, your vaginal pH might alter.
Strips for measuring vaginal pH are available, and you may acquire them through a pharmacy or online. To determine if the acid levels are out of whack, you can utilize this tool. The strips are applied to the vaginal wall and left there for a predetermined period.
Menstruation and intercourse might impact test findings. It's recommended to follow instructions first before beginning. Tests for acidity and alkaline levels may be correct, but they cannot detect yeast or bacterial vaginosis. A doctor can do a vaginal pH test if you are concerned about these issues. If a test does not detect any abnormalities, it does not always suggest that a person is free of an illness. Symptoms may not always be present, but they can arise at any time.
Furthermore, bacterial vaginosis vs yeast infection, are they also affected by vaginal ph balance? the answer could be. Therefore, it is necessary to consult a doctor
Vaginal pH Balance Remedies
Every year, you'll find millions of women battling to get their vaginal pH back to normal. It is essential to consult a doctor frequently to keep your vaginal pH in check as a preventative step. Here are some of the remedies to restore your vaginal pH balance:
Consider Utilizing Boric Acid Suppositories
Boric acid is an inexpensive, readily available treatment for BV that has been in use for more than a century. After carrying out an additional study, you can establish therapeutic efficacy in BV treatment. Before taking antibiotics, you should consider utilizing boric acid suppositories if your symptoms are minor. At your local drugstore or online, you may purchase boric acid suppositories.
Increase Your Intake of Probiotics
Lactobacilli are present in probiotic supplements and many fermented foods. The bacteria not only combat illness but also maintain a healthy vaginal pH. You can take Lactobacilli orally in probiotic foods or apply intravaginally. Probiotics and fermented foods might help boost lactobacilli in the vaginal microbiome. But they do not limit harmful bacteria development entirely.
Use Sex Barrier Measures
Increased exposure to spermatozoa, which alkalizes the vagina, may raise BV risk. During intercourse, a condom may help protect vaginal flora. Similarly, dental dams and finger cots during intercourse may help avoid bacterial contamination.
Consult With Your Gynecologist or Obstetrician
Consult with your gynecologist or obstetrician when your symptoms become severe, or they go untreated with natural remedies. You can maintain a healthy vagina with regular examinations.
Should You Be Worried About Your Vaginal pH?
Vaginal pH is slightly more acidic than the rest of the body and must remain so to be "healthy." Because acidity defends against dangerous bacteria, yeast, and illnesses, so, sure, your vaginal pH matters.
While your period, medications, intercourse, harsh soaps, reduced estrogen levels, and douching can all change your vaginal pH, these symptoms don't always imply an off-pH level. If you have reoccurring infections, UTIs, or pain, you should see your doctor, who may prescribe probiotics, over-the-counter vaginal gels or creams, or prescription-strength products.
The good news is that most women don't need to think about their vaginal pH. It is self-cleaning and may quickly restore its pH. Vaginal pH is usually fine if you don't have infections or pain.
How to Maintain Your Vaginal Ph Balance?
You may make simple efforts to sustain a good pH level in the vaginal fluid and avoid infections.
When Having Sex, Use Condoms
The penis, like the vagina, is home to its bacteria. If such bacteria come into touch with the vaginal environment during unprotected intercourse, they might cause illnesses in your body. Using a condom helps keep bacteria or other germs found on the surface of the penis isolated from the rest of the vaginal region.
Do Not Use Douching
Instead, use soap and water to clean the region surrounding your vaginal opening. Despite antibiotics helping you stop vaginal yeast infections and other infections by killing bacteria in your body, they can affect vaginal ph. If your vaginal flora gets destroyed, you may end up with an imbalance in your pH.
Vaginal self-cleaning is a fact of life. Use a light soap and water to clean the exterior of your genitals when you shower. Ask your OB-GYN for guidance if you're concerned about odor.
Make a Change in Your Dietary Habits
Many varieties of yogurt have high concentrations of bacteria that normally colonize your vaginal tract. Keeping sugary, processed items such as white bread and rice out of your diet will help you avoid yeast infections and maintain good vaginal health.
Dress in Appropriate Attire
Tight clothes can restrict airflow to your vagina, increasing the risk of developing vaginitis. Underwear made of cotton, jeans that are a little looser fitting, and tights having a cotton patch over the vaginal area are all good choices.
Change Pads and Tampons Frequently
Being in touch with blood during menstruation elevates your vagina's pH level to 7.4. Vaginal acidity drops if menstrual blood remains on a pad or tampon against the vagina for a lengthy period.
Have Some Yogurt
Lactobacillus, a helpful bacterium, is found in abundance in yogurt, making it an excellent source of vitamin D and Calcium.
Maintaining a healthy vaginal pH can help avoid infections and complications. Doctors rarely utilize vaginal pH to identify medical disorders like yeast infections or menopause. But vaginal pH testing can help confirm a diagnosis.
Fortunately, there are natural ways to restore vaginal pH balance. Take boric acid, probiotics, or garlic supplements, and avoid douches and scented feminine hygiene products. Visit your gynecologist if your symptoms worsen or do not improve with natural remedies.