Vaginal pH (3.8 to 4.5)
pH (potential of hydrogen) is a crucial factor that symbolizes the acidity and alkalinity of the solutions and present in your body. Likewise, the pH of your vagina is also indicative of its health.
Ideally, a woman’s vagina is slightly acidic and it should range somewhere between 3.8 to 4.5. However, if there’s no infection, your vagina is healthy yet the pH has shot up to 6 or 7 then it indicates menopause.
The secretions of the vagina contribute to acidic pH and they help to keep the vagina clean and hygienic.
Importance of vaginal pH
If your vaginal pH is within the normal range, it means the good bacteria present in those secretions are maintaining a balance of healthy flora.
For example- lactobacillus protects the vagina against infections and inflammation and prevents excessive growth of other harmful organisms. Lactic acid is naturally produced in the vagina and it acts like a defense against all sorts of infections including bacterial vaginosis, strep infections and yeast infections.
Simply put, your personal well being never gets compromised when the pH is appropriate.
If you sense burning, irritation, itching, foul smell or any other discomfort in the vagina then it’s quite likely that the pH balance has shifted to the higher side and you might have gotten vaginal infection.
Other factors that usually affect vaginal pH are: menstruation, use of contraceptive devices, retention of tampoons, estrogen deficiency, and over rinsing the vagina.
How to check the pH of the vagina
You can buy a home pH testing kit from a pharmacy. Read the instructions carefully before taking up the test. Once you place the paper against the wall of your vagina, its color will change. Now you have to match the color with the standard indicator strip to know your vaginal pH.
You can report to your doctor if you observe higher value of pH. Under such circumstances, your doctor would recommend additional tests (e.g. wet mount of vaginal secretions) to determine the cause of fluctuation.
How to maintain healthy vaginal pH
There are several ways that would ensure healthy environment in your vagina and you can easily incorporate them in your daily care regimen.
Douching- not really needed!
If you do not know how to douche then do not try it! Moreover, doctors are not really in favor of douching your vagina. It rather induces imbalance in vaginal flora.
Keep your vagina clean
Always use mild soap in your vagina. Avoid using perfumed and deodorant based products that rip of healthy bacteria. Rinse the vagina and vulvar region gently, without flushing. If you are menstruating then do it more often.
Changing tampoons and sanitary napkins
Ideally you should change tampoons and napkins at an interval of 4-6 hours. Never leave them for long time as it promotes growth of microorganisms because the pH of your blood is alkaline.
Use of condoms during intercourse
It’s advised to wear condoms or insist your partner to wear condoms while having intercourse. The semen is alkaline in nature and it can destroy the healthy flora of your vagina, thereby raising the pH.
Diet for healthy vaginal pH
Yogurt is the best solution! You can go for probiotic yogurt or buttermilk to maintain healthy vaginal pH. Also include soy beans or soy milk to increase estrogen in your body.
Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: September 22, 2014