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Published June 2021

How to restore and maintain pH levels in your vagina

How to restore and maintain pH levels in your vagina

The pH level of your vagina plays an important role in your overall vaginal health, helping to maintain a healthy environment and preventing the growth of bacteria. It’s important that you understand how to restore and maintain pH levels in your vagina.

The health of your vagina should be taken seriously. Millions of women, in all corners of the world, struggle to maintain normal vagina pH, so you are certainly not alone.

Here’s our guide to restoring and maintaining pH levels in your vagina.

What is vaginal pH?

pH is a measurement that is used to find how acidic or alkaline a substance is. When measuring pH levels, the scale runs from 0 to 14. The pH level of your vagina can indicate whether or not it is healthy. pH 7 is neither acidic or alkaline and is called neutral pH, higher than pH 7 is alkaline and lower than pH 7 is acidic.

What is a typical vaginal pH?

Woman holding herself after balancing the pH in her vagina

When measuring the pH level of your vagina, a typical pH level reading will be between 3.8 and 4.5[1], which indicates that your vagina is moderately acidic. This is because Lactobacilli bacteria living in the vagina secrete lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide[2].

What does a high vaginal pH level mean?

A vaginal pH above 4.5 creates the perfect environment for unhealthy bacteria to grow. This can put you at risk of vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis (BV), which can cause women to experience the development of an unpleasant odour, vaginal itching or an unusual vaginal discharge[3].

Although this condition is not necessarily harmful, it can be uncomfortable and places women at an increased risk of developing more serious infections.

What can change the pH levels in your vagina?

There are several factors that can change the pH levels in your vagina including:

Unprotected sex

Unprotected sex has been linked to changes in pH levels in the vagina. Semen is an alkaline and can cause bacteria to multiply and grow[4].

Antibiotics

Although antibiotics are designed to kill bad bacteria which can cause many of us to feel poorly, they can also kill the good bacteria that you need to maintain a healthy, more acidic vaginal pH level[1].

Douching

Washing or cleaning the vagina using douching methods can wash away vital good bacteria and affect the pH balance[2].

Menstruation

Your menstrual blood can raise the pH in the vagina, especially when your period is absorbed into a tampon or pad[3].

Bacterial vaginosis (BV)

As mentioned above, BV can occur if there is a change in conditionals that allows growth of ‘bad’  bacteria in the vagina[4].

Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal dryness, caused by factors such as stress, diabetes, the pill etc, can also impact the pH level of your vagina.

Happy women with balanced pH levels in their vaginas

How to maintain pH levels in your vagina

There are several ways to help maintain a healthy pH level in your vagina, including:

  • Using a condom when you have sex can help, particularly if you’re sensitive to the alkaline pH of semen
  • Use a pH matched intimate wash, such as AH! YES CLEANSE, and use it only on the  outside of your vagina when you shower
  • Take probiotics as often as you can
  • Change your tampon/pad as often as possible or use a menstrual cup
  • Eat yogurt – this is a great source of the beneficial bacterial species of Lactobacillus
  • When choosing a water-based lubricant or vaginal moisturiser, opt for one that is balanced to the vaginal pH such as AH! YES WB and AH! YES VM.

Remember, you should always get regular vaginal examinations to maintain your vaginal health. If anything feels or looks different to what’s normal for you, then make sure you seek advice from a medical professional.

[1] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322537#what-changes-vaginal-ph

[2] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322537#normal-vaginal-ph-levels

[3] https://www.bannerhealth.com/healthcareblog/better-me/should-you-be-worried-about-your-vaginal-ph

[4] https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/vaginal-ph-balance#causes

[5] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322537#what-changes-vaginal-ph

[6] https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/vaginal-douching-helpful-or-harmful

[7] https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/vaginal-ph-balance

[8] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bacterial-vaginosis/

 

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