What you need to know about the vaginal microbiome and how to balance vaginal pH
While the gut microbiome often takes center stage, let's not forget about our unsung hero, the vaginal microbiome (also known as vaginal flora). This remarkable ecosystem quietly works behind the scenes to help keep our intimate health and sexual well-being in check. When this delicate balance is thrown off-kilter, it can have some serious implications. So, let's dive into why vaginal pH and the vaginal microbiome are so important!
The vaginal microbiome is a community of microorganisms that acts like a protective shield against infections. Its mission is to maintain the overall health of your vagina, and it goes through various changes during your menstrual cycle and as well as throughout life.
Meet the Good Guys: Lactobacilli
Lactobacilli are the ‘good’ bacteria hanging out inside your vagina, and they play a vital role in keeping your vaginal environment healthy. These little heroes produce lactic acid and other antimicrobial compounds, helping to balance your vaginal pH and keep the environment slightly acidic. In doing so, they fend off the growth of harmful microorganisms and provide protection against sexually transmitted infections like Chlamydia, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and Gardnerella vaginalis.
Now, let's talk about what can mess with the presence and abundance of our trusty Lactobacilli pals:
- Vaginal dryness
- Antibiotic usage
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Sexual activity
- Hygiene practices (like douching or using harsh soaps)
- Underlying medical conditions
Vaginal pH: The Nitty-Gritty
Alright, let's get down to the nitty-gritty of pH. You know, that scale that measures how acidic or alkaline water-based environments are? Well, it's more than just a number; it governs a whole bunch of bodily functions. Vaginal pH typically hangs around pH4, creating a slightly acidic environment that wards off nasty infections like Bacterial Vaginosis, yeast infections, and UTIs. But when the pH level rises above 5, it leaves us vulnerable to infection.
Understanding why vaginal pH matters can help us take better care of our intimate health and make informed choices about what products we use.
What Messes with Vaginal pH?
Your vagina’s natural acidity is your first line of defense against intimate infections, but certain lifestyle choices and medical conditions can throw it out of whack. Things like douching or using harsh soaps can disrupt healthy pH levels. Infections, antibiotics, aging, vaginal hydration, diet, and even sexual activity can lead to changes in vaginal pH . Even unprotected sex can alter pH levels, as semen has a higher pH level, making it alkaline.
Why Vaginal pH Matters
Vaginal pH isn't just about comfort; it can greatly impact our lives as women. Studies have shown that an increase in vaginal pH may even lead to serious complications like spontaneous preterm deliveries during pregnancy. There are ways to check vaginal pH levels, but it’s always best to consult your healthcare provider or OBGYN if you suspect any problems.
Checking Your Vaginal pH
You can find vaginal pH testing kits and strips in many retailers. These handy kits let you check your pH levels from the comfort of your home. Typically, you'll take a swab or place a paper 'stick' inside your vagina, and it will change color to indicate your pH level. Just be sure to follow the instructions carefully.
Restoring Vaginal pH with pH Matched Intimacy Products
When it comes to intimate health, we recommend using pH matched products specially designed for your vagina and vulva.
AH! YES® products are all certified organic and crafted with utmost care for use on your delicate vaginal and vulval tissues. Our water-based products are pH matched to the vagina, helping to restore healthy pH levels. AH! YES® WB, our water-based lubricant for sex and AH! YES® VM, our vaginal moisturizer for day-to-day dryness, irritation and pain are both natural and effective choices. Both products provide soothing relief from burning, irritation, and discomfort in and around the vagina. These products come highly recommended by a wide range of healthcare professionals and just like all AH! YES® products, are FDA cleared.
Looking for a gentle and effective feminine wash? AH! YES® CLEANSE is our range of ultra-gentle intimate foam washes, also pH matched to the vagina. Certified organic and designed to be side-effect free, AH! YES® CLEANSE washes away odor-causing bacteria without irritation.
And don't forget about our plant-oil based products! AH! YES® OB, our oil-based personal lubricant, is deeply nourishing and long-lasting, offering soothing relief from vaginal dryness and extra protection for delicate intimate tissue. AH! YES® COCO is our luxurious coconut-oil based lubricant that offers a natural plant-based alterative to silicone lubricants. It is richly soothing for dry intimate tissues and a great choice for longer love-making.
So, there you have it! Take good care of your intimate health, keep that pH in check, and embrace a healthier, happier you. Your intimate health matters, and we're here to support you every step of the way.