Did you know that your vaginal pH balance plays a major role in your vagina's overall wellbeing? When the delicate pH balance is thrown off, you will likely notice itching or an unusual odor, which could be sign of a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. Below we address what vaginal pH balance is, what is normal pH balance, how to tell if your vaginal pH balance is off and some key tips and considerations to keep your vagina happy.
What Is Vaginal pH?
pH measures how alkaline or acidic something is on a scale of 0 to 14. For reference, a pH of 7 indicates something is neutral. Below 7 is more acidic, while above is more basic.
What is a normal vaginal pH balance?
A vagina with an acidic pH of around 3.8 and 4.5 is considered "normal." Anything out of this range can cause symptoms such as abnormal discharge or strange odors. It's important to note that your pH values fluctuate throughout your menstrual cycle and is affected by bacteria coming from your gut and other irritants such as tampons, lubes, or semen.
The "magical" bleaching properties of vaginal pH
The vagina contains ‘good’ bacteria, like lactobacilli, which keeps the vagina healthy by maintaining the optimum acidity level. In turn, it prevents bad bacteria from causing any issues, like infection. This discharge bumps up during ovulation and pregnancy due to an increase in cervical mucus. When exposed to air, the acid of discharge can discolor clothing, but it's important to keep in mind that that's a normal, healthy discharge for your vagina. In a way, it's pretty impressive, right?
How do you know if your vahinal pH balance is off and what happens when it is?
Changes in the vaginal environment can happen due to a number of common everyday disruptors. Some are:
- Period blood: raises the pH in the vagina
- Semen: has a pH of 7.1 to 8 and can increase vaginal pH.
- Antibiotics: kills off both good and bad bacteria, which are needed for a happy vagina
- Douching: can disrupt the pH, and facilitate the growth of harmful bacteria
- Synthetic & scented products can wreak havoc on the pH balance
Signs that something is off include itching, discharge and fishy smell. One thing to note is that these signs don’t always point to a pH imbalance, so make sure to see your GP if you’re experiencing them consistently or for an extended period.
How can I test my vaginal pH?
Your amazing vagina regulates itself like a legit superstar, so there’s no need to test your pH levels regularly. There are over-the-counter tests available to check your pH levels, but if you experience the symptoms mentioned above, a test at your OB/GYN or health care provider may identify the culprit so you can treat it based on the cause.
An at-home test also can’t diagnose the underlying problem if your pH is really thrown off. It’s best to just let your doctor do the testing.
Tips for keeping your vagina happy
There are few best practices you can follow to help your vaginal maintain a healthy pH balance. Beyond maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding douching try these:
Keep it clean
While it’s important to clean your vulva (exernal part), your vagina is able to clean itself.
Wash your vulva regularly with lukewarm water or a natural cleanser – make sure to avoid scented perfumes soaps that will change your pH-levels. We beg - avoid douching, as it will only wreak havoc to your natural pH levels. Harsh, synthetic fragrances can create chaos, leading into more offensive odors.
NOTE: make sure to wipe from front to back and use Lunette Intimate Wipes between showers, hot days and after sweaty workout sessions. Especially during your period, it’s good to remove sweat and other discharge to help manage odors and infections.
Choice of undies
The type of undies you choose might not be a sole cause of a bacterial or yeast infection, but can contribute to irritation, and worsen preexisting problems in the area. Cotton is breathable and helps absorb the excess moisture like sweat and fluids from your body that might throw off your natural pH levels. Tight, synthetic underwear can suffocate your vagina and create moisture, so remember to let it breathe! ;)
Raw probiotic pills are a vagina’s best friend. Eating probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh, or miso can also make a great impact. Let’s not forget about cranberry juice – that stuff is full of acidic compounds that will fight off bacteria and keep your vagina happy. One thing to avoid - foods with a high level of sugar can trigger an overgrowth of yeast, affecting your vaginal odor.
Switch to a menstrual cup
Menstrual cups can help maintain a healthy vaginal pH - especially since the Lunette cup won't dry you out. The medical-grade silicone used in Lunette is FDA approved, hypoallergenic, toxin-free, durable, and isn't harmful to human tissue!
Some conventional period products contain materials & toxic chemicals which can dry and disturb your vagina’s pH balance, leading to possible infections, thrush or bacterial vaginosis.
Cleanse after sex
Since semen has an elevated pH and lubricants may lead to odors, give your vagina a quick cleanse after intercourse with Lunette Intimate Wipes to maintain natural bacteria and pH levels.
The most effective approach to maintaining healthy vaginal pH is by taking all the necessary precautions outlined above. Stock up on Lunette Intimate Wipes and switch to a Lunette Cup to give your vagina the ultimate TLC it deserves.
How to look after your pH balance? Try our NEW Intimate Range today! Click here to shop.