- What is the pH of your organs?
While most parts of the body have a pH around 7, which is neutral and slightly alkaline, women’s stomachs and vagina are acidic. It can be seen that these are the places on the body that contain the most bacteria including both beneficial and harmful ones due to regular intake from the outside environment: food, drinks for the stomach and sperm, discharge with the vagina, accompanied by a lot of bacteria. Therefore, the body’s miraculous mechanism has created a natural acidic environment with a protective function, helping to destroy harmful bacteria and yeasts, and keeping beneficial bacteria in the body.
Normal vaginal pH is between 3.8 and 4.5, moderately acidic. However, there is a variation in the normal pH of the vagina depending on the stage of life.
During a woman’s reproductive years (ages 15 to 49), vaginal pH should be less than or equal to 4.5. But before menstruation and after menopause, a normal pH tends to be higher than 4.5.
- Consequences of vaginal pH imbalance
A high vaginal pH level – above 4.5 – provides the perfect environment for pathogenic bacteria to grow. A high vaginal pH (high alkalinity) puts you at risk of the following infections:
- Bacterial vaginosis: Bacterial overgrowth causes a fishy smell, along with an unusual gray, white, or yellow vaginal discharge. It can also lead to vaginal itching and burning when urinating. Bacterial vaginosis itself isn’t necessarily harmful, but women having this disease are at an increasing risk of more serious infections such as human papillomavirus (HPV), herpes simplex virus, and HIV.
- Trichomonas: A sexually transmitted infection (STD) caused by the parasite Trichomonas vagis. Trichomoniasis usually causes no symptoms in the majority of infected people, but it can increase the risk of suffering from other, more serious STDs, such as HIV.
- An acidic vagina usually doesn’t cause illness. But if the acidity increases too much, it can impair fertility. Sperms thrive in an alkaline environment. The optimal pH for them to swim is between 7.0 and 8.5. During sex, the pH inside the vagina temporarily increases, making the normal acidic environment more alkaline to protect the sperms so they can reach the egg.
- Causes of vaginal pH imbalance
- Unprotected sex. Semen is alkaline, which can increase the growth of certain bacteria.
- Antibiotics: These drugs not only kill pathogenic bacteria, but also good bacteria that maintain vaginal pH levels, which are acidic and healthier.
- Menstrual cycle: Menstrual blood is alkaline and raises the pH of the vagina. When blood flows through the vagina and is absorbed into a tampon or pad, it can increase the pH level of the vagina.
- Use alkaline chemicals (shampoo, shower gel) for the Y-zone or douche deep into the vagina. Douching not only increases vaginal pH, but also increases the growth of harmful bacteria in general. Use alkaline detergents such as shampoo and shower gel to cleanse your vagina, alkaline chemicals will wash away acid of the vaginal environment, creating conditions for bacteria and yeast to multiply. proliferate and cause infection, infecting your sensitive Y-zone.
- Violent sex causes scratches on the genitals.
- Signs and symptoms of vaginal pH imbalance
- Has a bad or fishy smell
- Unusually white, gray, or green mucus
- Vaginal itching
- Burning when urinating
- How to maintain a normal vaginal PH level
- When having sex, do not skip foreplay because women may need time to warm up to have sex, causing vaginal discharge to protect against scratching the genitals. At the same time, it is advisable to use condoms during sex. It is a barrier that not only protects from STD but also prevents alkaline semen from disrupting vaginal pH levels.
- Take probiotics to restore the balance of healthy bacteria.
- Do not douche: It can increase the pH level in the vagina. The vagina can naturally clean itself. Wash the outside of your vagina only with mild soap and water when you shower.
- Eat yogurt: In addition to helping you get enough calcium and vitamin D daily, yogurt is a rich source of Lactobacillus’ beneficial bacteria.
- Keep the vagina clean with a gentle vaginal cleaning solution that has an acid pH level of 3.8-4.5
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) aims to relieve some of the menopausal symptoms by returning female hormone levels to normal. Treatment may be provided in the form of estrogen or in a combination of estrogen and progestin.
- For women, the hormone progestin is used along with estrogen to prevent overgrowth of the lining of the uterus, which can lead to endometrial cancer. HRT is available in pill, nasal spray, patch, skin gel, injection, and vaginal cream.
- HRT can help reduce menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, lightheadedness, sleep disturbances, anxiety, decreased libido.