Your vaginal ph balance is something that you cannot control. Over time, it is only normal for it to fluctuate a little bit when you are menstruating or while having intercourse. But how do we make sure that these fluctuations are only temporary and do not affect us in the long run?
To answer this question, we need to rewind a little bit. Do you remember what pH is? Here’s a question that we can answer!
The pH is an indicator that determines the acidity or alkalinity of the environment. Knowing this, you must also remember that the vaginal pH has an important role when it comes to the vaginal flora’s health and to your overall health condition, too! There are a lot of medical conditions that could happen because of vaginal pH imbalance, such as bacterial vaginosis when the pH is alkaline or yeast infection when the pH is acidic.
However, these medical conditions do not just show up with you experiencing any symptoms at all. Every person has a different organism, so it is essential to know what normal discharge means for amount, smell, and color. If you notice any kind of changes, you should schedule an appointment with your health care provider right away!
Why is it so essential to maintain the pH levels of the vagina to normal? The vagina is protected by a mucosal layer on its walls that stops bacteria and microorganisms from attacking it. When the pH levels rise, the mucosal layer is affected, and it cannot protect you anymore.
The normal pH level fits somewhere between 3.7 and 4.4, which means it is slightly acidic. A pH level of 7 means that the measured environment is neutral. Everything greater than 7 indicates an alkaline environment.
Now you might be asking yourself, “how do I know when my pH levels are not normal?”. Do not worry, we came in prepared to answer this question!
When your pH levels are off, the first thing you will experience will be an increased amount of discharge, with an unusual color and smell. If it gets itchy and swelling appears, then you might experience a yeast infection, and if the release has a grey color, then it might be bacterial vaginosis.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, then make sure to consult with your health care provider before taking any kind of treatment for your condition. The doctor will run some sample tests or blood tests, and he will perfectly know what medicine fits your condition best. Sometimes, he might even recommend boric acid suppositories to help you recover faster.
If you do not experience any of these symptoms, then you should not worry about the health of your sensitive area. The vagina has a self-cleaning mechanism that naturally flushes out bacteria, which is enough for maintaining the pH levels normal.
There are some things you could do to prevent bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. First of all, avoid douching at all costs. Douching is the action of inserting warm water into the vagina to help it flush out bad bacteria, but it is completely unnecessary as the self-cleaning mechanism of the vagina naturally does that without any help.
Douching removes good bacteria from the vaginal flora, too, and instead of fixing and preventing some medical conditions, it causes more harm than good.
Having a healthy diet is one important cause, too. Foods like yogurt increase the number of good bacteria, and it helps you stay healthy. Drinking lots of water and staying hydrated is important as well.
Studies have shown that having unprotected intercourse can cause the pH levels to become alkaline because of the semen’s pH. Experts recommend always using a condom and take warm showers after intercourse, especially if you are using lube.
The pH level of your vagina could be affected by the hygiene products that you are using. Certain scented soaps can leave perfume behind and make you prone to developing infections or changing the pH level of the vagina. Doctors recommend rinsing your vagina with warm water and a little bit of special, unscented soap rather than scrubbing and hurting the sensitive skin of that area.
Taking good care of yourself can prevent a lot of complications and severe health problems. It’s essential to keep in mind that any moisture can affect your sensitive area and cause a chemical imbalance. For example, you should not spend a long time in your workout clothes after the gym, since they do not allow your skin to breathe.
Too much moisture is bad for your health, that’s the reason why it is important to pay a lot of attention to your underwear as well. It should only be made of natural materials like cotton since it does not retain moisture.
There are other things you should do:
- Avoid antibiotics. Antibiotics kill bad bacteria and good ones as well. Make sure you take antibiotics only when the doctor urges you to do it.
- Eat healthy foods. A lot of foods like kimchi, kefir, and yogurt contain a high percentage of probiotics that help your vaginal flora stay healthy and happy.
- Try some probiotic supplements. Although not mandatory, probiotic supplements can assure you some perks when it comes to your immune system. If you do not like yogurt, then try some probiotic supplements.
All in all, keep in mind that at some point, we all experience some kind of imbalance, either caused by the menstrual cycle, menopause, or other external causes that we cannot control. However, it is crucial to limit the negative factors that we can, since it’s our health that’s at stake.
Certain medical conditions do not show any symptoms, so remember to schedule a regular check-up with your health care provider to make sure that you are in a good health condition. After all, you know how the saying goes – better safe than sorry!