pH scale, ranging from 0 to 14, is used to measure the level of alkalinity or acidity of a water-based solution of any substance. The considered pH values of the most acidic and the most alkaline elements are 0 and 14 respectively. The pH level of pure water is 7 which makes it pH neutral.
Vaginal pH level is generally in between 3.8 and 4.5 and comes under the acidic pH range. pH balance plays an important role here and determines the vaginal health. Let’s discuss why vaginal ph balance matters and how it is associated with a healthy vagina.
There are two types (both good and harmful) of bacteria that exist in the vagina. Good bacteria are favorable for a healthy vagina. The lactic acid they produce keeps the vagina acidic. This is why the chances of infection are low in an acidic vagina.
On the other hand, a non-acidic vaginal environment gives rise to harmful bacteria causing irritation, infection and eventually diseases like Bacterial vaginosis (BV) and Trichomoniasis (Tricho). The symptoms of bacteria-caused diseases include vaginal itching, odor, unusual discharge, and other discomforts.
What causes unbalanced vaginal pH?
Here are some factors that can result in increased, therefore, an unbalanced vaginal pH.
Vaginal douching: A sizeable number of women (estimated around 20% to 40%) cleanse their vagina with Douches to feel fresh and stay odor-free. According to health experts, though, there isn’t any benefit of douching, it, in fact, increases the chances of infection and bacterial disease by upsetting the pH balance.
Unprotected sexual intercourse: The alkaline nature of semen (pH 7.1-8) elevates BV-causing bacteria.
Menstruation: Having a pH value of 7.4 makes blood alkaline. During menstruation, thus, vaginal pH value increases.
Antibiotics: Using antibiotics kill both bad and good bacteria. Diminishing bad bacteria is not making sure of vaginal health as you need good bacteria which create a protective barrier for the vagina.
Menopause: During menopause, the level of estrogen hormone is considerably lower than usual. A lack of estrogen affect the good bacteria lactobacilli adversely.
Apart from these reasons, using scented soap or other scented products and hormonal birth control pills can mess with vaginal pH balance as well.
Feminine Hygiene products help maintain a normal feminine balance and restore your natural ph.