By: Athena Alexander
A healthy vaginal pH level is very important to your vaginal environment. Just like water, there are normal levels of pH that ensure that your vagina is well-protected and cleansed. A balanced pH helps protect against unhealthy bacteria and the mass reproduction of yeast that may cause odor, discomfort or infection. In reproductive years, a woman’s pH should be between 4.0-4.5, while in menopausal years, a woman’s pH can be higher than 4.5. If you are feeling as though your pH may be off, the best way to find out is to test it!
How to Test Your pH Balance
An easy way to test your pH balance is by buying an at-home pH test. In this test kit, you will find pH strips. pH strips measure the acidic or alkaline state of a liquid. Pee on the strip and then compare the color of the pH strip to the colors in the given color code in the box. This should tell you how acidic or alkaline your vaginal environment is.
Another way to test your pH balance is to go see a doctor. The doctor will administer a similar test but may include other tests to explore other reasons for vaginal discomfort or any other symptoms the patient may have when they come in.
How to Avoid an Unbalanced pH
There are normal amounts of bacteria and yeast that keep your vagina healthy, combat infections, and create an acidic environment. Unfortunately, it is very easy to throw off the delicate pH system. In order to keep a balanced pH environment, here are a few tips to follow:
- Avoid anything scented down there:
Scented soaps, gels, lubricants, antiseptics, or perfumes should not be used in your vaginal area. The chemicals used could unbalance the pH levels and result in an uncomfortable situation. Douching has been marketed to cover up an unwanted odor. However, douching will only cover that odor momentarily and will most likely make it worse. If something does not smell right, consult a doctor.
- Maintain a healthy diet:
Make sure to drink fluids, eat fresh foods, and consume probiotics to help your pH! Eating consistent amounts of greasy foods that don’t contain many nutrients can contribute to an unbalanced pH. If you are prone to yeast infections, make sure to incorporate yogurt or kombucha into your diet! Both foods have tons of probiotics that help prevent yeast infections. If you are prone to urinary tract infections, try taking a cranberry supplement. Many cranberry juices are filled with sugar, which, if ingested consistently, may be a factor in an unhealthy PH environment.
- Choose clothing that will keep you dry:
Your vagina’s environment should stay dry, and different types of clothing and materials can affect that. Wear breathable cotton underwear, change out of wet bathing suits or sweaty gym clothes as soon as possible, and make sure to consistently clean your clothes! If you are prone to yeast infections, try changing your underwear so you wear two sets a day. This may help you feel more comfortable and help prevent infections.
- Practice good hygiene:
This is the most important tip of all! Make sure you are maintaining good hygiene. When using the bathroom, make sure to wipe from front to back and avoid putting anything around your vaginal area that does not belong there. Unprotected sex tends to unbalance a pH system because semen is an alkaline liquid. Therefore, this throws off the acidic nature of your vagina. Make sure you are using protection to maintain a balanced pH balance. If you are feeling uncomfortable, see a doctor. Do not wait for infections to become extreme. The infections may be the most easily treatable at the beginning!
- Avoid using tampons/pads:
Your menstrual cycle alone raises the acidity of your vagina. Using tampons and pads can upset your pH balance if they are not consistently replaced and removed, or if the products you are using contain harmful toxins. Most of the time, women tend to leave their tampons and pads for longer than advised, which can cause dryness, infection, and disturb the overall pH. By using UltuCup, your pH will not be compromised! All UltuCup models are made from 100% medical grade silicone and free from BPA, latex, rubber, and plastic. Because UltuCup collects instead of absorbing your menstrual flow, your vagina stays pH balanced with little to no risk of TSS, (toxic shock syndrome).
How to Restore pH Levels
If you feel as though your pH is starting to get thrown off, here are some helpful ways to restore it! If you feel as though you have an infection, the best thing to do is go to a doctor or consult some help.
- Take supplements:
Supplements such as probiotics, garlic, and apple cider vinegar will help reset your pH. If you do not want to take pills, look for these foods that include helpful bacteria:
- Miso Soup
- Stay hydrated:
Drinking water will flush out the toxins in your body. Staying hydrated is a great way to reset your pH and keep the rest of your body healthy as well.
- Eat less sugar:
High levels of sugar in the body can lead to high pH levels. To lower the pH, consider lowering your sugar intake. Avoid alcohol, soda, ice cream, candy, or anything refined. These products will have the most sugar in them.
- Wear breathable fabrics:
Non-breathable fabrics such as synthetic or nylon can trap sweat and moisture. Wearing breathable fabrics such as cotton or polyester can create airflow that will aerate your vagina area.
- Use UltuCup:
While on your period, use UltuCup instead of tampons and pads. UltuCup will help maintain your pH balance and keep your vaginal environment clean and protected.
Having a Balanced pH
It is very important to have a balanced vaginal pH to prevent and protect against infections and keep the area clean. Having a balanced pH will not only protect that area, but also reflect how the rest of your body is doing. Maintaining a healthy diet, drinking enough water, and using safe, non-toxic products will keep your body in check as well as your vaginal pH.