PH? Sounds like chemistry to me *Insert shrug*.
PH describes the acidity or alkalinity of a specific substance. PH value is an assigned number on a scale of 1 to 14. Zero is considered the most acidic, while 14 is the most alkaline. A PH below 7 is acidic, while a PH above 7 is basic but if a substance is labeled as neutral, means it carries a pH level of 7.
The human body has a remarkable ability to maintain itself in the correct PH range, and that includes your vagina. In keeping a healthy vagina, maintaining proper PH is essentially important as an acidic vaginal environment is protective.
A normal vaginal PH level is between 3.8 and 4.5, which is moderately acidic. Bacteria such as Lactobacilli live in the vagina and secrete lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide, which give the vagina its acidic PH level. These beneficial microorganisms:
A high vaginal PH level (above 4.5) provides the perfect environment for unhealthy bacteria to grow. When the vaginal PH increases, the quality or amount of Lactobacilli can fall and other bacteria can multiply.
This puts you at risk of infections such as bacterial vaginosis and yeast infection which manifest in symptoms such as itching, irritation, foul odour and abnormal discharge.
WHAT CAUSES PH IMBALANCE?
Several situations, conditions and infections can cause a shift in the vaginal PH.
Still not convinced? Check out our previous gist on feminine washes and sprays.
BV isn’t necessarily harmful in itself, but women who have this condition are at increased risk for more serious infections like human papillomavirus (HPV), herpes simplex virus, and HIV. Recent studies have also connected BV to a higher incidence of infection in the uterus and fallopian tubes which produces scarring and possible infertility.
Other infections such as Candida (a yeast), Trichomonas vaginalis and group B Streptococcus (GBS) may also increase the vagina’s PH.
Factors such as age, dehydration, diet, obesity, stress, drugs, hormonal levels, lubricants and spermicidal creams, too much moisture /heat from workout clothes, bathing suits, tight pants and underwear may also increase the vagina’s PH.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR PH IS IMBALANCED
Symptoms of a PH imbalance include:
There is no need to check for vaginal PH as a routine but if you experience any of these symptoms, there are vaginal PH test kits that you can buy at a pharmacy to check yours in only a few seconds using a special strip (NOTE: Hey Oremi will be releasing our own Vaginal PH kit soon, so stay tuned). A home vaginal PH test kit generally includes a piece of PH test paper and a color chart for determining your vaginal pH results. The test is performed by placing a test paper against the wall of your vagina and comparing the color change against the reference chart.
How to Perform a Vaginal PH Swab
Abnormal vaginal PH frequently indicates the presence of a vaginal infection but do not necessarily indicate an infection. This can only be confirmed by a doctor through physical examination, microscopic observation of discharge, and perhaps a swab collection of bacterial or yeast samples.
If you test positive for high vaginal PH, please make an appointment with your doctor for further evaluation. Alternatively, if you test negative for high vaginal pH, but symptoms persist, a vaginal infection may in fact be present. However, you should know that not all vaginal infections cause changes to vaginal pH. This means that having a normal vaginal pH test does not necessarily mean that you do not have a vaginal infection. Confirm the results with your doctor’s diagnosis.
How to Maintain a Healthy Vaginal PH
- GET YOURSELF A BOX OF VAGINNE
Vaginne refreshing intimate gel is specifically designed to restore and preserve feminine intimate health in a safe and stress-free manner. It is a 6-day treatment that relieves the symptoms of infection and in just 3 days, you can start to see a difference.
Vaginne enables every woman to experience natural cleanliness and comfort in their most intimate parts. Vaginne keeps you fresh all day, flaunting that natural fragrance from inside out hereby boosting your self-esteem and confidence.
Some benefits Of Using Vaginne
- Take over-the-counter probiotic supplements
One way the female body controls vaginal PH is with probiotics. Probiotics have a prophylactic effect — deterring harmful organisms and keeping your vaginal ecosystem healthy. Look for probiotics that help regulate the vagina's PH.
If you're not sure which supplement to pick, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
- Eat probiotic-rich foods
Cultured yogurt is found to contain beneficial bacteria that are similar to those found in probiotic supplements. Other probiotic-rich products include garri, kefir, chia seeds, kimchi, mozzarella cheese and cottage cheese.
- Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Wait! Wait! Wait! I know I called ACV a bad boy when I spoke of douching but… who said it’s totally harmful to you?
Lab research shows that ACV is effective against several infectious microbes. While it can deter Candida, a major culprit behind fungal infections that upset the vaginal PH, ACV was actually found to be more effective against other harmful organisms such as E. coli that disturbs the alimentary tract.
No douching. Repeat after me “no douching!”. You can infuse ACV into your healthcare by taking ACV gummies or drinking a half cup ACV diluted with 2 parts water once in a while.
Check this… come closer, I have a secret to share:
You can use it to cook your meals! That way, we have the benefits intact.
Organic raw apple cider vinegar (ACV) has antibacterial properties, which allows it to deter bad microbes that can interfere with normal vaginal PH. ACV also contains probiotics that promote the growth of healthy microbes.
- Always practice safe sex
Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, genital warts, hepatitis, and HIV are transmitted through blood and bodily fluids during unprotected sex. It’s crucial to use a condom every time you engage in sexual activity.
- Eliminate Feminine Hygiene Cleaning Products
Be wary of feminine hygiene products that are scented or claim to clean your pelvic area. Run sis! It is very important that you don't douche or otherwise "deep clean" the vagina, whether with baking soda, vinegar, or anything else.
Douching, wipes, and sprays not only introduce chemicals down there, but they can also interfere with your natural vaginal PH and health. Your body cleans itself naturally when you maintain good health, and the vagina is no exception.
- Only use 100% Organic Cotton Menstrual Underwear and Products
Synthetic tampons can throw off the balance of good and bad bacteria! While the vaginal ecosystem is very resilient, synthetic-fiber tampons can cause concerns. More absorbent than cotton, synthetic fibers can concentrate toxins more and throw off the balance of good and bad bacteria, which could contribute to an imbalanced PH. Experts recommend that you use 100 percent cotton tampons and pads for the best vaginal and overall health. Remember that leaving a tampon in or a pad on for too long can increase the vaginal PH. Changing tampons and pads frequently also reduces the risk of bacterial infections, including toxic shock syndrome (TSS).
- See the gynecologist regularly
Any woman of childbearing age who is sexually active should get annual gynecological exams, which include cervical screening and a Pap test. Routine screenings can find abnormalities in your vagina which can then be taken care of on time. Early diagnosis and treatment of cervical, ovarian, uterine, or breast cancer can stack the odds in the patient’s favor.
- Maintain good hygiene
Follow these simple steps to ensure a healthy vaginal PH: