Keeping a healthy vagina and knowing when the vagina’s pH Levels are off, should be considered every woman’s number one priority in life. Unfortunately as women, we aren’t taught a lot about our vagina’s pH levels until something just doesn’t feel right down there.
Truth is, pH levels can change during any given time depending on daily and sexual activities, diet, ovulation, menstruation, pregnancy, hormonal changes, birth control, the color of your urine tobacco smoking, over consumption of alcoholic beverages, and sexual health.
So what is pH ? pH means potential hydrogen/ power of hydrogen , and is a measurement of how acidic or basic is within a substance, on a scale of 0-14. Lower numbers represent greater levels of acid while higher numbers represent lesser levels of acid. A healthy vagina should have a pH balance of 3.5 to 4.5. A vagina’s pH levels contributes to whether the vagina is unbalanced, has a strong odor or produces an overgrowth of bacteria that is already living within the vagina. Studies have shown that vaginal problems occur when when pH levels are thrown off.
Associate Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University, Dr Lauren Streicher, addresses how the vagina and beer have the same levels of pH, with beer having a pH range of 4.5.
There is good and bad bacteria living inside the vagina. An overgrowth in normal bacteria results in Bacteria Vaginosis also known as BV, while an overgrowth in yeast from the vagina results in a yeast infection. This can all happen from a vagina’s pH levels being thrown off. Some women who experience BV show no symptoms, while others have experienced a fishy odor with a vast amount of discharge.
As many may know the vagina is a self cleanser that removes toxins and bad bacteria. A healthy vagina will release small amounts of discharge to cleanse itself. Sometimes more secretions will be released depending on genetic makeup, emotional stress levels and before or after menstruation. Studies have suggested that is often times difficult to determine how much discharge really represents an abnormal amount because all women have varying amounts of vaginal discharge.
If the discharge a woman is experiencing is not normal to what she is used to then it could be considered abnormal. Remember, normal discharge is clear, cloudy white and when on dry clothing may appear a little yellowish. Discharge can also appear stringy or thin as well.
Blood from menstruation has a pH level of 7.4, while semen from intercourse has a pH level of 7.1 to 8. One of the reasons why many studies have suggested washing the vagina with warm water and no soap is because soap has a pH of 8 and over. Using soap can upset the pH levels of the vagina very quickly, leaving the vagina feeling dry and irritated.
Research has studied the affects rubber condoms have on the vagina too. Not every woman’s vagina is compatible with a latex condom. Some women experience allergic reactions, irritation, rashes, and even yeast infections from the use of a latex condom.
While using condoms during sex it is important to make sure the condom gets changed after oral sex to vaginal sex and anal sex. The changing of condom usage will eliminate irritation, dryness, infection, and bacteria.
To those women who are allergic to latex condoms talk to a gynecologist to try other methods of safe sex.
Remember ladies your vagina is a unique organ and although society tries to make everything smell like perfume, your vagina is supposed to smell like your own vagina! Embrace it!