Whether your vagina is healthy or not is determined by its pH level. Maintaining a balanced vaginal pH level is extremely important, failing which your genitals are exposed to the risk of several infections. Fortunately, there are several chemical and natural remedies to restore vaginal pH balance that you can try.
Let us understand vaginal pH balance in detail and discuss the ways to restore it.
What Is Vaginal pH Balance?
pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline a substance is. It is measured on a scale of 0 to 14. A pH level below 7 is acidic, and above 7 is basic.
The presence of acid-producing bacteria (like Lactobacilli) is responsible for the acidic nature of the inner environment of the vagina. Vaginal pH is a measure of how acidic the vagina is. A normal vaginal pH for menstruating women is between 3.8 to 4.5. However, before the first menstrual cycle and after menopause, the normal vaginal pH may be slightly higher than 4.5.
An acidic environment in the vagina protects it from infection and keeps it healthy. In contrast, an alkaline environment puts you at risk of vaginal infection. Therefore, you must maintain the vaginal pH balance.
There could be many reasons for the natural acidic pH of the vagina to start turning alkaline. This is not safe for your vagina at all.
That is why it is necessary to identify the early signs of an unhealthy vagina. Let us discuss the symptoms of vaginal pH imbalance to recognize these signs.
What Are The Symptoms Of Vaginal pH Imbalance?
There are many ready-to-use test kits available in the market that can help you check the pH level of your vagina. These kits are quick and easy to use. Besides taking a test, there are a few visible symptoms that can help you identify the signs of an unhealthy vagina.
Look out for the following symptoms of vaginal pH imbalance:
- There may be a change in the color and texture of the vaginal discharge. Normally, the color of your vaginal discharge should be clear or whitish, with a gel-like, slimy texture. A pH imbalance causes the color to change to yellow, gray, or milky-white, while the texture could appear like a curdled paste.
- In addition to a change in appearance, the vaginal discharge, which is usually odorless or faint-smelling, may start giving off a strong, vile smell.
- The vaginal opening may start itching, and you may experience a burning sensation while urinating or during intercourse.
Besides vaginal infections, in some cases, vaginal pH imbalance may also lead to reduced fertility. Therefore, on noticing any of the symptoms mentioned above, you must take the necessary steps to restore the pH balance immediately.
How To Restore Vaginal pH?
It is not very difficult to rebalance your vaginal pH using simple methods like the following:
Douching is the practice of washing body cavities with a spray of water or cleansing solution. This affects vaginal pH as well as reproductive health negatively. Using warm water to clean your vagina gently is enough. Alternatively, you may use only mild products that are specifically formulated for this purpose to clean your intimate area.
Use Condoms During Intercourse
Semen is said to neutralize the acidic inner environment of the vagina. Unless you intend to conceive, use a condom during regular intercourse.
Ensure Intimate Hygiene During Periods
It would be best to frequently swap out your used sanitary pads, tampons, cups, or any other product you use during periods for cleaner ones. While doing that, make sure that you are cleaning the area thoroughly. Blood has a slightly alkaline pH. Therefore, keeping your sanitary products on for too long may meddle with the pH of your vagina. Even products that claim to be pH-balanced may not be highly effective. So, it is better to be cautious.
Ensure Your Vaginal Area Gets Enough Air Flow
When your intimate area does not get enough air, it causes an increase in humidity down there. Grime, sweat, and increased humidity create the perfect environment for bad bacteria to multiply. This could lead to a yeast infection. To avoid this, you can wear light and breathable underwear during the day and ditch them altogether when you go to sleep at night.
Follow A Diet That Includes Probiotics And Antioxidants
Probiotics support the growth of good bacteria. These friendly bacteria can help control the acidic pH level of the vagina. Antioxidants are also said to help maintain good vaginal health. While there is not enough research material to understand the role of probiotics and antioxidants in vaginal health, it does not hurt to take these healthy diet measures. You may take probiotics in the form of supplements or eat foods that contain probiotics, like yogurt, pickles, kombucha, or miso. Some antioxidant-rich drinks you may try are lemon water, soy milk, cranberry juice, and pickle juice.
Take Antibiotics Wisely
You may be taking antibiotics for your other health issues. However, remember that antibiotics work against bacteria. This could be the cause of imbalance in your vaginal environment. Therefore, avoid frequent intake of antibiotics, or combine them with probiotic intake.
These simple measures should work perfectly for good vaginal health. But, of course, it would help if you were primarily attentive and careful with your intimate hygiene.
What To Do If Symptoms Persist?
Studies have shown that the vagina can usually restore its own health. The precautions that we take additionally help speed up the process. However, simple diet changes and remedies may not be sufficient in certain situations.
If any of the symptoms that we discussed earlier – changed color, texture, or odor of vaginal discharge, itchiness, and burning sensation – persist or worsen, you need to see a medical expert immediately.
Nisha has a great passion for writing and loves the idea of sharing. She has written many articles on yoga, fitness, wellness, remedies, and beauty. She keeps reading articles on different blogs that give a kick to her passion and provides her with different ideas. She is growing day by day and mastering herself in writing appealing articles. She is a regular contributor to StyleCraze.com & Other websites too.