Vaginal pH Balance
In a healthy female body, the vaginal pH levels are slightly towards the acidic side, somewhere between 3.8 and 4.5.
This is natural and for the protection of the genital organs. Certain beneficial bacteria stay there and help in maintaining this normal vaginal pH.
A slightly acidic pH is essential and guards the vagina against infections. It does not let harmful bacteria and fungi grow there. Vaginal also produces certain secretions, which lubricate the canal and cleanse it on a regular basis.
Vaginal pH Imbalance
An imbalance in the vaginal pH may cause you itching, burning while urinating, excess discharge and even infections.
Causes of Disturbed Vaginal pH
- Improper hygiene of the area.
- Douching or washing the vaginal canal with harsh soaps.
- Tight clothing habit
- Disturbed diet or sleep
- Unhealthy eating habits
- After menses
- Too much of caffeine or aerated drinks
- Certain medications like anti-histamines
How to Restore Vaginal pH?
This requires nothing more than a healthy lifestyle and basic principles of hygiene.
- Keep the area clean and dry. A regular bathing schedule, including cleaning of the area with plain water, is enough. After bathing, dab the area with a dry towel.
- Douching is actually harmful. It washes away the beneficial bacteria that stay in the vaginal region. This disturbs the vaginal pH and the area becomes prone to dryness and infections.
- Similarly, avoid the use of harsh soaps on the area.
- Wear loose cotton based undergarments most of the time, particularly at night times. They allow the area to breathe while you sleep.
- One should prevent moisture getting trapped in the vaginal area. Moistness predisposes to fungal infections.
- Avoid excess of tea, coffee and other carbonated drinks that directly influence the vaginal pH.
- Too much of junk food is bad. Processed food contains lots of salts, preservatives, that affects the flora of the region and hence the health.
- Eat healthy. Actually, it is our diet that is the key point to have a healthy body, including a healthy vagina. Consume plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Drink plenty of water.
- Fresh fruit juices and yogurt are the best to restore back the vaginal pH.
- Maintain hygiene in the area. Always wipe off from front to back, never the other way.
- Change your sanitary napkins frequently. Practice safe sex always. Change condoms when required.
- Avoid taking hormonal pills.
If you observe any itching, burning or discharge from your vagina, you may use vaginal pH test strips to check if the pH has been disturbed.
How to Test Vaginal pH
Vaginal pH test kits are available. You can check the pH simply by putting them in your vaginal canal (not deep into it, just superficially) and noting down the change in color of the test strip.
This can be done at home.
The cause of high or low vaginal pH needs to be investigated and treated.