Q: What does your vagina have in common with a glass of your favorite wine?
A: Well, the pH of a healthy vagina is between 3.8 - 4.5, which is the same pH as wine!
Why? Well, good bacteria (or Lactobacilli) is the dominant bacteria who keep our lady parts healthy and in check at 4.5pH. Should the level of Lactobacilli fall, causing a rise in pH, other infection-causing bacteria dominate and cause infections, like Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) and yeast infections. An acidic vaginal environment is protective. It’s easy to see why maintaining a healthy vaginal pH is essential.
What is pH?
pH is a measure used to indicate the acidity or basicity of a solution. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being pH neutral. pH less than 7 is acidic and greater than 7 is alkaline.
What is interesting and amazing is that acidity levels within a human body are not all the same.
- Blood is more alkaline than a vagina at over 7 pH
- Semen thrives at 7.2 – 8.5pH
- A vagina before menstruation and after menopause would be higher than 4.5pH
- During sex vaginal pH rises temporarily to accommodate sperm
There are several reasons a healthy vaginal pH could be disrupted.
- Unprotected sex – Since semen is alkaline, as opposed to the vaginas natural pH
- Antibiotics – Which tend to kill both good and bad bacteria causing an imbalance
- Douching – Increases vaginal pH and encourages the growth of infection-causing bacteria
- Menstruation – As blood is more basic, being absorbed into a tampon or pad causes a rise in pH
- Menopause – The reduction of estrogen causes the vaginal pH to rise
How do you know if your pH is disrupted?
Our vagina is quite adept at telling us when things are not all that great down there…and here is how:
- Vaginal odor – foul of fishy smelling
- Unusual discharge – white, grey or even green (yikes!)
- Burning sensation when urinating
Correcting an unbalanced vaginal pH, sometimes requires medical intervention. Especially if your symptoms indicate BV, and antibiotics and creams may be required to clear the infection. Do see your doctor if you have the above symptoms and they persist.
However there are some tried and true tips on how to restore and maintain your vaginal pH naturally:
- Boric Acid supplements: Apart from being affordable and easy to access, boric acid has been used to treat mild cases of BV safely for over 100 years. Consider the occasional supplement as a maintenance measure.
- Incorporate probiotics: Good bacteria are found in abundance in probiotic supplements and also occur naturally in some fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi or sauerkraut. Probiotics may encourage the maintenance of healthy bacteria.
- Garlic tablets: Garlic is renowned for its bacteria-fighting compound allicin and antioxidant properties and is considered to be as effective as an antibiotic. However, garlic should be approached with care, as it can have digestive side effects, and could adversely affect anyone on blood thinners.
- Destress: Well, aside from the obvious health benefits, stress affects cortisol levels which also affects your vaginal pH. So, focus on de-stressing and self-care.
- Cutback or quit smoking: A study revealed that nonsmokers had more good bacteria in their vagina as opposed to smokers.
- Safe sex: Barrier methods during sex can prevent the introduction of semen which can affect your vaginal flora, and also the transmission of STD’s.
- Menstrual hygiene: Since blood is more alkaline than the desired vaginal pH, menstruation complicates the balance down there quite a bit. Add to this mix a tampon, which soaks up blood and a good portion of the good bacteria, and which can cause quite the uproar down there. Consider the option of a menstrual cup, which does not interfere with your vaginal ecosystem.
- Underwear: Tight clothing that restricts breathing, causes a damp environment which encourages bad bacteria to thrive, opt for natural fabric when possible and give your vulva commando time and just let her breath.
- Douching: Just don’t! This causes more damage than it professes to cure. It can cause difficulties in pregnancy, infections, encourage STI’s, and cervical cancer.
- Vulva and Vaginal cleanliness: Hygiene plays a greater role, from wiping from the front to back, changing underwear frequently, cleaning and not sharing sex toys, the hygiene of your vulva is important. Yes, your vagina is self-cleaning, so don’t be tempted to use perfumed cleaning products. The best is to rinse the area with warm water, use only specifically formulated products that respect the vaginal pH, and ensure your vulva stays moisturized and healthy. After cleaning, you should always apply Rejuvenate to help maintain Vulva moisture!
When maintaining your vaginal pH, note that daily habits of washing, wearing synthetic clothes, and the hormonal changes through your cycle can affect your intimate well-being like the feeling of dryness, tingling or discomfort. As a daily moisturizer, Rejuvenate, can help bring nourishing, softening, rejuvenating, and protecting benefits to your vulva. REJUCREAM products are specifically formulated to respect the vagina’s naturally occurring pH balance in accordance with gynecological recommendations.
Now, sit back and enjoy your wine and peace of mind that your wine and Vagina are in perfect pH balance.