The vagina naturally is home to different types of healthy, acid-producing bacteria. Overall vaginal health depends heavily on its pH level. The pH scale determines the level of acidity, with 1 being very acidic and 14 being more basic. The average vaginal pH ranges from about 3.8-4.5 and that naturally decreases with age. To prevent dryness and maintain a chemical balance, the vagina also regularly produces fluids. Vaginal acidity helps protect it against germs, harmful bacteria, parasites, and fungi.
What Causes Unbalanced Vaginal pH?
Your vaginal pH can change based on existing health conditions, lifestyle, and other factors.
- Menstrual cycle: Menstruation, pregnancy, peri-menopause, and menopause can all have a negative impact on vaginal pH.
- Medication: Antibiotics can raise vaginal pH because they are formulated to kill all bacteria in the body-good and bad. Birth control pills can also change vaginal pH for some women, which potentially leads to infections.
- Douching: This is a method of cleaning the inside of the vagina. It differs from washing the outside of your vaginal area with soap and water. Douching usually involves squirting a pre-packaged fluid mixture into your vagina with a tube or other tool. This process can raise your vaginal pH.
- Lubricants: These can be used to reduce dryness in the vaginal area during intercourse. Some lubricant products have a pH higher than 4.5 which can kill healthy bacteria and lead to an infection.
Symptoms of Unbalanced Vaginal pH
An unbalanced vaginal pH level can go along with bacterial infections and other health issues. Some of these symptoms include:
- Strong, fish-like odor
- Grey, green, or foamy vaginal discharge
- Itching around the vaginal area
- Swelling and irritation around the vagina
- Pain or burning feeling in the vagina during intimacy
- Burning sensation while urinating
If you believe that you are experiencing issues that stem from unhealthy vaginal pH, you are not alone…schedule an appointment today! My book, titled “Vajuvenation” is available for purchase in our office.