What is vaginal pH?
First of all, pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline a substance is. The pH scale runs from 0 (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline). A pH value of 7 is considered neutral, meaning it is neither acidic nor basic. On a chemical level, pH measures the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution.
But what does this have to do with vaginal health? The vagina has its own pH level––the vaginal pH––which plays a crucial role in your overall vaginal health.
The normal value of vaginal pH depends on factors such as individual health, diet, and age. A healthy vaginal pH will range from 3.8 to 5, making the vaginal environment slightly acidic. The vagina’s lower pH level helps protect you from pathogenic infections.
Why is vaginal pH important?
Vaginal pH is intimately connected with the vaginal microbiome––the microorganisms that live in the vagina. A healthy vaginal pH results from the metabolism of healthy bacteria such as those in the Lactobacillus family, which produce lactic acid and hydrogen ions that contribute to the acidic vaginal environment.
The acidity in the vagina creates an unsuitable environment for harmful pathogenic bacteria to multiply and cause infection. When the vaginal microbiome is thrown off balance, the vaginal pH will also be affected, making you more prone to infection. In fact, an unusually high vaginal pH is associated with infections such as bacterial vaginosis.
How to maintain healthy vaginal pH levels
To maintain a healthy vaginal pH, you have to ensure the health of the vaginal microbiome.
In order to keep your vagina microbiome healthy, make sure to avoid douching and using harsh intimate hygiene products. You can consider switching to a gentle pH balanced probiotic vaginal wash like the Ease Probiotic Cleanser which does not contain hash soaps and may help cleanse and refresh your vulva without disrupting the skin’s natural pH levels and microbiota
Besides putting you at risk of STDs and pregnancy, unprotected sex can also lead to an unbalanced vaginal pH. Semen is slightly alkaline, and when it enters the vagina, it can disrupt the microbial balance. Make sure to always use a barrier method of protection such as condoms to prevent this.