Vaginal pH refers to the unique pH value of the vaginal environment. A healthy vaginal pH level 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, and is crucial in preserving your overall intimate health. Here are 4 things you need to know about vaginal pH.
pH measures how acidic or basic a substance is
First things first: what is pH, and what does it measure? Put simply, pH level is a measure of how acidic or basic (alkaline) a substance is. The pH scale runs from 0 (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline). Substances with a pH value of 7––such as pure water––are considered neutral, meaning they are neither acidic nor basic. On a chemical level, pH measures the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution.
A healthy vaginal pH protects you from infection
A healthy vagina will have a pH value between 3.8 to 5, meaning the vagina has an acidic environment. The acidity in the vagina creates an unsuitable environment for harmful pathogenic bacteria to survive. Most importantly, the vagina’s pH acts as a layer of defense against infections by preventing bacteria from being able to multiply. This is why it is essential that you maintain a healthy vaginal pH level.
Vaginal pH is intimately connected with the vaginal microbiome
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. When the vaginal microbiome is thrown off balance, the vaginal pH will also be affected, making you more prone to infection.
High vaginal pH can be a sign of infection
Unusually high vaginal pH is associated with vaginal infections, such as bacterial vaginosis. In a less acidic environment, unhealthy bacteria are able to quickly multiply and lead to an infection. An unhealthy vaginal pH can make you more prone to developing other health conditions as well.
Maintaining your vaginal health is crucial to protect against disease and improve your overall health. Make sure to adopt healthy habits, such as opting for a gentle, pH-balanced formula when cleansing the external areas around the vagina (a.k.a the vulva). Never use douches or other soaps to clean the vagina, as ingredients in such products can kill the healthy bacteria in the vagina.
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.