When asked what comes first to your mind when you hear the phrase “pH level”, your mind may lead to thoughts that include the swimming pool water, highschool chemistry, or those fancy bottled waters that claim to have a “special pH level.” What many women don’t know is that their vagina also has a pH level that it needs to maintain to stay healthy.
What’s a pH level?
pH stands for “potential of Hydrogen” and a pH scale is a measurement for how acidic or basic something is. It ranges from 0-14, with 7 considered neutral, meaning that it’s neither acidic nor basic.
Below 7 is considered acidic and above 7 is basic.
Your vagina has to maintain a certain pH level to keep it healthy and protect it from yeast and bacterial infections. The vaginal pH is usually 3.5-4.5, which is slightly acidic. Bacteria and yeast can’t survive in an acidic environment; this is why you are advised to drink cranberry juice when you have a urinary tract infection.
How important is Vaginal pH?
Vaginal pH should be maintained at a slightly acidic level so your vagina can defend itself against bacterial and yeast infections. Vaginal health mostly depends on the pH of your hooha; when there is an unbalanced pH level, harmful organisms will survive and multiply down there. This causes the foul vaginal odor, discomfort, itching, irritation and infection.
By keeping a healthy vagina between a 3.5-4.5 pH level, you can keep those issues at bay.
Also read: Natural Remedy for Vaginal Dryness
What causes a disruption in the pH level?
Various normal daily activities can be the cause that disrupts normal vaginal pH levels. Some include:
Vaginal douching is when you introduce solutions and chemicals into your vaginal canal with the intentions to wash/cleanse it.
Although the thought of cleaning the inside of your vagina seems rational and safe, just as if you were washing your hands, it’s not. Some douches contain soap that can disrupt the natural balance in your vagina, along with all the other chemicals it contains that could actually cause damage to your vaginal walls. There is no need to ever douche. Your vagina can usually take care of itself, and with your assistance of just cleaning the outer part with mild soap, you will do just fine.
With blood having a pH level of 7.4 (a tad above neutral and heading towards the basic levels), that seems to counteract with your vagina’s normal acidic pH of 3.5-4.5. The best thing to do during your cycle is just to maintain your hygiene and wash your vajayjay regularly.
The great thing about tampons is that it keeps you from having a leak when you’re on your period, unlike pads. The bad thing is that instead of the blood coming out of your body, you are actually keeping it in for an extended period of time. During your period, you are more susceptible to infection because of the basic pH level brought on by the blood.
Vaginal Creams and Gels
It’s never a good idea to apply creams and gels on or in your vagina, which remember, is the most sensitive and delicate part of your body. Creams and gels contain chemicals that can damage your vaginal walls and change your pH levels leaving you susceptible for infection and irritation, especially those that contain a harmful ingredient called Manjakani.
Vaginal creams and gels can only do more harm than good.
Also read:The Ugly Truth About Manjakani; A Review
How to Keep Your Vaginal pH Healthy
The outermost part of the vagina that comes in contact with your partner during intercourse is called the mucosal layer. This is the layer that keeps the vaginal health intact and normalizes the pH level of the vaginal canal. It’s the responsibility of estrogen to maintain the health of the vagina as well as maintain the pH level. The problem is that as a woman ages, the body also produces less and less estrogen.
When there is a lack of, or no, estrogen, there will be nothing to maintain the health of your vagina. The good news is that you can still take phytoestrogen, which is the estrogen that are made from plants.
The best source of phytoestrogen to help keep a healthy vaginal pH is from an herb called Kacip Fatimah. Just be sure that when you take pills containing Kacip Fatimah, that it’s made in the USA and doctor approved so that you can be sure it’s safe.
Morinda Citrifolia is another herb that helps maintain the health of the Vaginal canal. It contains tons of antioxidants and antibacterial agents that help flush out toxins and detoxify the body.
Your vaginal pH level is the one that protects your vagina from infection and irritation and it needs to be maintained in a slightly acidic environment with a pH level between 3.5-4.5. Your vagina is a “big girl” and can usually handle its own battles, so don’t try to harm it with douches, creams, or gels. What you can do is always practice basic hygienic care and supplement your body with essentials like Kacip Fatimah and Morinda Citrifolia.