What is pH?pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline a substance is. The pH of a certain substance is described as a number from 0-14. The lower the number, the more acidic the substance. Distilled water is neutral, and has a pH of 7. The pH of a healthy vagina is 4.5, which is acidic.
Why does pH matter?You’ve probably heard that pH balanced shampoo can keep your hair strong and healthy, or that pH balanced deodorant eliminates odour and perspiration to keep you feeling fresh. But it’s not just our hair and underarms that benefit from pH balance. In fact, pH balance plays a large role in the overall health of our bodies. Our brain, heart, lungs, digestive and reproductive systems all require specific pH balances in order to function properly and protect us from illness and infection.
Why does vaginal pH matter?A normal vaginal pH of 4.5 is important for maintaining good vaginal health. At this optimum pH level, your vagina contains a specific balance of necessary bacteria and some yeast cells. This delicate balance can be easily disturbed. When this happens, vaginal problems like odour, irritation, discomfort and even infections are more likely to occur.
What can cause imbalance in vaginal pH?Your Period
The pH of blood is about 7.4, much higher than the optimum vaginal pH. For this reason, some women may tend to experience vaginal problems the week after their period. Additionally, the use of scented tampons, pads or sprays can also disrupt your pH and cause irritation.
Sperm also has a high pH level of 7.1 to 8.0, which can throw your pH off balance. If you notice vaginal odour after sex, it may be because of the high pH level of your partner’s sperm.
Douching (or washing out the vaginal passage) often does more harm than good. It washes the good bacteria out of your vagina, making you more vulnerable to other bad bacteria that can cause irritation and infection, and upsets the normal vaginal pH levels.
Your vaginal pH can also be affected by the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy or while you’re taking certain birth control pills. Some women complain of persistent vaginal itching during pregnancy, and unbalanced pH could be the problem.
Bubble baths, soaps, feminine medications, sprays, powders and deodorants can all be potential irritants. For instance, most body soaps range in pH from 7-14, levels that are much higher than the normal vaginal pH. After using these products some women may experience vaginal itching, irritation, rash or even unusual discharge. There is a product on the market that has been developed especially for vaginal cleansing,
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