Test Your Vaginal pH
Vaginas with a pH that is slightly acidic keep clean and clear of unfriendly bacteria. A pH imbalance often results in itching or irritation. A pH balancing gel or regular use of a vaginal moisturizer will help maintain a healthy and more comfortable vaginal environment.
The loss of estrogen with menopause reduces circulation and lubrication, which can throw off our pH, becoming more alkaline and inviting infection. A pH balancing kit lets us easily test our pH and correct it using an acidic gel.
The dryness that results from loss of estrogen can also make our vaginas more alkaline and more likely to host unfriendly bacteria. The two most common causes of itching, irritation, and heavy discharge are bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. Bacterial vaginosis adores an alkaline setting, and is by far the most common cause of discomfort and strong odor for women. It is especially common after intercourse, when semen, which is quite alkaline, throws the vagina's pH off balance very quickly. When unable to generate enough moisture to reregulate its environment, the vagina becomes susceptible to infection.
Make a point of testing your pH especially if you notice itching, irritation, an unusually strong odor, or greyish-white discharge. Press the pH strip to the inside wall of your vagina for a few seconds. Then compare your strip to the accompanying color chart to read your results. If your pH is higher (more alkaline) than normal, go ahead and treat with a pH-balancing gel. The gel is packaged with an easy-to-use applicator, so there is no guessing on how much to use.
If you're prone to these infections, you may wish to use the pH-balancing gel soon after intercourse to help the vagina regain its acidic state. Using a regular vaginal moisturizer will help maintain a healthy environment during menopause.
First published 01/13/2010 Last updated 10/26/2011
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