First, a science lesson: pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline (basic) a substance is. The pH scale ranges from 0 (very acidic) to 14 (highly alkaline) with seven being neutral. A healthy vagina is slightly acidic, in the range of 3.5 to 5. This acidity is maintained by a delicate balance of organisms, notably the bacteria lactobacillus is dominant, this produces lactic acid, keeping good and bad bacteria in balance. This slightly acid environment helps to ward off infection.
Vaginas with a pH that is slightly acidic keep clean and clear of unfriendly bacteria. A pH imbalance often results in itching, irritation, odor, and/or discharge. Regular use of a vaginal moisturizer that is pH targeted will help maintain a healthy and more comfortable vaginal environment; it’s moisture that helps the vagina re-regulate its environment.
The loss of estrogen with menopause reduces circulation and lubrication, which can throw off our pH, which means our vaginas may become more alkaline and invite infection by being a friendly place for unfriendly bacteria. The two most common causes of itching, irritation, and heavy discharge are bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. Bacterial vaginosis is by far the most common cause of discomfort and strong odor for women. It’s especially common after intercourse, when semen, which is quite alkaline, throws the vagina's pH off balance very quickly.
Yeast infections result from an imbalance between the healthy bacteria and the few yeast cells that normally reside in a vagina. The yeast cells multiply, which can cause itching, irritation, and even swelling. We can get yeast infections whether or not we have intercourse, and once we’ve had one, we’re more susceptible in the future.
Protect your pH level by