The vagina should be added to the list of the most amazing wonders in the world. After all, it brings life into the world. Because this miraculous body part can do so many things, it’s no wonder that it would come with a set of instructions, a guide nobody really ever gave to us.
Here are some fun facts about the vagina:
- Your vagina is more acidic than the rest of your body.
- No two vaginas are exactly alike.
- Your vulva and vagina will change throughout your life.
Interesting huh? What's even more fascinating is that the vagina has the ability to keep itself clean (my oven doesn’t even do that.) The vagina cleans itself by secreting natural fluids to maintain a healthy pH properly. The optimal environment for the vagina is slightly acidic to encourage the growth of healthy bacteria in the vagina yet kill harmful bacteria. Keeping harmful bacteria away is not only important for overall hygiene, but it also helps avoid infections and diseases.
So why is vaginal pH so important?
When vaginal pH balance is off kilter, it can lead to an imbalance of bacteria and yeast levels, causing all sorts of womanly issues, including bacterial infections, BV, yeast infections, and more. Maintaining an acidic vaginal environment creates a protective barrier that prevents unhealthy bacteria and yeast from multiplying too quickly to cause infections.
What are Normal Vaginal pH Levels?
pH stands for potential hydrogen and runs on a scale from 0 to 14. The pH level of anything indicates how acidic, neutral, or basic it is. A low pH value of less than 7 is considered acidic. A neutral pH is 7, and a high pH greater than 7 is basic or alkaline. To put things in perspective, lemon juice has a pH of 2.2, pickles are around 3.5, coffee is 5, pure water is 7, and soapy water is 11. pH levels do vary slightly based on your stage of life.
A normal vaginal pH level for women in their reproductive years (ages 15 to 49) is slightly acidic, in the range between 3.8 and 4.5. However, those before menstruation and after menopause tend to have higher than 4.5. High pH levels make you more susceptible to vaginitis, yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and STDs like Trichomoniasis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. pH levels that are too low can cause infertility because sperm thrives in a more alkaline environment. Maintaining just the right levels will keep the vagina clean and infection-free.
So, How Do You Keep Your Vagina's pH Balanced?
Fluctuations in pH balance are very normal. If you feel something "down there" is not up to par, pick up Checkable's at-home vaginal pH test strips and see where your levels fall. Check out some tips to keep your most valuable asset in check.
- Wear Cotton Underwear
- Good Feminine Hygiene
- Probiotics-supplements or in foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, and raw sauerkraut
- Maintain a Healthy Diet
- Use Condoms
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Drink water