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How Your Body’s pH Levels Can Affect Your Health

January 19, 2022
Miranda Obryan

Have you ever experienced persistent vaginal infections? Using a common integrative medicine technique, you may be able to discover the root cause of your illness.  Specifically, checking your vaginal pH level can help course-correct vaginal illnesses.

In this article, we will explore why pH level is so important to vaginal health and what happens if your balance is off.

What is pH?

pH is the measure of any substance’s acidity or alkalinity. The scale is measured from 0-14, where 7 is neutral, 0 is very acidic, and 14 is very alkaline/basic. Your vagina has a pH range that is considered healthy and protective because it facilitates the correct balance for your normal flora.

How can pH affect your health?

pH is very important to maintaining a balance of the normal flora in the vagina. Normal flora is defined as the bacteria, yeast, and other microorganisms that are found on or inside a healthy body. These tiny organisms are usually beneficial to the body for several reasons:

  • Normal flora keeps a balance between yeast and bacteria
  • Normal flora keeps other harmful yeast and bacteria from multiplying
  • Normal flora helps break down organisms that should not be there

What is a Healthy Vaginal pH?

A healthy vaginal pH ranges from 3.8 to 4.5 on the pH scale.  It is normal for your pH to fluctuate based on your age and the stage of your menstrual cycle.  The normal range of vaginal pH is on the lower half of the scale, indicating that a moderately acidic pH is ideal for proper vaginal health.

Common Illnesses Can Be Caused by High Vaginal pH

What happens when your pH level is not in the moderately acidic range?  A more neutral or basic pH can lead to decreased protection due to an imbalance in your normal flora. This can allow bad bacteria to multiply and thrive in the vagina.

A few issues that you may be susceptible to when pH is off are:

  • Bacterial Vaginosis (BV), an overgrowth of bacteria
  • Trichomoniasis (trich), a parasitic STD
  • Fertility can sometimes be affected by pH and the sperm’s ability to travel

What causes pH Imbalance & How You Can Check Your pH

There are a lot of factors that can affect your body’s pH level. Here are a few things that tend to increase your vaginal pH, leaving you more vulnerable to illness:

    • Douching, which is a vinegar-based internal vaginal wash, is discouraged by the medical community due to its disruptive nature for the vagina’s normal flora.
    • Menstruation changes the pH of your vagina because the pH of blood is higher.
    • Medications can sometimes alter your body’s pH levels. Normal flora can be thrown off by antibiotics, which kill bacteria and can allow yeast to have no check on their population, leading to an overgrowth.
  • Diet can affect your pH if you are eating a lot of alkaline or acidic foods. Sugar can throw your pH off quickly.
  • Hormones fluctuate during your cycle and change your body’s pH.
    • Semen in the vagina, and sex in general, can increase your pH levels.
  • Some Menstrual products can alter your pH levels, especially scented versions.
  • Soaps and other toiletry products can affect pH if they are not designed for keeping pH balanced

Checking Your Vaginal pH Level at Home

Over-the-counter tests are available from most general stores if you want to check your vaginal pH level in the privacy of your own home. If you find that your vaginal pH level is not in the normal range (3.8 to 4.5), My Virtual Physician would be happy to evaluate the cause and get your body back to its healthy pH.

What to do if your pH is off?

Likely, if your pH level is off, you will have other symptoms that prompt you to do this pH test. Some common symptoms of pH level imbalance include:

  • Odor: foul/fishy smell
  • Discharge: unusual discharge, discolored, chunky
  • Discomfort: itching or burning, redness, rash, swelling

There are several ways that vaginal pH can be corrected through things like probiotics, diet, and hydration.  It can be overwhelming to try to tackle all of these at once. As your online OBGYN, we are here to help you get your pH back to normal.

Have you ever tested your vaginal pH level? If you recently tested and had an abnormal result, give My Virtual Physician a call to discuss a plan to get your health back.

 

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