What is vaginal pH?
pH is a measurement of how acidic or alkaline (basic) a substance is. The scale runs from 0 to 14. A pH of less than 7 is considered acidic, and a pH of more than 7 is basic.
What does any of this have to do with your vagina?
The pH level of your vagina whether it’s acidic or basic plays an important part in determining whether your yoni is healthy.
What is a normal vaginal pH?
A normal vaginal pH level is between 3.8 and 4.5, which is moderately acidic. However, what constitutes a “normal” pH level can vary slightly based on your stage of life.
For example, during your reproductive years (ages 15 to 49), your vaginal pH should be below or equal to 4.5. But before menstruation and after menopause, a healthy pH tends to be higher than 4.5.
So why does vaginal pH matter? An acidic vaginal environment is protective. It creates a barrier that prevents unhealthy bacteria and yeast from multiplying too quickly and causing infection.
A high vaginal pH level — above 4.5 — provides the perfect environment for unhealthy bacteria to grow. Having a high vaginal pH puts you at risk for infections.
What causes an unbalanced vaginal pH?
Any of the following situations can change your vaginal pH level:
Unprotected sex. Semen is alkaline, which can encourage growth of certain bacteria.
Antibiotics. These drugs kill not only the bad bacteria that cause disease, but also the good bacteria you need to maintain a healthy, more acidic, vaginal pH level.
Douching. Although it is not recommended, women tend to regularly wash out their vagina with a mixture of water and vinegar, baking soda, or iodine. Douching not only increases the vaginal pH level, but also encourages the growth of harmful bacterial overall.
Menstrual periods. Menstrual blood is a little bit basic and raises the pH in the vagina. When that blood flows through the vagina and is absorbed into a tampon or pad and sits in place, it can raise the pH level of the vagina.