Is your vagina itchy or do you smell a strong, fishy odour from your vagina? When you urinate, do you experience any burning sensation? If your answer to these questions is yes, your vaginal pH levels may be off track. For the unversed, pH is used as a value to track how acidic or alkaline (basic) a substance is. The scale ranges from 0 to 14. The normal pH range of the vagina is considered between 3.8 and 5. The acidity or pH levels of your vagina aid in defending it against several harmful bacteria, parasites, and fungi. But if the pH balance in your vagina is out of the typical range, you may have issues down there!
So if your intimate health and hygiene is in trouble and you think it is simply due to unstable vaginal pH levels, we are here to help! Shalini Vijay, a Senior Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist at Motherhood Hospitals, Lulla Nagar, Pune, listed down ways to balance vaginal pH levels.
Tips to maintain vaginal pH balance
You now understand the importance of maintaining the pH levels of the vagina. In addition to that, another reason is to guard your vagina against the infections. Yes, ladies, yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and even chlamydia are a few names of infections which likely to occur if your pH level of the vagina is unstable.
So here are 5 tips to maintain vaginal pH balance!
1. Eat probiotics
Your vagina have both good and bad bacteria. Good bacteria is known as “lactobacilli” and bad bacteria is known as “anaerobes”. To keep your vagina healthy, you need more lactobacilli because it aids in maintaining the proper pH level in the vagina. While this bacteria already exists in your vagina, you can boost its growth by including probiotic foods like yoghurt, kefir, buttermilk and kimchi in your daily diet. Probiotics are also known to promote digestion!
2. Quit smoking
Smoking has been associated with an increased risk of vaginal infections and other vaginal issues. So if you smoke, your risk of getting an infection is high, which can increase the number of bad bacteria, and anaerobes and cause a lack of lactobacilli in your vagina. However, numerous studies have shown that when compared to smokers, non-smokers’ vaginal microbiome contains a healthy population of lactobacillus. Hence, if you want to keep your vaginal health and pH levels in a healthy range, quit smoking.
3. Manage stress
Stress raises cortisol levels, which throws off the vaginal acid-base balance. One must engage in daily exercise, limit drinking and smoking, do deep breathing exercises, and try any other enjoyable activities, to maintain stress levels to maintain vaginal health.
4. Keep good menstrual hygiene
Most of us do not pay attention to menstrual hygiene. But if your menstrual hygiene is poor, you have a considerable possibility of developing vaginal irritation, itching, or even infections which can wreak havoc on the pH levels of your vagina. So, in every 4 to 6 hours, change your sanitary napkin, keep your vagina clean, bathe daily, change underwear if possible twice a day, and drink plenty of water.
5. Avoid sugary foods
Eating sugary foods such as candies, cakes, sweets, and desserts can cause higher pH levels or boost yeast growth. So, to maintain a good pH balance, reduce your sugar consumption. You should also avoid fried and processed foods.
6. No synthetic panties in the summer
Wearing synthetic panties is never a good idea. So always wear cotton panties to keep the vagina sweat-free. Also, one should frequently change their trousers in the heat, especially if they perspire a lot.
7. Say NO to douching
Do you use water or any other solution to clean the inside of the vagina? Do not do this! It may lead to a pH imbalance and disturb the usual flora of your vagina. Not only this, douching might potentially attract infections down there. During showering, only use warm water to clean the area. Keep in mind that the vagina is an organ that cleans itself.
So ladies, keep these tips in mind and vaginal pH levels under check!