Keeping the pH level of your vagina balanced is essential to your vaginal health. A vaginal pH level that is too alkaline can lead to an increased risk of bacterial growth. However, if your vaginal pH level is too low, it can lead to infertility. Maintaining the right vaginal pH level will keep your vagina in good health by preventing bacterial infections without affecting your fertility.
What Is Vaginal pH?
In chemistry, pH (short for “potential of hydrogen”) is a way to measure how acidic or base (alkaline) a solution is. The pH scale ranges from 1 to 14, with 1 being the most acid, 14 being the most alkaline, and seven being considered neutral pH levels.
A healthy human body ranges on average between 7.35 to 7.45. However, the vagina is naturally much more acidic, with an average pH between 3.8 and 5. This acidity is caused by lactobacilli bacteria that live in the vagina and secrete lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide. Keeping the vagina acidic kills potential bacteria that could lead to an infection.
Since the vagina is an opening that allows things to enter the body, this acidity is what protects the vagina from pathogens. This is why maintaining a healthy vaginal pH level is so important. If the vagina is not acidic enough, it may not kill invading pathogens, resulting in some infection. If it is too acidic, however, it could affect your fertility.
What Causes an Unbalanced Vaginal pH?
Several factors can create an unbalanced vaginal pH level, including:
- Diet. The foods you eat can affect your vaginal pH levels, making them more acidic or alkaline. These changes typically occur over long periods of eating, either too acidic or too alkaline.
- Antibiotics. Antibiotics can be beneficial when they are needed. However, it is best to avoid them unless necessary. This is because antibiotics can kill beneficial bacteria as well. So, antibiotics may reduce the number of lactobacilli bacteria responsible for keeping vaginal pH acidic—raising the vaginal pH level.
- Douching. A douche is a device that introduces water into the body for medical or hygienic reasons. A vaginal douche is used to wash the vagina. While this may seem beneficial, clean practice can negatively affect vaginal health and hygiene. It can introduce other bacteria into the vagina that the acidic pH of vaginal fluid would have otherwise stopped on the outer surfaces of the vagina.
- Unprotected sex. Unprotected sex may also potentially introduce bacteria into the vagina. Anything that enters the vagina beyond the vagina’s protective outer folds can introduce bacteria.
- Menstrual periods. Blood from menstruation is slightly alkaline and can raise the pH level of the vagina. Suppose that blood is absorbed into a tampon or pad and remains stationary for too long. In that case, it can increase the vaginal pH level.
What Are the Signs of An Unbalanced Vaginal pH?
More often than not, an unbalanced vaginal pH is too alkaline. The vagina is rarely too acidic, as it is much more challenging for the body to maintain the highly acidic pH level of the vagina. A pH level that is too high can lead to vaginal infections like bacterial vaginosis and will typically show symptoms such as:
- Vaginal itching
- Pain or burning sensation while urinating
- White, gray, or green vaginal discharge
- A strong fishy smell
Natural Remedies for Women’s pH Balance
Thankfully, there are ways to restore and maintain vaginal pH levels from the comfort of your own home. Below, we’ll share some of the best home remedies for pH balance.
1. Get Rid of Any Current Vaginal Infections
First and foremost, getting rid of any current vaginal infections that may exist is essential. If a condition is present in the vagina, it will be challenging to maintain a healthy pH level.
The most common type of vaginal infection is bacterial vaginosis. The most common treatment for bacterial vaginosis is using a boric acid suppository. Boric acid is a natural chemical compound sold over the counter and has a variety of uses. It has powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Using a boric acid suppository has been used for many years as the most widely used treatment option for bacterial vaginosis.
The second most common type of vaginal infection is a vaginal yeast infection. This is a type of fungal infection caused by the yeast Candida albicans. Vaginal yeast infections can be challenging to treat, as they are often the result of a Candida infection in the gut that has spread to the vagina. So, in this case, one needs to undergo a Candida Cleanse Protocol to eliminate the overgrowth. Following a Candida cleanse with a Gut Health Restoration Protocol is also recommended to prevent the Candida infection from returning.
2. Supplement with A High-Quality Probiotic
Probiotics are live bacteria that have a beneficial effect on gut health. Your gut is made up of trillions of bacteria. Maintaining the right balance of these bacteria is essential to your health, just as maintaining the right balance of bacteria in the vagina is essential to vaginal health. Therefore, supplementing with a high-quality probiotic can help you maintain a healthy gut microbiome, which can support vaginal health as well. Most probiotics contain several species of lactobacilli bacteria, which are the species that help to keep the pH levels of the vagina acidic. This is also why yogurt is a popular food for women’s health, as a good yogurt contains live lactobacilli bacteria. If you choose to get your probiotics from yogurt, ensure that the product specifies that it contains live bacteria, as many of the popular yogurt brands are unfortunately of poor quality.
3. Keep Your Stress Levels Low
We all know that stress is bad for us. Yet, most of us live our days with overwhelming stress. Unfortunately, this stress has a very negative effect on our health, including vaginal health. Stress causes many physiological changes throughout the body that can harm the bacteria in your gut and vaginal bacteria. Several studies have found a connection between cortisol (the stress hormone) and bacterial vaginosis.
Some of the best home remedies for better pH balance are the practices that help you keep your stress levels low. Yoga, meditation, mindful breathing, regular exercise, playful activities, time spent with loved ones, time spent in nature, and time spent enjoying your favorite hobbies are some of the best ways to keep your stress levels low. In addition, it is crucial to find ways to minimize the stressors in your life when possible or practical.
Of course, it is also important to remember that stress is psychological, so much of our stress can be tied back to our attitude and way of thinking. While our thoughts are subtle, powerful, and often stubborn and difficult to change, we can change our way of thinking through practices like mindfulness, meditation, and positive affirmations. Just notice when you are stressed if the way you are thinking about the situation is causing you more stress than necessary. If so, try taking some deep breaths, letting go of that thought process, and replacing those thoughts with more optimistic thoughts. If you do, you can make an incredible transformation in your stress levels and your general happiness.
4. Clean Your Vagina with Care
Keeping your vagina clean is essential, but it is equally important to pay attention to how you clean your vagina. For example, cleaning with a douche may be done with good intentions but can introduce more bacteria into your vagina. One of the best natural remedies for pH balance is to keep your vagina clean and clean the right way.
What is the best way, you ask? First, gently rinse your vagina with good old-fashioned warm water. That is all that is necessary. However, you can also use a fragrance-free natural soap if you want to do a little extra cleaning.
5. Quit smoking
Smoking cigarettes has many health hazards. Not just lung health, but your entire body suffers from cigarette smoke. Most cigarettes contain toxins that can affect your whole body, including your vagina. If you smoke regularly, quitting smoking can be one of the best home remedies for throwing off pH balance.
Of course, it is not always so easy to do. Nicotine is an incredibly addictive substance; for many, a cigarette is the only thing that helps them get through the stressful circumstances they experience each day. Still, studies have found a direct link between smoking and the number of lactobacilli bacteria in the vagina—which is essential to maintaining vaginal health.
For your health, it is best to give up the habit of smoking cigarettes. If, for whatever reason, you choose not to give up smoking, at least try cutting back on the amount you smoke and switching to Smoking pure tobacco products instead of those chemical-laden packs you buy at the gas station.
6. Focus on Diet
Your diet affects your body’s overall pH. Generally, our bodies are well-equipped to maintain homeostasis. Still, a prolonged diet, either too alkaline or too acidic, can affect your vaginal pH. For most people, acidic foods are the problem. Foods that have an acidic pH include:
- Refined grains (white bread, pasta, pastries, processed grains, etc.)
- Processed foods
- Processed sugar
- Meat (especially processed meat)
- Citrus fruits (except lemons and limes)
Most people commonly consume these foods daily, so most tend to lean toward the acidic side of the pH scale. On the other hand, most beans and grains also tend to be either neutral or slightly acidic.
Foods that have an alkaline pH include:
- Most fruits (especially bananas, dates, and kiwis)
- Most vegetables (especially leafy green vegetables)
Those that eat exclusively fruits and vegetables, incredibly raw foods with many greens, tend to be more on the alkaline side of the pH scale.
Many people think this is a good thing. In contrast to the overly-acidic diets that most people eat, it is excellent to eat more alkaline foods. Still, the body aims for balance. Leaning too much to either side can b
Eating too alkaline of a diet can also have adverse effects, just as too acidic of a diet can. There is no need to overthink it; focus on eating a balanced diet. As mentioned, the body can maintain balance if we don’t go to extremes that throw off that balance.
If you have a vaginal pH that is too acidic, then eating more alkaline foods may be one of the best remedies for low pH balance. However, in most cases, the vaginal pH is too high. In this case, focus on more of the remedies above while also aiming to eat a balanced and nutritious diet.
Vaginal pH is essential for your vaginal health. A healthy vaginal pH range is between 3.8 and 5. This acidic pH helps prevent bacteria from entering the vagina and causing an infection. Unfortunately, many factors can throw off your vaginal pH levels. The most common are antibiotics, stress, and things that allow bacteria to enter beyond the protective outer layer of the vagina, such as douching or unprotected sex.
Understanding vaginal pH can empower you to take better care of your vagina and avoid things that might throw off your pH. Plus, with the natural remedies mentioned in this article, you can also restore your pH if it is unbalanced. Of course, if you are dealing with an infection of any kind, it is always recommended to talk to your doctor for guidance.