As cool as it can be to have a vagina, it goes without saying that every so often, the relationship we have with our bodies changes to one of annoyance. Vaginas can, at times, have a mind of their own. Sometimes, they bleed when you’re not expecting your period (and just so happen to be wearing white pants that day...ugh!). Other times, they may randomly queef in the middle of yoga class. But perhaps one of the most annoying parts of all is that when it comes to vaginas, almost anything is capable of throwing it off its pH balance.
For those of you who aren’t sure what a pH balance is, especially when it comes to your vagina, let’s start by discussing what a pH balance actually is and what’s considered “normal.”
For starters, every part of our body regulates its own pH system depending on the needs of the organ. “pH” refers to how acidic or basic (alkaline) a water-based solution is, measured on a scale of 0 to 14. Anything less than 7 is considered acidic, and anything more than 7 is considered basic. Pure water (or H20, if you will), which has a pH of 7, is neutral.
Dr. Barbara Frank, Harvard-Affiliated OGBYN and Medical Advisor for Attn: Grace tells BuzzFeed, “A normal vaginal pH is 4-4.5 if you use pH paper. This is slightly acidic. This more acidic pH helps keep 'bad bugs' like BV (Bacterial vaginosis), E. coli (which can cause UTIs), yeast, etc. from being able to grow.” In other words, if your vaginal pH level is above 4.5, then it provides the perfect environment for unhealthy bacteria to grow, putting you at risk for infections.
With that in mind, let's go over nine factors to be mindful of that may throw off your pH balance.
5.Unclean sex toys
7.Wearing underwear during sleep
Luckily, the vagina doesn’t need too much help maintaining the ideal pH balance. By incorporating a few simple lifestyle steps — like limiting your meat consumption, going commando during bedtime, or simply double-checking to make sure your partner’s fingernails are clean and trimmed before having some fun — you can maintain a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria and, in turn, keep the vagina problems to a minimum.
And if the recommended lifestyle changes don’t help restore your pH balance, then it's crucial to schedule an appointment with your doctor about other causes that may have thrown your pH out of whack. It may also be helpful to write notes about specific changes regarding your vagina — such as a change in discharge, odor, or any itching — so that your doctor can get a clear assessment of how to help you.
But most importantly, don't worry yourself to death if you notice something is off down there. Most of the time, an unbalanced pH is a benign way of your body naturally reacting to something. In other cases, it may require some effort on your part to get things back to normal. Either way, everyone's vagina has a unique microbiome that does unpredictable things, so don't stress!
Now let's hear from y'all! Is there anything you'd add to the list? What are some of your go-to methods for maintaining your pH balance? Let me know in the comments!