First thing's first: what's pH again?
pH is the measurement of how acidic or alkaline a substance is. pH runs on a scale of 0-14. Anything below 7 is considered acidic, and anything above 7 is considered alkaline (aka basic).
So, why do pH levels matter? Well, when it comes to vaginal health, pH levels tell us whether we're in a healthy range or not.
What's considered a healthy pH?
The normal vaginal pH level is between 3.8 and 4.5. Take another peek at the scale above and you'll see that it's moderately acidic.
However, vaginal pH levels tend to change in different stages of life. For example, people who have yet to reach their menstruating years, and after menopause, tend to have a higher vaginal pH.
Acidic vaginal environment = protective!
Higher vaginal pH levels are more welcoming for unhealthy bacteria to grow. An acidic vaginal environment, on the other hand, creates a barrier that prevents unhealthy bacteria & yeast from multiplying too quickly and causing infection.
High vaginal pH can put you at risk of infections like Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) and Trichomoniasis (Trich).
Signs and symptoms of an unbalanced vaginal pH can include: a foul or fishy smell; an unusual white, grey, or green discharge; vaginal itching; and a burning sensation when you pee. Consult your doctor if you're experiencing any of these symptoms.
A couple tips for maintaining a balanced vaginal pH:
Use protection! Semen is alkaline, which can encourage the growth of certain bacteria. Yet another reason to stock up on Slipp!
Don't use vaginal soaps and do not douche (douching = cleaning out of the vagina with water or other fluids). These things can increase the pH level and encourage the growth of harmful bacteria. Reminder: your vagina is self-cleansing!
As always, consult with your doctor if you're experiencing any symptoms!