Have you experienced itchiness, a burning sensation, or a change colour of vaginal discharge? If yes, then it means that there is an imbalance in your vaginal ph.
The vaginal ph is a key factor in determining the health of your vagina. The ph scale relates to vaginal health thus, It’s important to have vaginal ph balanced. Let’s understand ‘How to get your Ph Balance back to Normal‘
1. What is ph?
Ph represents the potential hydrogen ions, It is used to measure the acidic and basic nature of any substances. The measured ph value helps in determining whether the substance is acidic or basic. The ph scale ranges from 0 to 14, 0 being very acidic and 14 being very basic. Water is considered to be neutral as its ph value is 7.
Let’s compare ph with examples, the ph of Battery acid is zero whereas the ph of bleach is over 13.
2. What is ph Imbalance?
The balance of acid and base in the body is called ph imbalance. Your body regulates the ph level of all the parts of the body which include the skin, digestive system, and reproductive system to ensure its efficient functioning.
3. How ph Relates to Vaginal Health?
The Ph plays a key role in vagina health. Based on the published article, the ph of a normal vagina is moderately acidic and ranges from 3.8 to 5 (Ph less than 7 is considered acidic), however, those in the pre-menstruation and menopause stage have a higher ph of more than 4.5.
The vaginal microbiome consists of a variety of microorganisms responsible for stabilizing the vaginal ecosystem. The vagina is covered with transparent fluid called vaginal fluid. The unique vaginal microflora maintains the physical and chemical environment of the vagina.
Lactobacillus bacteria is a primary player in maintaining the acidic environment of the vagina. This microorganism produces lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide that gives the vagina ph levels of 4 to 4.5.
The resulting acidic ph level provides a protective effect that acts as a barrier to harmful bacteria-causing infection. Not only this, but Lactobacillus bacteria also keep you away from sexually transmitted infections.
The acidic environment of the vagina protects you from harmful bacteria. If the Ph is too alkaline, there are chances of bacterial overgrowth. Having an unbalanced ph balance puts you at risk of a urinary tract infection (UTI).
4. Symptoms of the Unhealthy Vagina
4.1. Notice the Colour Change in Vaginal Discharge-
Your discharge is Yellow green, white, cheesy, and grey. The healthy discharge is from clear to white.
Green or yellow discharge– shows that that may be diagnosed with a parasitical infection called Trichomoniasis.
4.2. The Noticeable Odour of Vaginal Discharge-
You may notice a foul or fishy odour. Mild odour or odourless means it is a Healthy discharge.
A foul or fishy odour– indicates that you may be diagnosed with a bacterial infection called Bacterial vaginosis (BV).
4.3. Discomfort, Itchiness, or Irritation around the Vaginal Vulva-
You may experience an Itchy or burning sensation around the vulvar region or opening of the vagina. Burning sensation while peeing or discomfort during sexual intercourse.
Itchiness or irritation– risk that you may be diagnosed with a fungal or yeast infection called Vulvovaginal candidiasis.
5. What are the Factors Causing an Imbalance in Vaginal ph?
The factors like-
5.1. Antibiotics– Antibiotics are used to kill or arrest bacterial growth. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial vaginitis, it kills harmful bacteria it can also kill good bacteria that maintain an acidic ph and a healthy vagina.
5.2. Menstrual cycle variation- During menstruation, the menstrual blood absorbed by the tampon or the pad sits in place. The Blood being slightly alkaline elevates the vaginal Ph. Imbalance in vaginal ph changes the vaginal microbiome which can cause Bacterial vaginosis (BV).
5.3. Vaginal douching – Vagina has a self-cleaning mechanism and doesn’t require cleaning. Avoid using harsh soaps or solutions, and clean it with warm water. Excessive cleaning or douching will strip the vaginal flora of beneficial bacteria disturbing vaginal ph levels.
5.4. Unprotected sex- Semen is relatively alkaline with a ph of 8, The ph of the vagina can be altered leaving the vagina less protected against infection. Using condoms while sexual intercourse will also save you from sexually transmitted infections.
6. How to Get Your ph Balance Back to Normal Naturally?
If you are looking for ways, how to get your ph balance back to normal? you should give natural remedies the first call.
6.1. Healthy Diet
Diet plays an important role in vaginal ph balance, here are tips for a healthy diet, to get your ph balance back to normal.
6.1.1. Include Leafy Vegetables-
They are natural blood purifiers. Its nitrate content prevents vaginal dryness.
Leafy Vegetables like-
Kale, Spinach, collar greens chard.
Research soy contains phytoestrogen that imitates estrogen present in our body. It is useful for people with reduced estrogen levels, especially for menopausal and postmenopausal women. It also prevents vaginal dryness.
6.1.2. Cranberry Juice
Cranberry is loaded with antioxidants and acidic compounds. The acidic compounds reduce ph levels preventing infection from adhering to the bladder. It is suggested for persons with repetitive urinary tract infections.
You can have Cranberry juice or cranberry extract capsules. Make sure that it is sugar-free.
6.1.3. Consume Probiotics
Probiotics are good bacteria that help in fighting infections and enhance the microflora of the body.
Fermented food, Contains probiotics that introduce good bacteria helping to restore vaginal ph balance.
6.1.4. Fermented Foods
It is recommended to seek a doctor’s advice for Probiotic supplements. Your doctor may suggest oral supplements for probiotics if you are not getting enough of them from your diet.
Fermented foods like-
Sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, greek yogurt, Pickles, Kombucha, Miso,Tempeh, Traditional buttermilk.
6.1.5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids improve vaginal lubrication, especially during menopause. It is beneficial for vaginal dryness and also improves overall vaginal health. Eat foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids like fish oil, seeds, and nuts.
6.2. Increase Garlic Intake
Garlic shows antibacterial and antifungal effects. According to a study in 2014 garlic tablets (Garsin) can replace oral metronidazole which is used in treating a vaginal yeast infection or Bacterial vaginosis (BV).
You can also consider taking garlic tablets. Using garlic tablets can negate the side effects of oral metronidazole.
6.3. Diluted Apple Cider Vinegar
The acetic acid in vinegar also works as an antibacterial and antifungal. That’s why diluted apple cider vinegar is good to use as natural remedy to bring back vaginal ph to the normal level.
Dosage – A 2016 review found that 15 ml or 1 tablespoon diluted with water is enough for health benefits.
6.4. Boric Acid
According to the Cleveland Clinic, Boric acid is used for vaginal ph balance. It is suggested for the treatment of vaginal yeast infections. It relieves the symptoms like itching and burning.
Boric acid has antibacterial and antifungal properties that why it is used in antiseptic, medicated powders, eye, and skin lotions.
Boric acid is inserted through the vagina through gelatin capsules. However, you should consult a doctor for dosage and safety prior to use.
6.5. Hydrogen Peroxide
According to a study 2003 researchers report, using hydrogen peroxide for the vaginal for a week eliminated Bacterial vaginosis symptoms. It helps to restore normal vaginal ph (>4.5 )
6.6. Wear Clean Breathable Underwear
Prefer cotton underwear. Synthetic fiber is not good for underwear, as it traps moisture and makes a suitable environment for the growth of unhealthy bacteria and yeast. Try to keep the vaginal area dry, this reduces the risk of both BV and urinary tract infections.
7. Lifestyle Changes to Restore Vaginal ph Balance
Lifestyle changes may disturb a healthy ph balance. Here are some tips for lifestyle tips for ‘how to get your ph balance back to normal’.
7.1. Manage Your Stress
Stress can negatively impact your health including your vaginal ph.
Steps to Manage Stress-
Physical activities reduce stress hormones and produce brain-boosting chemicals called endorphins.
Meditation and Yoga
Practice Yoga for reducing stress. It brings mental and physical well-being to relax your mind. Yoga teaches you to control your breath which helps to calm and relax your mind. Meditation complementary to Yoga helps you to be more mindful and alert.
7.2. Stay Hydrated
Drink plenty of water and eat water-rich fruits. Dehydration can disturb the body’s electrolyte levels and alter ph levels.
7.3. Limit Excess Sugar
Eating too much sugar can put you at risk of BV and yeast infection.
7.4. Get Enough Sleep
Good night’s sleep helps to heal your skin and thus vagina. Sleeping panty-free is good for vaginal health. It will prevent yeast infections from flourishing.
7.5. Limit Consumption of
- Processed sugar
- Processed food
- Limit alcohol and caffeine.
7.6. Quit Smoking-
A Study in 2014 assesses the difference between the microbiota of smokers and non-smokers. It was found that smokers had low proportions of Lactobacillus bacteria than nonsmokers and hence increased risk of Vaginal infections.
8. When to See a Doctor
- When you notice abnormal vaginal discharge
- Pain in the abdomen or pelvic region.
- Symptoms are recurrent.
- When home remedies don’t work.
9. How to Check Vaginal ph Levels?
Vaginal ph tests are recommended to confirm the diagnosis, such kits are referred to as feminine screening kits.
Collect the sample at home and compare it with the ph chart provided with the test kit. Compare the ph carefully.
Remember, don’t take samples during menstruation or after sexual intercourse, it shows invalid results. The reason is, when you have sex vagina’s ph increases, creating an alkaline environment.
If the ph level exceeds the normal ph level of 4.5, it means you are diagnosed with Bacterial vaginosis (BV). Contact a women’s health care clinic, doctors will prescribe antibiotics for high vaginal ph.
Ph scale shows a normal vaginal ph level of 4.5 or slightly lower ph and if you have symptoms of burning, itching, and redness, this shows that you may be diagnosed with yeast infections.
Now, how to get your ph balance back to normal? Well, you should always try natural remedies first, and if the symptoms are more pronounced visit a doctor.
10. Treatment for Vaginal Infection
The treatment for infection totally depends on the kind of infection. So, according to the infection you are diagnosed with, your treatment is determined by your doctor. Here are some common medicines that your doctor or healthcare physician may prescribe-
10.1. Metronidazole-It is available in pill (oral) or a topical gel that is to be inserted into the vagina. This medicine can cause stomach upsets and nausea. Avoid alcohol during treatment.
10.2. Clindamycin– This antibiotic is available in cream, that is to be inserted inside the vagina. It is preferable for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis (BV).
10.3. Tinidazole (Tindamax)
This medicine is taken orally and used to treat parasitical bacterial and bacterial infections. It has side effects like stomach upset and nausea, so avoid alcohol during the treatment.
It comes in a granule form taken orally and used to treat BV. It is taken in a single dose. The granules are sprinkled on soft food like pudding and yoghurt.
If have an imbalanced vaginal ph you will notice symptoms like unusual discharge like Yellow, green, white, cheesy, and grey or you find it has a fishy odour. These symptoms occur due to bacterial overgrowth which can lead to BV or yeast infections.
You should first try the natural remedies to restore your vaginal ph balance, here is the summary-
- Wholesome diet
- Drink Cranberry juice
- Diluted Apple cider vinegar
- Consume probiotics
- Boric acid for (BV)
- Increase Garlic Intake
- Using Hydrogen peroxide for the vagina
- Wear clean breathable underwear
Be heedful of factors that increase your vaginal ph like unprotected sex, and menstrual hygiene, and don’t use harsh soap or solutions.
Some lifestyle changes will make a difference like avoiding alcohol, smoking, and good sleep. Exercise, yoga, and meditation help to relieve stress as stress can increase vaginal ph.
If you notice symptoms of vaginal infections you can confirm it by Vaginal ph test kits. Follow natural remedies to restore ph balance if they don’t work seek a doctor’s help.
Hope, this article answers ‘how to get your ph balance back to normal’.