The vagina must be taken care of to help ensure one’s sexual and overall health. Here are some tips to maintain healthy vaginal pH and lubrication.
Understanding Vaginal pH balance and Lubrication
pH is a unit of measurement for how acidic or basic a substance is from a scale of 1-14. The lower the number is on the scale, the more acidic a substance is. The normal pH balance of the female body is below 4.5.
Next to the bowel, the vagina comes second in terms of the amount of bacteria.
But these good bacteria are there to help maintain vaginal health. Their continued presence necessitates having the normal pH balance in the female body.
These bacteria are responsible for:
They function to outnumber other harmful bacteria that might invade the vagina.
Can produce bacteriocins
Bacteriocins are naturally occuring antibiotics that can help reduce or kill off other bacteria entering the vagina.
Stop invading bacteria from sticking to the vaginal wall
This prevents bad bacteria from invading the vaginal tissues.
Keep the pH balance at a healthy level
This in turn, keeps the balance of bacteria healthy inside the vagina.
What does these bacteria have to do with the pH balance in the female body?
Bacteria keep the vagina’s pH balance at its normally low level, which is below 4.5. Lactic acid produced by lactobacilli in the vagina can decrease pH levels. This helps prevent other organisms from growing inside your genitals. If the pH balance in the female body goes any higher (or if the vaginal pH gets more acidic), the number and quality of good bacteria might go down and bad bacteria might go up. This might lead to infections such as bacterial vaginosis or thrush.
Why is taking care of your vagina important?
Both the inside and outside areas of your vagina can get irritated and infected. This can lead to discomfort. It is important to take care of your vagina to ensure that it is free from infection and irritation. This way you can maintain healthy vaginal pH and lubrication.
Maintaining Healthy pH Levels
Here are some ways to maintain the healthy pH balance:
Practice safe sex
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are transmitted through bodily fluids. Unprotected sex increases the risk of you contracting these disease and infecting your vagina.
Wash your vagina properly
While the vagina cleans itself, it is advised to wash only the external area of your vagina with clean, warm water and other non-harmful soaps or gels. While on your period, washing it twice a day can help.
Pay attention to the products you use
Some soaps, perfumes, and gels may be harmful to your vagina. They may irritate your vagina as well as disturb the delicate balance of bacteria. Be mindful of the products you use.
Douching can lessen the amount of good bacteria found in your vagina. This can lead to infection and irritation. It could also push infection up into your uterus, or what is known as an “ascending infection.”
Eating probiotic rich products such as yogurt, kefir, or chia seeds is a good way to maintain the pH level in your vagina.
Maintain good perineal hygiene
Having good hygiene overall benefits your vagina. Always washing your hands, not shaving the entire pubic area, and wiping from front to back after urinating are some examples of good perineal hygiene.
Get regular check-ups from your gynecologist
Visit your gynecologist should you have unusual vaginal discharge or bleeding. Yearly visit for Pap tests are also advised to detect abnormalities at an early stage.
How to maintain reproductive health Have a healthy weight
Being underweight or overweight can affect ovulation. Being obese and overweight could also increase odor around the area.
Practice safe sex
As stated above, unprotected sex increases the chance of contracting STIs. Gonorrhea and chlamydia are sexually transmitted infections that can cause infertility.
Avoid working the night shift
Working the night shift can affect hormone production. This can affect ovulation.
Tobacco use can lower fertility. Smoking ages and depletes your egg cells.
Don’t drink too much alcohol
Drinking a lot of alcohol can increase your risk for ovulation disorders. It is also advised to practice abstinence from drink at conception and during pregnancy.
Lessen the consumption of caffeine
While low levels of caffeine are harmless, intake above 200 milligrams a day can cause problems in fertility.
Too much physical activity can stifle ovulation as well as lessen the production of the crucial hormone, progesterone.
Be wary of exposure to toxins
Pollutants and toxins such as lead, solvents, or pesticides, can cause infertility.
Treatment for vaginal dryness
Besides ensuring a healthy pH levels, it is also important to ensure proper vaginal lubrication. Vaginal dryness is a common condition that may cause itchiness and discomfort in the vagina. The lack of vaginal lubrication also results in pain and irritation during sexual intercourse.
Here are some treatment options for vaginal dryness to maintain vaginal lubrication:
Use vaginal moisturizers
If necessary, you can opt to use water or silicone-based products that can help lubricate your vagina. Here are some examples. Always ask your doctor before trying new treatments.
- KY Jelly
The use of petroleum jelly is not recommended especially for those who may be experiencing vulvar irritation.
Avoid oil or petroleum-based lubricants as these may increase infection and break down condoms.
If lubricants or moisturizers don’t work, one of the most effective forms of treatment for vaginal dryness is vaginal estrogen. This usually requires a prescription from your doctor.
You can also explore other options for lubrication if you are planning to have intercourse. Please consult with your doctor before trying any medication.
Learn more about Women’s Health, here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.