Understanding Vaginal pH Balance
A balanced pH environment is essential for preventing infections, healthy pregnancies, hormonal balance, and overall health. The normal vagina pH level is between 3.8 and 4.5, which means it’s acidic. This acidic environment helps against bacterial growth and infections. When it is either too acidic or too alkaline, there is a pH imbalance which is linked to higher risk for infection. The pH level of vaginal discharge combined with physical symptoms helps in determining the overall health of the vagina as well as provides clues about different vaginal infections. Vaginal pH screening is a routine practice at OB/GYN clinics. At-home vaginal pH test provides convenience to determine the pH level of vaginal discharge and seeking medical help if there is an increased risk for vaginal infections.
Why vaginal pH balance is important?
Different parts of your body have their unique/characteristic pH balances, including your vagina. Your vaginal pH level matters to prevent infection, maintain healthy pregnancies, and for hormonal changes. As mentioned earlier, the normal vagina pH level is about 3.8 to 4.5, which means it’s on the acidic side. But the acidity slightly decreases as you get older. Your vagina’s acidity helps protect it against unhealthy bacteria from multiplying too quickly and causing infection.
Symptoms of imbalance of vaginal pH
An unbalanced vaginal pH level can go along with bacterial infections and other health issues. Your vaginal pH balance might be off if you’re experiencing common symptoms of an infection. Some of these symptoms include:
- Strong, fish-like smell coming from your vagina
- Grey, green, or foamy vaginal discharge
- Itching around the vagina
- Swelling and irritation around the vagina
- Pain or burning feeling in the vagina during sex
- Burning sensation while urinating
These are symptoms of common infections like bacterial vaginosis (BV), trichomoniasis (trich), or yeast infections. Most of these infections fall under the larger category of vaginitis.
Common Vaginal Infections
Vaginitis is any inflammation or irritation of the vagina and surrounding area.
Vaginal Yeast Infection
Vaginal Yeast Infection, also known as candidiasis or vaginal thrush, is a common condition. A healthy vagina contains bacteria and some yeast cells. But when the balance of bacteria and yeast changes, the yeast cells can multiply. This causes inflammation, intense itchiness, and a thick, white discharge from the vagina.
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is a type of vaginal inflammation caused by the overgrowth of bacteria naturally found in the vagina. Anything that changes the chemistry of the vagina's pH balance can mess with bacteria levels and lead to infection.
Trichomoniasis, also called trich, is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD). It can occur in both men and women. In women, trichomoniasis can cause a foul-smelling vaginal discharge, genital itching, and painful urination.
An at-home vaginal screening test can be performed to check your vaginal health quickly. Vaginox vaginal pH test determines the pH level of vaginal fluid and provides clues of different vaginal infections right from the privacy of your home. The following pH chart can help you identify your vaginal balance and specific type of infection.
- CDC Staff, “Vaginal Candidiasis,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed Nov. 4, 2022.
- CDC Staff, “Trichomoniasis – CDC Basic Fact Sheet,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed Nov. 4, 2022.
- CDC Staff, “Bacterial Vaginosis – CDC Basic Fact Sheet,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed Nov. 4, 2022.
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