How to Naturally Restore Vaginal pH and Solve Yeast Infection
How to Naturally Restore Vaginal pH and Solve Yeast Infection
Itching, burning sensations or strange discharge can result if your vaginal pH is out of balance. This is important because the pH of your vagina is designed to be slightly acidic to ward off infection. If it becomes too alkaline, you could experience discomfort down there.
The scientific term for a dysbiosis in your vaginal pH is “bacterial vaginosis.” It’s also referred to as a yeast infection in some circles. A disturbed vaginal pH can lead to inflammation and infection. Either way, if you’re experiencing discomfort, you need to quickly change a few lifestyle factors to bring things back in line. The good news is that you can do this quickly, cheaply and easily.
In this article, we’ll discuss what a normal vaginal pH is; how stress can impact your vaginal pH; factors that can cause an imbalance to your natural pH levels; as well as tips and tricks to naturally restore your vaginal pH.
What’s a Normal Vaginal pH?
pH means the ‘potential of hydrogen’ and it measures how acidic or alkaline things are.
Seven is considered neutral while a higher pH is alkaline and a lower pH is acidic. The pH of your vagina is slightly acidic and should be in the range between pH 3.8 – 4.5.
Can Stress Throw Off Your pH Balance?
For sure! All types of stress impact your health, including vaginal health. When you get stressed out psychologically, then the hormone cortisol is released.
This is problematic when it comes to prolonged or chronic stress. When we’re under a lot of stress, our fight-or-flight hormones surge, which can put us at risk for a plethora of infections. Including infections of the genitalia.
Similar to other parts of your body, like the gut, your vagina is teeming with bacteria designed to keep your private parts healthy. Stress can alter the microbes in all areas of your body, throwing the delicate pH of your vagina out of whack.
Take time out of your day to de-stress by meditating, walking in nature, exercising, deep breathing or listening to your favourite music.
Probiotics and Microbes for pH Balance
“The vagina contains more bacteria than anywhere else in the body after the bowel, but the bacteria are there for a reason.” – Professor Ronnie Lamont, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
Interestingly, the bacteria in the vagina can produce a naturally occurring antibiotic known as bacteriocins. Creating a natural defence system to ward off invading bacteria.
It’s important that your good bacteria outnumber the bad, to ensure that your vagina will have ample protection against foreign bacteria.
The main micro-organism that keeps your vaginal pH within the natural range is lactobacilli.
7 Things That Throw Off Your pH Balance
We’re all about practical tips in this blog, but before we get to recommendations, let’s take a closer look at some things that can throw your pH balance out of whack.
1. Sperm and vaginal pH
Semen is alkaline, with a pH of between pH 7-8. While the vagina is acidic. This mismatch means that sperm could alter vaginal pH levels and cause dysbiosis.
2. Periods and tampon use
Menstrual blood is more alkaline than the vagina, therefore should be allowed to leave the body swiftly. Tampons soak up everything, including good bacteria. Leaving the vagina dry and susceptible to infection.
Healthier options include using a menstrual cup or a vaginal pH balancing tampon.
As we’ve discussed, the vagina is home for a large number of bacteria. As such, antibiotic use can throw your pH out of balance. Both in your gut and in your vagina, because antibiotics decimate microbial populations.
4. Menopause and vaginal pH
During the menopause, many people struggle with UTIs. This is due to a change in estrogen levels. In fact, one 2014 study found that vaginal pH could be a marker for the menopause. They measured follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in 173 women and found that menopausal women had a more alkaline pH.
5. Urinary tract infection (UTI)
The pH of your vagina may make a UTI more likely. Reduced estrogen levels in women going through the menopause can lead to developing a UTI. Having a high pH doesn’t automatically mean you’ll develop a UTI. It’s simply that the lack of protection from the good bacteria could put you at greater risk of developing a UTI.
6. Clothing and hygiene
Wearing tight pants or trousers can encourage the growth of bad bacteria in the vagina. Also making sure that you wipe yourself front to back after going to the loo can help prevent bad bacteria from entering the vagina.
Douching is the practice of cleaning the vagina with water or soap. The vagina is self-cleaning and shouldn’t be interfered with. Despite this, one in five women douche. Douching has been linked to vaginal infections, an overgrowth of bad bacteria, a reduction in good bacteria, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and even trouble conceiving.
4 Tips to Restore Your Vaginal pH Naturally
We did promise some practical tips, didn’t we?
1. Consume more probiotics
The good bacteria Lactobacilli is an abundant microbe in the vagina. The probiotic Lactobacilli is found in fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi and tempeh. It is also available as a probiotic supplement.
Both garlic and garlic tablets contain an antioxidant compound called allicin. One study of 120 women found that consuming garlic tablets twice a day was effective against vaginal yeast infection.
As discussed above, stress can exacerbate vaginal yeast infections. As such, finding ways to de-stress and relax is vital in balancing your vaginal pH. Why not take a bath, listen to soothing music, do some yoga or meditate to calm your nervous system.
4. Wear breathable underwear, loose clothing
Clean breathable underwear can help the good bacteria proliferate because bad bacteria will grow and take over when you wear tight pants.
The Bottom Line
A yeast infection can drive you mad. But the good news is that it’s relatively easy to restore your vaginal pH and avoid discomfort.
One of the most impactful ways to restore your vaginal pH is to balance the microbial environment. The pH of your vagina should be slightly acidic and can be encouraged to reset by taking probiotics, de-stressing and wearing breathable clothing.
Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification and personal development.
Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more