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Quiz by Dr. Alyssa Dweck^:

Do You Know the Ins and Outs of How Sex Can Impact Vaginal pH?

Quiz by Dr. Alyssa Dweck^:

The material provided below is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the diagnosis or treatment by a qualified healthcare professional. You should always seek medical advice before consuming any new medicines or supplements. AZO products referenced on this website are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease such as overactive bladder, urinary tract infections, or vaginal infections.

What’s up with my vaginal pH? I’m guessing this might be the last thing on most women’s minds during sex. Believe it or not, the two are actually intimately related, no pun intended. For starters, the vagina has an incredible ability to maintain a healthy acidic pH, typically in the 3.8–4.5 range. This occurs because “healthy” lactobacilli—lactic acid producing bacteria—naturally reside in the vagina to keep all in check. The result? A healthy and delicate balance of yeast and bacteria called the vaginal microbiome.

Ready for a quick “V” quiz on ways sex can play a role in vaginal pH balance?

It seems semen, spermicides, lubricants, underwear material and even sex partners can disrupt vaginal pH. As pH levels become imbalanced, symptoms and signs of vaginal infection can occur. These include unusual discharge, odor, itching, irritation and just general “V” misery. 

True or False? 

Chemicals in certain lubricants and spermicides can affect your vaginal pH balance. 

TRUE. Spermicides can irritate the delicate intimate tissues. Some lubricants contain chemicals and super high osmolality, a measure of cell pressure and cell water transport ability. If a lubricant’s osmolality is very high, it alters vaginal pH and wreaks “V” havoc.

True or False? 

Semen can disrupt your vaginal pH. 

TRUE. In fact, exposure to semen can alter the vaginal pH, and increase risk of bacterial vaginosis (BV) an imbalance of the usual flora. The result? A notable thin gray watery discharge with a characteristic fishy odor, irritation, and itching. This is particularly common when engaging with more than one partner. Condoms can help prevent this.

True or False? 

Bacteria from saliva can disrupt your vaginal pH. 

TRUE. Saliva has a pH in the basic range from 6.2–7.6. As you may recall, the vagina maintains an acidic pH from 3.8–4.5. Sure, saliva is cheap and always available as a lubricant for intimacy in a pinch. When it comes to pH however, saliva might alter the natural vaginal environment.

True or False?

Your choice of underwear and sexy lingerie might influence your vaginal health.  

TRUE. However, you don’t have to give up beautiful and sexy underwear to optimize intimate health. Consider a cotton crotch rather than a synthetic material such as polyester or nylon. Cotton offers excellent breathability and moisture wicking. This is beneficial since yeast and non-beneficial bacteria thrive in moist environments. 

True or False?

A probiotic specifically formulated with vaginal health in mind may play a role in healthy vaginal pH.  

TRUE. I recommend AZO Complete Feminine Balance® to help maintain your feminine health by balancing your vaginal pH and replenishing good bacteria.* It’s best to also moderate sugar and alcohol intake and maintain a healthy diet and exercise plan. 

Who knew? What you’re doing in between the sheets might be affecting your vaginal health. 

ABOUT DR. ALYSSA DWECK:

Dr. Alyssa Dweck^ is a practicing OB-GYN in Westchester County, N.Y. She has been voted Top Doctor in New York Magazine and Westchester County. She is proficient in gynecologic surgery, has expertise in female sexual health and provides gynecologic care to women of all ages. Dr. Dweck has co-authored three books, including The Complete A to Z for Your V: A Women's Guide to Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Your Vagina—Health, Pleasure, Hormones, and More, which tells women of all ages what they need to know about their own unique health.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

AZO® and AZO Complete Feminine Balance® are trademarks of DSM.

^Dr. Alyssa Dweck is a paid spokesperson for AZO®.