VaginalYeast

Quiz by Dr. K:

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

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. AZO Complete Feminine Balance® helps 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. KIRA SCHMID HALAK:

Dr. Kira Schmid Halak received her doctorate in naturopathic medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, WA. Dr Halak is Senior manager of global R&D (Research & Development) for the AZO and Estroven brands and is passionate about women’s health. She was also the scientific director for the integrative medicine textbook, Disease Prevention & Treatment, and she is often heard on national and regional health programs, as well as being a frequent contributor to widely read health and wellness publications. 


*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.