For some, the concept of pH is unknown. But to know about pH levels can actually make a huge difference in how one’s body functions. Maintaining the right pH means the ability to function at an optimal level.
That is why, today, we’re going to be taking a look at the pH level of the vagina. Yes, it’s true that having intercourse can disrupt one’s pH balance. So, essentially, it is very possible that one’s husband can throw off their vulva owner’s pH level.
Having said that, knowing the facts, and how to get your pH just right, can have a positive impact on your health. We say: knowledge is power.
“My Husband Throws Off my pH Balance”: An Intro to Vaginal pH Levels
Firstly, what exactly is a pH level? pH stands for “potential of hydrogen”. It is a scale that is used to specify the acidity or basicity (alkaline) of a water-based solution.
The values of pH range from zero to 14 where zero is the most acidic and 14 is the most basic. When it comes to water, the pH level is 7, which is considered neutral (not acidic or basic). And for more extreme examples, a battery is zero, while drain cleaner is 14.
To get more specific and on-topic, a healthy vagina has a pH level of between 3.8 and 5. This means that the vagina is moderately acidic. When this pH level is maintained, it can help keep a number of bacterial and fungal infections at bay.
But it is normal for a vulva owners’ pH to fluctuate depending on their age.
For example, during their reproductive years, a normal vaginal pH is between 4 and 4.5. Then, for those pre-menstruation and postmenopausal, a normal pH is slightly higher than 4.5.
With that, there are many factors that can contribute to the changing of a vagina’s pH level, creating imbalance. When one’s vaginal pH increases, for example, it can cause a slew of uncomfortable situations.
What Causes an Increased Vaginal pH?
There are a number of different conditions and infections that can increase one’s vaginal pH. Some of the most common include:
Bacterial vaginosis: this is a medical condition when there is too much bacteria in the vagina. When experienced, the pH of the vagina may increase, leaving one to possibly experience itching, burning, or pain in the vagina. It could also include a burning sensation during urination and/or white or gray discharge.
Douching: many individuals still believe that douching is a healthy practice, but in actuality, it’s not. When a vulva owner douches, they’re essentially washing out good bacteria which can have a big effect on their pH level, making them more susceptible to infections.
Menopause: some postmenopausal individuals may have a higher pH level. This could be because there is reduction in estrogen levels.
Yeast Infections: a yeast infection is when there is an overgrowth of yeast (a type of fungus). During a yeast infection, one’s pH level can reach up to 7 or more, creating an environment for the infection to thrive.
Trichomoniasis: this is a common STI that can cause one’s vaginal pH to increase to 6 or more.
Among these conditions, bacterial vaginosis (BV) and yeast infections are quite common, but they are curable with either antibiotics or antifungal medications, depending on the condition.
What Can Throw Off a Woman’s pH Balance?
Along with the conditions mentioned above, there are a handful of other things that can throw off a woman’s pH balance, such as…
Not getting the right amount of probiotics: probiotics work to restore the natural pH levels in the body. You can find them in yogurt, miso, and kombucha, and/or you could take a probiotic supplement.
Not using contraception: this includes introducing semen into the body (aka a partner or husband throwing off your pH), affecting vaginal pH levels (more on that below).
Not changing tampons regularly: blood is slightly basic, so if a tampon is worn for too long during one’s period, it could actively increase one’s vaginal pH level. You could consider using a menstrual cup.
Wearing tight underwear: underwear that is tight or not made of breathable material (nylon, for example) can trap heat and moisture, increasing the chance of getting a yeast infection.
Using spermicidal foam: this kind of birth control can cause an upset in the natural balance of one’s vagina, which can lead to an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast.
Using products that contain perfume: products such as body wash that contain perfume often kill bacteria including the good bacteria that your vagina needs to maintain a healthy pH and to thrive.
Can a Man Throw Off a Woman’s pH Balance?
Yes, indeed, a man can throw off a woman’s pH balance… during unprotected sex in which he ejaculates inside of her.
In other words, semen can interrupt the natural pH balance of the vagina because semen has a higher pH level than the vagina.
What this essentially means is that, when semen enters the vagina, the growth of healthy bacteria inside of the vagina could be thrown off. This is due to the higher pH level of semen (between 7.1 and 8).
So, when semen enters the vagina, the pH of the vagina will rise in order to create a more alkaline environment in order to encourage fertilization.
And yes, while this practice is necessary for conception, it can open one up to the risk of infection. There is just no way around it.
If you’re not looking to get pregnant however, here’s how to stop sperm from throwing off pH balance:
Use condoms: a condom will act as a barrier, stopping sperm from entering the vagina and disrupting the pH, and help protect one from contracting STIs.
Always urinate after sex: peeing after sex can help to flush out bacteria that was introduced during intercourse.
Wash your vagina with warm water (and unscented soap) after intercourse: washing your vagina with warm water can also wash away bacteria, which can protect you from getting a yeast or bacterial infection. You could use an unscented soap too, if you prefer.
Can Having Sex Throw off Your pH Balance?
Having sex can throw off your pH balance, yes. But it will only do so when sperm is introduced into the vagina.
So, if you’re having sex using a condom, the chances that your pH level is interrupted is much lower. Additionally, the pull-out method, or when a penis owner does not ejaculate, could also protect you against a pH imbalance of the vagina.
In short, it is semen that can cause a pH imbalance in the vagina.
As we mentioned above, this is because healthy sperm are more alkaline while the vagina is more acidic. When sperm is introduced inside of the vagina, the pH is then thrown off to accommodate the sperm and conception.
Can Saliva Throw off pH Balance?
Yes, saliva can throw off pH balance in the vagina.
In the oral cavity (mouth), the pH is around 6.7 to 7.3, making it more alkaline than the vagina. This then works similarly to what happens when semen enters the vagina: it causes a pH imbalance. This imbalance could then result in vaginal or yeast infections.
The thing about saliva however is that many people use it as a form of lubricant during penetration. This is not only a bad idea because it isn’t as slippery as using a good lube, but it could also cause tearing because it dries up easily.
Alternatively, finding a pH balanced lubricant that matches your vagina is a safe and excellent way to maintain a healthy pH level.
How to Protect your pH with pH-Friendly Products
Use a pH optimized lubricant that matches your vagina’s pH: there are plenty of lubes out there that can upset your vagina’s natural pH. For that reason, we suggest looking at the brands you’re using to make sure that they are pH optimized. Some great examples include:
Use a natural body wash that won’t upset your pH: avoid using perfumed body washes and opt for one that’s pH balanced, such as Shower Care by Sitre. This body wash is a combination of shower gel and intimate soap, so it’s not only good for your skin but also, your vagina.
Use skincare products that are good for your pH: Take care of your skin by using a pH balanced product. The Revitalising Intimate Massage Drops is a two-in-one intimate product that is good for your skin and great to use as lubricant.
Nourish your intimate areas with pH balanced sexual wellness items: there are products that can hydrate your intimate area while being fun to use during play time. The Intimate Solid Perfume is long-lasting, coconut scented, and edible. It also respects the natural pH of the vulva.
Summary: How to Protect your pH!
It’s clear that there are a variety of different ways that you can keep your natural pH level. So, to sum up what we’ve learned today, here’s how to protect your pH:
- Refrain from douching
- Have protected sex using condoms
- Include probiotics into your diet
- Be mindful of the tightness and material of your underwear
- Use pH balanced products
- Change your tampon regularly
- Urinate after sex
- Wash your intimate area after sex
- Don’t use saliva as lubricant
By following these simple tips, you can confidently say that you’re doing your part in keeping a balanced vaginal pH. Not just that, but you’re potentially eradicating the chance of getting a bacterial or fungal infection. All round good news, wouldn’t you say?