Every day I get questions about what is normal. This should not surprise me because of what I do on a daily basis.
What is surprising however, is how little women know, about how their bodies work.
So here goes……
To all the women who want to understand more …
And to all the men who want to understand their partner’s bodies more…
The VAGINA is not a mysterious part of the body…..
It is not to be feared….
It is fascinating…..I agree… and interesting….
BUT VERY NORMAL…
It normally has a pH of between 3.5 to 4.5. This means that it is naturally acidic.
It is naturally filled with biological organisms that all live together in a symbiotic relationship.
The vagina contains many glands. These produce secretions and mucus that help with normal bodily functions . The fluids protect against infections, provide lubrication during sex, and help sperm travel to the egg they may want to fertilize.
It is when this regulated system gets disturbed that things may change and problems arise.
SO WHAT FACTORS AFFECT VAGINAL pH ?
#SEMEN: Sperm is alkaline with a pH of 7.1 to 8. After sex without a condom and ejaculation into the vagina, the pH will change temporarily. This will most often undergo re regulation by lactobacilli – the good bacteria that occur naturally in the vagina that form acidic compounds and re balance the environment.
#YOUR PERIOD: Blood has a pH of 7.4. Again, this will cause a temporary change that should be able to fix itself afterwards.
#ANTIBIOTICS: Taking antibiotics to treat an infection anywhere in the body can have the unwanted side effect of killing off the lactobacilli in the vagina. The resulting alteration in the pH may then lead to an infection in this sensitive area.
#HORMONAL FLUCTUATIONS: Any situation like pregnancy, use of the oral contraceptive pill, or menopause can alter the sensitive bacterial balance and pH.
#FEMININE HYGIENE PRODUCTS: Use of scented products containing deodorants or the use of vaginal douches will upset the delicate balance of vaginal bacteria.
HOW CAN YOU MAINTAIN A HEALTHY VAGINA ?
1.Wear the correct underware. Breathable cotton panties absorb moisture from sweating and maintains dryness. Save the sexy non cotton lingerie for special occasions and wear for short periods of time.
2.Change out of wet swimwear or gym clothes as soon as possible. Wet garments against the skin of the vulva(entrance to the vagina) breeds bacteria.
3.Change pads and tampons frequently. Blood close to the skin can lead to the growth of unwanted bad bacteria.
4.Practice safe sex. Using a condom not only protects against pregnancy but has the added benefit of protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Herpes or Genital warts are diseases which cannot be cured. These are the “gifts that keep on giving”.
Change condoms when swopping from anal to vaginal sex.
5.Use vaginal probiotics. Inserting vaginal lactobacilli when appropriate, can balance off the pH and prevent alterations that encourage infections. Ask you doctor or pharmacist for their recommendations.
6.Your diet. Binging on alcohol and diets high in refined sugars promote growth of harmful bacteria. Watch your nutrition. Always maintain a good balance of raw and whole foods. Cut out preservatives. Read food labels. Take ownership of what you eat!
WATCH OUT FOR NEXT WEEK’S BLOG. I WILL BRING YOU PART TWO OF THE SERIES:
THE FOUR MOST COMMON REASONS FOR A VAGINAL DISCHARGE