May 26, 2022

What is a Normal Vaginal pH Level?

Good health is all about maintaining balance, including within your vagina! Enter: the vaginal pH level. More than just a topic in school science class, pH levels actually have a major influence on the overall health of your vagina. So, Team Libra is here to give you the low down on what pH is, what is normal pH, how you can tell if your pH is off, and our top tips on maintaining a healthy level.

What is a pH level? 

Basically, pH (or ‘potential hydrogen’) is a measure of how ‘acidic’ or ‘basic’ a substance is. It exists on a scale of 0 to 14, with a pH of less than 7 being considered acidic, and higher than 7 being classed as basic. Now, when it comes to the human body, right down to the vagina, pH levels play a big part in determining our overall health.

What is a normal pH level? 

The vagina’s ideal pH level typically sits between 3.8 and 4.5, which is considered about as acidic as a tomato! This can also vary based on your age. Through your reproductive years (around 15 - 49 years old), vaginal pH normally sits at or below 4.5. But, before you begin to menstruate, and after menopause, a healthy pH is generally above 4.5.

What happens when the vaginal pH level becomes unbalanced? 

We know that thinking of your vagina as acidic may seem a little strange but being moderately acidic provides natural protection against unhealthy bacteria and infections. When the pH balance is off, our natural defences are down, and we can become more susceptible to potential infections, such as Bacterial Vaginosis (BV).

While this may sound major, rest assured that minor fluctuations in our pH level are totally expected, as there are a number of things that can affect it. These include:

  • Using harsh soaps or douching - While good hygiene is super important, going OTT with cleaning can wash away the naturally occurring ‘good’ bacteria found in the vagina. It can increase the pH level and encourage the growth of ‘bad’ bacteria.
  • Wearing tight clothes/underwear - Wherever possible, it’s best to keep your vagina clean and dry. Trapped heat and moisture can cause yeast to thrive, and certain types of clothing can encourage this.
  • Getting your period - Menstrual blood is considered more ‘basic’ on the pH scale, which can raise the vaginal pH level. 

What are the signs and symptoms of an unbalanced vaginal pH? 

Experiencing discomfort around your vagina may suggest an unbalanced vaginal pH, and lead to infection. A trip to your GP can help you to determine if your pH is unbalanced, and is especially recommended if you notice any of the below signs and symptoms:

  • A foul or ‘fishy’ odour coming
  • Vaginal itching
  • Burning during urination
  • Unusual grey, white or green discharge 

What can I do to maintain a normal and balanced vaginal pH level? 

There is a tonne of things that you can do to help maintain your vaginal pH balance, and chances are you’re already doing some of them! 

  • Keep up your nutrition and hydration - Following a well-rounded diet that includes yoghurt (a great source of beneficial bacteria) and lots of water can be helpful to your overall health, and to keep your vaginal pH balanced.
  • Avoid douching and stick to using gentle, fragrance-free products to wash your vulva - If you’re experiencing odour, it’s best to see your GP rather than try to conceal the odour with heavily scented products.
  • Change your pad or tampon regularly - As a rule of thumb, around 3 - 4 hours is best, but this can depend on your flow. As well as preventing accidental leaks, it keeps you fresh and helps to put a stop to the spreading of bad bacteria.
  • Take breaks from wearing tight-fitting pants and stick to undies made from breathable materials. It’s also best to change out of swimmers or sweaty activewear ASAP!
  • Use liners to help keep your undies fresh - Our NEW ProSkin liners are made from super soft and breathable materials, plus we’ve added a top sheet infused with a mild lactic acid, specially designed to support a healthy pH balance and to care for your vagina.

As we mentioned, good bacteria are great for your vaginal health - especially the type of bacteria called ‘lactobacillus’. Lactobacillus produces lactic acid, which helps to keep the vagina at a healthy level of acidity: preventing bacterial infections like BV. 

Looking after your vaginal health is a super important factor in your general wellbeing, so making an effort to maintain a balanced vaginal pH level is key! Stay in tune with your body and what feels normal for you, and if you’re ever in doubt, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your GP for expert advice.

Love, Libra x

Essity Australasia makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the information. This information should be used only as a guide and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional, medical or other health professional advice.


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