You may hear terms like pH, acid, and alkaline more often in a chemistry class than when talking about your body. But the pH of your vagina is acidic. Your vagina stays clean on its own with the help of your discharge and the many harmless bacteria that live there. This bacteria is a very important part of keeping the pH of your vaginal area at the right level. The ecosystem is pretty fragile, but sex can change that. Menstruation and outside things like scented wash products can also change the pH of your vagina, which can lead to pain, infection, and swelling.
The vagina has the second-most bacteria in the body, after the gut. One of its most important jobs is to keep the pH of the vaginal area at a healthy level. The vaginal pH should be between 3.8 and 4.5 to be healthy. This is very sour, but that can change with time. A healthy pH level for people ages 15 to 49 is 4.5 or less. But the pH may be higher than this before your period and after menopause. Your vagina’s pH is important because it protects you from bad bacteria and infections that thrive in less acidic environments.
When you have sex with a man without protection, the pH of your vagina changes. This is because the semen has a pH between 7.1 and 8. During sex, the pH of your vagina rises to create a more alkaline environment that protects the sperm and makes it easier for them to fertilize an egg. This can also make certain bacteria grow faster.
Can a man throw off a woman’s ph balance?
Even though this rise in pH is great for getting pregnant, it makes you more likely to get sick. Clinicians say you should go to the bathroom both before and after having sex. This is because when you go to the bathroom, you flush out bacteria that may have been pushed into your urethra during sex. This could lead to an infection in your urinary tract
It’s important to take care of your vaginal health. Your vagina’s pH can be changed by more than just having sex without protection. Some medicines can change the pH, and your hormones will change it during your menstrual cycle. Since blood has a pH of 7.4, the pH of your vagina may rise when you have your period. In the same way, water has a pH of seven, so putting water in the vagina can irritate it.
Changes are especially hard on the bacteria in your vagina. Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease that affects about 3.7 million people in the U.S. You are more likely to get it if the pH of your vagina is high. Bacterial vaginosis also makes the discharge smell and change. Even though this isn’t dangerous on its own, it makes you more susceptible to human papillomavirus (HPV) and herpes simplex virus (HSV).
If you use unscented, gentle soaps and washes to clean your vagina and vulva, it’s very unlikely that you’ll change the pH of your vagina. It is so important to your health because it keeps you from getting sick. But because the semen has a higher pH and grows best in an alkaline environment, having sex with a man without protection can raise the pH of your vagina.
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