Feminine Health 101
Many women never have the benefit of a frank, open discussion about feminine health and the importance of maintaining a healthy pH balance “down there.” Many women do not realize the vagina is a delicate ecosystem that requires a balanced environment to remain healthy; and events like menstruation, sex, and hormonal changes can throw off that balance. The result can be embarrassing odor and discomfort.
According to Lauren Streicher, MD, assistant clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University, healthy pH and beneficial lactobacillus are the keys to feminine health and can help reduce risk of vaginal issues. As Dr. Streicher points out in her blog, When Your Vagina’s in a Phunk, “pH refers to the vagina’s acidity level. A vaginal pH of 3.5 - 4.5 indicates that there is a perfect amount of good bacteria (lactobacilli) and no overgrowth of the bad bacteria that can cause odor and irritation.”
Yet women experience many of the triggers for elevated pH on a regular basis:
1. Period – The pH of blood is 7.4, which is much more alkaline than normal vaginal pH (3.5 - 4.5). This can lead to elevated pH, especially during a heavy or lengthy period.
2. Sex – Intercourse can also change vaginal pH. Semen has a pH of 7.1 to 8 and can elevate pH.
3. Douching – Any vaginal infusion of water or other fluids can affect vaginal pH, as the pH of water is 7 and douching can disrupt vaginal flora. Fragrances and perfumes can also irritate the vagina.
4. Medication – Many different kinds of medications, from birth control pills to antihistamines, can alter hormone levels, dry out the vagina and affect pH.
5. Hormones – Pregnancy, menopause and your normal monthly cycle can cause hormone changes that alter vaginal pH.
To eliminate vaginal odor and relieve discomfort, women can deal directly with the cause, unbalanced vaginal pH. One simple solution that is often recommended by OB/Gyns is RepHresh Vaginal Gel.
“By learning how to control pH, women can maintain vaginal health and help avoid any issues that could stem from elevated pH,” said Dr. Streicher. “By making sure to keep the vaginal environment balanced and healthy with RepHresh Gel during these trigger times, women reduce the risk of vaginal issues.”