Vaginal pH – is your vagina acid or alkaline?

You may have heard that the vaginal pH value is an important part of intimate health. But what exactly is pH and why is it so important for our reproductive health? Keep reading to find out what a normal vaginal pH value is and whether your vagina should be acid or alkaline.

What is pH value?

pH is a scale that indicates the acidity and alkalinity. The range goes from 0 to 14, with 0 being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline. Water is pH 7, which is generally referred to as pH neutral. A healthy vaginal pH value is somewhere between 3.8 and 4.5, well into the acidic range. The cause for this are the good bacteria living in the vagina that produce lactic acid that reduces the pH value.

The importance of vaginal pH

The acidic environment of the vagina is a natural barrier to infection and irritation, since it represses the growth of bad bacteria which prefer a less acidic environment. This means that as long as our good bacteria count is high and the vaginal pH is acidic, bad bacteria have a very slim chance of overgrowing, making the chance of infection low.

As soon as the vaginal pH value is increased above the value of 4.5, bad bacteria take the opportunity to develop and grow, eventually causing an infection. This can result in symptoms such as discharge, odor, itching and other vaginal discomforts. Changes in pH value are often connected to bacterial vaginosis.


"As soon as the vaginal pH value is increased above the value of 4.5, bad bacteria take the opportunity to develop and grow, eventually causing an infection"


What causes changes in pH?

pH value can change due to numerous factors – here are some things you can do to protect your vaginal health and keep the pH value in the acidic range:
  • Antibiotics. These medication kill not only the bad bacteria, but also the good ones that are responsible for keeping vagina acidic and healthy. While using antibiotics or after, use a product that stimulates your good bacteria.
  • Intercourse. The alkaline pH value of semen can disturb the acidic environment of the vagina and stimulate BV-causing bacteria. You may notice this by a strong odor after having unprotected sex. If this happens to you, consider using condom to prevent discomforts.
  • Breastfeeding and menopause. Reduction in estrogen levels (e.g. due to breastfeeding or menopause) can reduce the numbers of lactobacilli, and eventually cause an increase in vaginal pH (thus, reduction in acidity). If you are breastfeeding or are in menopause, try a prebiotic product that can stimulate the good bacteria to grow and keep your pH value in the healthy range.