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4 Signs Your Vaginal pH Is Imbalanced—And How to Fix It

4 Signs Your Vaginal pH Is Imbalanced—And How to Fix It

Chances are you’ve read about supporting the ecosystem in your gut—but what about your vagina? One of the best barometers of vaginal health is your vaginal pH, which measures the acidity within your vagina.  Maintaining a healthy vaginal pH is essential for preventing infections and maintaining overall vaginal health. The pH level of the vagina typically ranges from 3.5 to 4.5, which is slightly acidic. If the pH level becomes imbalanced, it can lead to discomfort, itching, and an increased risk of infections. Here are four signs that your vaginal pH may be imbalanced, along with three remedies to help restore balance.

Sign #1: Unusual Discharge

One of the most common signs of an imbalanced vaginal pH is a change in vaginal discharge. Normal discharge is usually clear or milky white and has a mild odor. While it’s normal for your discharge to change slightly throughout your menstrual cycle, if it becomes especially thicker, clumpy, or has a particularly unpleasant odor, it may be a sign of an infection or an imbalanced pH level.

Sign #2: Itching and Irritation

An imbalanced vaginal pH can cause itching, irritation, and discomfort in the vaginal area. (A friendly reminder that if you notice redness, swelling, or burning sensations, it's important to see a healthcare provider to rule out anything more serious.)

Sign #3: Painful Urination

If you experience pain or burning sensations while peeing, it could be a sign of an imbalanced vaginal pH. This symptom can also be a sign of a urinary tract infection, so it's important to see a doctor for an official diagnosis.

Sign #4: Recurrent Infections

If you experience recurrent vaginal infections, it may be a sign of an imbalanced pH level. Yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis can both be caused by an imbalanced vaginal pH. If you experience recurrent infections, it's important to work with your doc to determine the underlying cause.

Now that you know which signs to look out for, let’s talk about restoring balance to your vaginal pH.

1. Talk to your doctor.

Yes, we’ll say it again (and again). Your ob-gyn can provide a more detailed look at your vaginal pH, get specific about the cause, and work with you on a long-term treatment plan. Plus, it’s worth it for the peace of mind alone, right?

2. Try a boric acid suppository.

A 2011 study published in the Journal of Women's Health found that boric acid suppositories were effective in treating recurrent bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections—two conditions that can both exacerbate and result from a pH imbalance. (Just check in with your doctor before trying any new treatment—but you knew that already, right?)

3. Consider herbal remedies—or acupuncture.

Traditional Chinese Medicine has a long history of using herbal remedies to support vaginal health. Herbs such as dong quai, red clover, and licorice root have been traditionally used to support hormonal balance and vaginal symptoms. In fact, one 2013 study found that women who took dong quai (known colloquially as “female ginseng”) reported less pain during their period.

As with modern science, TCM views vaginal discharge as a good biomarker of your vaginal health—yet another reason to keep an eye on its consistency throughout your cycle. And in addition to herbs, you might consider acupuncture to help you find balance. While studies that link acupuncture to addressing specific conditions like yeast infections are limited, one study did show a 100% improvement in sexual function after receiving acupuncture—and others suggest that acupuncture might help with menstrual and infertility symptoms

4. Take a probiotic.

It’s not just for gut health—taking probiotics can help restore a healthy balance of bacteria in the vagina, too. (And that “good” bacteria can help keep odor- and itch-causing bacteria at bay.) A 2018 study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that probiotics can be an effective treatment for bacterial vaginosis.

5. Cleanse regularly.

Day-to-day activities and your environment can throw you vaginal pH off-balance. Sweat, for example, has a pH of 6.3—well above the normal range of your vagina. If you work out frequently or have some particularly warm or humid weather, you may need to be more diligent about cleansing your vagina.

6. Use products that were specifically formulated for your vagina.

As tempting as it might be to use regular soap, for example, non-vaginal products can quickly throw your pH balance out of whack. Case in point: We formulated our products to be slightly acidic, since that’s what the vagina prefers.

A friendly reminder

Vaginal health comes down to balancing good habits—which is why arming yourself with knowledge, a good doctor, and the right products can help keep uncomfortable symptoms at bay. We formulated our products with your vaginal ecosystem in mind, combining the ancient wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine with modern clinical science to help you achieve lasting, real results.

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4 Signs Your Vaginal pH Is Imbalanced—And How to Fix It
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