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Feminine Hygiene

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There are a surprising number of triggers that can upset the vaginal ecosystem:

  • Menstruation: Blood has a pH of 7.4, so during your period, vaginal pH becomes elevated.
  • Tampons: Since they retain the fluids that cause the pH to increase, tampons can contribute to the problem
  • Intercourse: The pH of semen is 7.2 to 8
  • Douching and cleansers: Any vaginal infusion of water or other fluids can affect vaginal pH
  • Normal soap has a pH of 9 or more. The pH of water is 7, and fragrances and perfumes can also irritate the vagina.
  • Menopause and pregnancy: These are times hwere hormones fluctuate, which is associated with elevated pH.
  • Stress, tight clothing, lingerie and lack of sleep.
  • Other risk factors include a new sexual partner or multiple partners, use of antibiotics among others.
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Practicing some of these prevention techniques may help or reduce your risk:

  • Always wear cotton underwear; avoid nylon and Lycra as much as possible, as they trap air creating a breeding ground for yeast; never wear pantyhose without wearing cotton panties underneath.
  • Always use water-based lubricants when vaginal dryness is an issue, during sexual intercourse.
  • Always wipe from front to back to prevent the yeast which normally inhabits the intestinal tract from being transferred to the vaginal area.
  • Don’t use perfumed bath products or powders in the vaginal area, these can cause irritations which can lead to infection.
  • Don’t use douches! Douches wash away the natural protective mucous of the vagina leaving the vagina more susceptible to yeast and other vaginal infections.
  • Use a pH balanced feminine wash for your genital area on a daily basis

If your vaginal pH is above normal, you are probably experiencing some of the following symptoms:

  • Itching
  • Excess discharge, and
  • Painful urination

Medical References

Bahamondes, M.V., Portugal, P.M., Brolazo E.M., et al. 2011. Use of a lactic acid plus lactoserum intimate liquid soap for external hygiene in the prevention of bacterial vaginosis recurrence after metronidazole oral treatment. Revista da Associacao Medica Brasileria, 57 (4), 415-420. Maloney, C. And Oliver, M.L. 2001. Effect of local Conjugated Estrogens on Vaginal pH in Elderly Women, Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 2(2), 51-55 Sharma, B., Preston, J. And Greenwood P. 2004. Management of vulvovaginitis and vaginal discharge in prepubertal girls. Reviews in Gynaecological Practice, 4 (2), 111-120 Linhares, I.M., Summers, P.R., Larsen, B., et al. 2011. Contemporary perspectives on vaginal pH and lactobacilli. America Jounral of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 204 (120), 1-5 Hauth, J.C., MacPherson, C., Carey, J.C., et al. 2003. Early pregnancy threshold vaginal pH and Gram stain scores predictive of subsequent preterm birth in asymptomatic women. America Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 188 (3), 831-835 Neerja, J., Aruna, A. And Paramjeet G. 2006. Significance of candida culture in women with vulvovaginal symptoms. Journal of obstetrics and Gynecology, 56 92) 139-141.

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