The vagina naturally maintains its own healthy pH level, encouraging good bacteria like lactobacilli while discouraging harmful bacteria from growing out of control. Many things can affect this natural balance, however, including sex.
What Is Normal Vaginal pH?
What constitutes a normal pH level will vary slightly from woman to woman depending on their stage of life. You can expect, however, to be somewhere between 3.8 and 4.5, which is fairly acidic.
During the reproductive years of 15 to 49, your vaginal pH should not be any higher than 4.5. Just before menstruation and after menopause, however, a healthy pH seems to often be slightly higher than 4.5. That’s because blood has a pH of 7.4.
A pH level above 4.5 can provide “bad” or harmful bacteria; the ideal environment to thrive. A pH level this high can put you at the risk of conditions such as trichomoniasis and bacterial vaginosis.
How Does Sex Affect Vaginal pH?
Semen is alkali, which is the opposite of the acidic environment of the vagina. When entering the vagina, semen may temporarily increase the pH level, which can encourage the growth of some bacteria.
Using a condom can obviously prevent the presence of semen within the vagina and prevent it from disrupting healthy pH levels. To further reduce the impact of sex on your vaginal health, try to pee or wash with water after sex.
Why Vaginal pH Matters
Maintaining a good, balanced pH level is the most important means of preventing vaginal infections like yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis (BV). When the vaginal pH goes too far out of its normal range into the acidic or alkaline range, it can cause bacteria or yeast to grow unchecked.
This can lead to symptoms such as painful urination, pain during sex, foul-smelling discharge, and itchiness. It can even lead to more serious complications. Untreated bacterial vaginosis can affect fertility, cause pelvic inflammatory disease, and increase the risk of developing a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Using Boric Acid Suppositories to Prevent and Treat Vaginal Infections
Whether you’re interested in treating a current vaginal infection or maintaining a healthy vaginal pH level, boric acid suppositories are a safe and effective solution. Boric acid helps to promote a proper pH balance in the vagina by restoring the slightly acidic state of the vagina without making the environment too acidic or basic. This helps kill off current infections or overgrowth of
bacteria and yeast.
Research shows that boric acid suppositories are more effective than antibiotics at treating BV and come without the risk of a yeast infection afterward. Antibiotics may work but they kill off all bacteria in the vaginal environment which changes the pH level and allows yeast to grow out of control.
Boric acid suppositories are safe to use to prevent or treat vaginal infections and recommended by the CDC and many gynecologists. Some women use suppositories like VeeCleanse for a week to treat an infection, after sex to prevent potentially dramatic pH changes, or while taking antibiotics for an unrelated condition. When used as directed, the only risk with boric acid suppositories is mild irritation in some women.
Sarah Nelson is a nurse with 15 years of experience working with a variety of patients. She has a Masters of Science in Nursing and has spent a large portion of her career working exclusively with women in an OB/GYN setting.
Nursing is a passion for Sarah but she also enjoys writing and sharing her expertise online with people who need helpful information. Treating patients well and helping them learn more about their own bodies is a key essential to a healthy lifestyle that Sarah truly believes in.