Having Sex Can Alter Your pH Balance

Vaginas have a sensitive pH balance that can be  thrown off when someone has unprotected sex or sex with a new partner. Much like the stomach, a vagina has ‘healthy bacteria’ to keep it in balance, but can be thrown off when a change occurs. When you introduce a new bacteria (a new partner) it could throw off the balance and cause many issues. When a vagina is healthy it should not cause problems, but there will always be questions about the body and how to properly care for it. For some people, asking questions is the best way to learn; primary care physicians and gynecologists are a good place to start. Alternatively, there are various sources of information that can be found online or in physical books; just make sure to use a trusted source that is accredited like a medical journals or MD research paper.

pH stands for potential hydrogen and is a measurement of how acidic or basic a solution is. pH ranges from 0 to 14, 7 being neutral. A pH below 7 is Acidic and a pH above 7 is basic. Any change in the environment, which in this case is a vagina, can raise or lower the pH levels.This is important to understand because it helps a doctor identify if there is an abnormality and what that abnormality may be. A normal pH level for the vagina is anywhere from 3.8 to 4.5  (Rachel Nall, RN, BSN, CCRN,2018) making the vagina slightly acidic.  

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There are many reasons why sex can throw of your pH, such as new bacteria, someone not washing their hands, saliva, and even semen. The reason semen will throw off the pH is because it is considered basic. Saliva contains more bacteria due to eating and not brushing teeth regularly. The best way to prevent this is to wash your hands, brush your teeth, practice good general hygiene, and use condoms. If you don’t use a condom then it is best to urinate after sex and wash yourself with a unscented, mild soap (one with a pH that is close to 7) and warm water. Using harsh soaps or ones with a high pH will alter it because soaps are basic, which is the opposite of the vagina’s natural state.

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When the pH of a vagina gets altered it can cause smells that are bothersome, infections, itching, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and other reactions. Smelling and itching may be the first indicator that something is off, but symptoms including burning while you urinate, and excessive vaginal discharge may follow. If a women’s pH is off balance it is important to see a doctor or a gynecologist. The treatment may include prescribed creams, antibacterial medicines, and probiotics depending on the situation and how long it has gone untreated. According to Women's Health this is common, but it is also important to understand that it does need addressed by a doctor or physician.