Question of the day:
“I consider myself to have a high maintenance vagina. ANYTHING throws off my pH balance. I’m not a fan of using mainstream vaginal health products though. Do you have any suggestions on simple methods for vaginal upkeep?”
Vaginal pH concerns are completely understandable and there are a handful of factors that can throw it off from semen and your menstrual cycle to toxic ingredients in vulva care products. Luckily my personal methods for vaginal upkeep are simple, and I’m more than happy to share them with you.
First and foremost, I’ve learned that one of the best things I can do for my vulva is to let it breathe. Go commando when you’re sleeping or throughout the day if you’re comfortable with that. Also, invest in 100% cotton underwear. I know that “granny panties” aren’t the sexiest, but try to avoid wearing underwear with nylon material or other man-made fibers because they can cause irritation. Also, avoid wearing tight-fitted jeans or thongs.
Next, pure cranberry juice has worked wonders for me and it has the potential to be your best friend too! Cranberries contain powerful acidic compounds to fight bacteria, and a 2012 study published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews indicated that cranberry juice slightly decreased the number of symptomatic UTIs over a 12 month period, particularly for women with recurrent UTIs. However, there is little to no further research on the subject, so you’ll have to do some experimenting to figure out if this works for you.
Also, be cognizant of the period products you use. I usually wear the L. Product’s Chlorine Free pads. They’re made with organic cotton and don’t include any pesticides, fragrances, or dyes in the material. I usually find them at any local Target, but they might be available in similar stores as well.
Other simple methods for keeping your pH balance include:
- Never washing with vaginal hygiene products or scented items. This includes douches, scented soaps, and vaginal sprays. You’ll also want to avoid bubble baths as much as possible if you’re more prone to UTIs because most bubble baths have a pH of 9-10 whereas the typical pH of a vagina is between 4 and 4.5.
- Using a condom during sex. pH levels of semen are higher than the pH levels of vaginas, which can mess with the growth of healthy bacteria.
- Maintaining a healthy diet. Following a balanced, nutritious diet and drinking plenty of fluids are both key to vaginal and overall physical health.
- Regularly checking in with your OB-GYN. Stay up to date with your physical health by consistently speaking with a medical professional.
Keep your vagina happy!