Question

Yeast Infections

What causes vaginal pH levels to increase?

A Answers (2)

  • ALauren Streicher, MD, Obstetrics & Gynecology, answered
    pH refers to the vagina's acidity level. A vaginal pH of 3.5-4.5 indicates that there is a perfect amount of good bacteria (lactobacilli), and no overgrowth of the bad bacteria that can cause odor, irritation and sometimes infection. What makes pH rise higher than 4.5? 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 pH to increase, tampons can contribute to the problem.
    • Intercourse: The pH of semen is 7.1 to 8.
    • Douching and cleansers: Any vaginal infusion of water or other fluids can affect vaginal pH. The pH of water is 7, and fragrances and perfumes can also irritate the vagina.
    • Menopause or pregnancy: These are times where hormones fluctuate, which is associated with elevated pH.
  • AShelley Giebel, MD, Obstetrics & Gynecology, answered on behalf of MDLIVE
    Vaginal infections are a very common cause for the pH of the vagina to rise.  The most common vaginal infection in my practice (and in all doctor's offices) is Bacterial Vaginosis which causes the normal vaginal pH to rise to above 4.5.  Odor usually occurs with Bacterial Vaginosis.  It will be necessary to receive medical treatment for Bacterial Vaginosis, so see your physician. 
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