About Vaginal natural environment
The vagina has a natural protective layer which is acidic in nature, to help prevent infection. This layer is maintained when good bacteria called lactobacilli produce Lactic acid (or milk acid), which maintains the acidic environment at a pH value of 3.5 to 4.5. This promotes the growth of lactobacilli, inhibiting the presence of harmful bacteria and preventing infection.
Therefore, the vagina takes care of itself by continuously producing secretions to provide lubrication, cleanse and maintain its proper acidity to prevent infection.
The acidity and alkalinity of a substance is measured by its pH, which is a number from 0-14. Water is neutral, and has a pH of 7; the lower the number, the more acidic is the substance. pH balance is vital for the proper functioning of our bodies. All our organs function properly at specific pH levels and protect us from illness and infection. The medium of the normal healthy vagina is acidic and the pH is between 3.5 to 4.5. This pH level is ideal for the survival of 'good' bacteria (lactobacilli). If this finely tuned equilibrium of pH is disturbed, harmful bacteria can proliferate leading to vaginal problems like foul odour, irritation, discomfort and discharge.
What causes Vaginal Imbalance?
Any imbalance in the pH range of vagina causes the change in acidic environment (pH 3.5 to 4.5), which in turn reduces the growth of good bacteria and thus resulting in the attack from bad bacteria. This then increases the risk of getting any form of vaginal infections.
- Common practice of using Soap or Water for Intimate hygiene routine (which are alkaline and hence not advisable)
- Inadequate Intimate hygiene (not maintaining the Vaginal pH balance)
- Use of Synthetic undergarments
- Tight clothes
- Unprotected sexual activity (semen is alkaline and affects the vagina’s acidity)
- Feminine hygiene sprays Excessive fragrance (from perfumed soap or wash) Dyed and scented toilet paper
Preventive Measure against pH Imbalance
To stay healthy and avoid infection, hygiene is imperative. Therefore, as a preventive measure, Intimate hygiene (Vaginal Hygiene) in women should include the maintenance of the acid mantle in the intimate area.
Key factors to keep in mind are:
Avoid Alkaline Soaps and Sprays
Regular soaps, feminine medications, sprays, powders and deodorants can affect the vaginal pH. Most soaps have a pH from 8-10, levels that are much higher than the normal vaginal pH. Some women may have vaginal itching, irritation, rash or even unusual discharge after using these products.
Refrain from using scented tampons, pads or sprays
Since the pH of blood is about 7.4, during periods the vaginal pH may change. This may lead to some women having vaginal problems for about a week after their periods. Using scented tampons, pads or sprays can also disrupt the vaginal pH and cause irritation.
Have protected sex
Since semen has a pH of 7.1 - 8.0, there may be an imbalance of the vaginal pH after sexual intercourse, and occasionally leading to a slight vaginal odour.
Avoid excessive douching
Douching (or washing out the vaginal passage) washes the ‘good’ bacteria out of the vagina, leading to the growth of harmful bacteria as the normal vaginal pH balance is upset. Hormonal changes during pregnancy or due to taking certain birth control pills can cause a change in the vaginal pH leading to itching in the genital area of some women.
General Myths about Intimate Hygiene
Bathing daily completes my personal hygiene routine.
Showering daily helps to get rid of dead skin cells, sweat and dirt produced throughout the day. However, some body parts, like the vagina, are very delicate and require special care and attention. While bathing daily keeps you fresh, it simply does not complete the ideal hygiene routine one ought to follow, especially for the intimate area. For women in particular, maintaining intimate hygiene by properly cleansing the vagina is of great importance. This is not achieved simply through bathing daily. Using expert intimate hygiene products such as VWash Plus daily will ideally complete your daily hygiene routine.
Soap and water are enough to cleanse the intimate area.
The ideal pH balance for the vagina is between pH 3.5-4.5. But most soaps are alkaline in nature with pH value of 8 to 10*. Their daily use upsets the ideal pH balance of the vagina. Even water has a pH value of 7, which is far from the ideal vaginal pH balance. This is why using soap or only water for cleansing the vagina may not be ideal for intimate hygiene. Instead, using products with a lactic acid formulation, such as VWash Plus, helps to maintain the delicate pH balance of the vagina.
I don't face any problems, so I don't need any special products like an intimate hygiene wash.
You should consider yourself lucky if you haven't ever faced symptoms like irritation, itchiness, dryness or burning. But that doesn't make you immune to the risk of vaginal infections. The ideal way to prevent these infections is by using an expert intimate hygiene wash daily, preferably one which contains lactic acid formulation and anti-irritants. VWash Plus is one such intimate hygiene wash which contains anti irritants and a lactic acid formulation that helps in maintaining your ideal vaginal pH balance at pH 3.5-4.5.
I need to use intimate hygiene products only when I have any irritation or itchiness.
It's rightly said that prevention is better than cure. Why wait to get afflicted by vaginal discomforts or infections when you can avoid them? Especially when your seemingly normal daily habits like washing the intimate area with soap or just water can disturb the ideal pH balance of the vagina (pH 3.5-4.5), and cause irritation, itchiness and dryness. Simply changing the habit and adopting an effective intimate hygiene wash like VWash Plus can help prevent vaginal discomforts.