Vaginal pH

What is pH? What is Vaginal pH?


We get asked a lot of questions like:

  • What is pH?
  • What is vaginal pH?
  • Why is a healthy vaginal pH important?
  • Why are there holes in my period underwear?
  • Why is my underwear bleaching in just one spot?
  • How can I keep the pH of my vagina healthy?


pH stands for "Potential Hydrogen", which is a measure of how acidic or alkaline (basic) a liquid is. It is determined by the number of hydrogen atoms if you want to be more scientific!

A pH below 7 is acidic and a pH above 7 is alkaline (or basic).

Vaginal pH Levels







Your vaginal pH is the level of acidity or alkalinity present in your vagina.

Your vaginal discharge is naturally acidic, varying between 3.8 - 4.5 on the pH scale (see above). Lactobacilli bacteria live in the vagina and secrete lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide, which give the vagina its unique acidic pH level. This bacteria is critical to the health of your vagina.

The lower the number the MORE acidic the environment will be, the higher the number the more alkaline it will be. Your vaginal pH can vary because of pregnancy, hormones and the menstrual cycle.

Blood is more alkaline than the vagina, at over 7.


Your vaginal discharge is vital in maintaining the health of your vagina, it is a sign that your vagina is cleaning itself property . The acidity of your vaginal fluid protects your vagina from common yeast infections and other conditions. It effectively keeps bad bacteria away.

So far example if you have a high pH you may be more susceptible to infections such as thrush (a yeast infection) and BV (Bacterial Vaginosis). Your vagina is less acidic so it cannot destroy the bad bacteria. Having a high vaginal pH means that the Lactobacilli is not present and allows the bacteria and yeast to thrive.


Have you ever noticed that there are little pin prick holes in your period underwear which seem to get bigger each time you wash and wear them?

Some types of period underwear is particularly susceptible to the acidity of your vaginal fluid. If you have a very low pH (highly acidic), for example, you may find that your underwear gets broken down by the acidity, causing little holes to form.

How to avoid holes forming:

  • Rinse and your period underwear straight away after use, making sure the water turns clear before you leave them for the wash. Even better still rinse them until the water runs clear and then hand wash them, rather than leaving them for the next wash cycle.
  • Avoid harsh washing liquids or powders as this can also break down fabrics more quickly. Try something natural, even a wool wash and wash by hand.
  • Wash by hand, rinse thoroughly.


This is super common and means your vagina is healthy! Once again, The acidity in your vaginal fluid is more acidic so whenever your fluid comes into contact with the crotch of your underwear you may see bleaching occur over time.

How to avoid your underwear bleaching:

  • Rinse and your period underwear straight away after use, making sure the water turns clear before you leave them for the wash. Even better still rinse them until the water runs clear and then hand wash them, rather than leaving them for the next wash cycle.
  • Wear a reusable panty-liner


The only way to have a proper diagnosis of pH imbalance is to go to the doctor. Here are a few signs that may indicate an imbalance:

  • A change in color or amount of vaginal discharge.
  • A change in the smell. Sometimes, the smell may be described as "fishy."
  • Itching or discomfort.
  • Burning during urination.

Here are a few tips to help you keep a healthy pH balance in your vagina:

  • Avoiding harsh soaps and douching. Soaps typically have a high pH, and using them to clean the vaginal area may increase vaginal pH. It is best to use warm water and a gentle cleanser to clean the vulva but to refrain from using soap inside the vagina. This will help to maintain the vaginal pH balance.
  • Taking a probiotic supplement or suppository. Probiotics help to restore the body’s natural bacterial levels. Some foods also contain probiotics, including yogurt, miso, and kombucha.
  • Changing tampons regularly. Leaving a tampon in for too long can increase the vaginal pH because the pH of blood is slightly basic. Changing tampons frequently also reduces the risk of bacterial infections, including toxic shock syndrome (TSS).
  • Using barrier protection during sex. Using barrier protection, such as condoms or dental dams, not only helps to prevent pregnancy and STIs but can prevent semen and other fluids from affecting pH levels in the vagina.
  • Avoid antibiotics: People use antibiotics to kill harmful bacteria, but these medications can also kill good bacteria as well. This will include bacteria in the vagina. If a person is taking antibiotics, their vaginal pH may be out of balance and may leave you open to getting a yeast infection. If you should require antibiotics make sure you take a probiotic afterwards to restore the good bacteria back into your body.




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