How to know if your vaginal pH is off and what to do about it
Take probiotics: Trubow says probiotics help strengthen the lining of the gut. According to Fromberg, taking probiotics orally and eating probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kombucha and sauerkraut can help keep the vaginal microbiome healthy. Look for a product that contains lactobacilli, a genus of bacteria that keep the vagina healthy and balanced, like those on this list of the nine best probiotics of the year for women.
Avoid inflammatory products: According to Trubov, what you eat directly affects the health of all parts of your body, including your vagina. She suggests avoiding foods and drinks that cause inflammation, such as processed foods and alcohol, and recommends visiting a functional medicine provider to test for food sensitivities and determine which foods are irritating your gut. Fromberg suggests eating mostly whole foods, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates.
Avoid douching: The vagina cleans itself. While cleaning the outside of the vagina is important, douching inside can rid the vagina of both bad and good bacteria. “The vagina is not intended for washing,” says Trubov.
Wear a condom: Sex can also lower vaginal pH. According to Fromberg, sperm has a basic side, so it can affect the acidic pH of the vagina. Using a condom, in addition to healthy family planning practices, can help keep your vaginal pH balanced.
Change of wet tissues: According to Fromberg, a good rule of thumb is to limit the amount of time you spend in wet synthetic fabrics, such as swimwear, underwear and sportswear, because they can create a breeding ground for bacteria.
And how will you know that your efforts are working? “When you fix the intestines, the vagina becomes invisible,” says Trubov. “Most people don’t think about their elbows. This is how your vagina should be… you don’t notice it; she’s just doing her job.”