Amy Schumer on vaginas: “Guys don’t think that it’s work but it is. You think it shows up like that to the event? It doesn’t. Every night it’s like getting ready for its first Quinceañera, believe me.”
Our bodies are beautiful, yet also somewhat complicated. When we say our vaginas are super high maintenance, we really aren’t kidding. It is the constant job of keeping it fresh, eating the right foods, and having a healthy pH level (potential of Hydrogen).
First things first. The difference between having an Acidic or Basic vagina is based on your pH level.
Important: You can find pH test strips at your local pharmacy.
A healthy vagina has a pH level of 3.8 – 4.5; this is moderately acidic. The level of acidity determines the health and ability to fight bacteria. An acidic vagina environment is considered as protective. This is the stage in which Lactobacilli grows — a healthy bacteria that vaginas need, also fighting to get rid of the “bad” bacteria. Having an acidic vagina “creates a barrier that prevents unhealthy bacteria and yeast from multiplying too quickly and causing infection” (Healthline.com). If your pH level is higher than 4.5, your vagina is basic and is more susceptible to infections.
Remember: the higher your pH, the less your vagina is protected.
If you’re a girl, you know the nightmare that comes with having an infection down there.
It is incredibly uncomfortable to walk, it burns when urinating, and it itches. On top of this you get discharge that convinces you that you might be dying, and you cannot wear anything tight. It slows down your entire routine.
So, what causes an unbalanced pH? Several things such as:
- Menstrual periods: almost 95% of women use tampons. Letting your tampon sit there makes your pH go up since blood is basic. You should only have them for 4 hours or less.
- Unprotected sex: semen is more alkaline, therefore can disturb your acidic environment.
- Sugars and Carbs: these two are always bad news. It’s not shocking to see cause trouble down there messing with your vaginal flora and gut health.
- Douching: this encourages the growth of harmful bacteria and it rises your pH level.
Some infections following a higher pH include: Bacteria Vaginosis (this makes women be more at risk for other infections such as HPV, herpes simplex virus, and HIV.
Basically, you end up wishing you were a dude.
Keeping a healthy pH can be demanding and adding exercise can make things ever harder. Many of us do not think of our vagina health when we exercise until something goes wrong. During exercise, sweat and warmth are saturated and this can cause a lot of problems for lady parts. Here are some tips on how to keep a healthy pH level:
- Change out of your underwear/work out pants, and wash right away. Seriously, DO IT.
- Even if you do not have extra clothes, still try to wash or clean the extra sweat. Change/shower when you get home.
- Wear only cotton, no thongs, underwear.
- Yes, Victoria’s Secret underwear are super cute, but their thongs made out of what only feels like plastic are not a good idea. Always buy underwear made out of cotton and the kind that covers some of your butt.
- Breathable work-out pants.
- Work out pants made out of: Bamboo, Cotton, Linen, Light Silk, Chambray.
- Avoid nylon, Polyester or Polyester blends, Viscose, Rayon, satin.
- Wear protectants against sweat
- Calmoseptine – skin barrier ointment used for preventing perspiration.
- A+D ointment
- DO NOT use cleaning products.
- No douching, or using products with fragrances. This disturbs your own bacteria, many times messing with your pH level, making you more prone to infections.
Your body always thanks you for exercising, however, you have to protect your vagina from sweat and moisture. If you’re looking to improve your health, plain yogurt and over the counter probiotics are a great way to start. If you experience constant discomfort (pain, itching, discharge) go to the doctor immediately.
Infections are no joke, nor is having a basic vagina.