Women’s health relies on many factors to stay balanced. A healthy vaginal microbiome, immune function, and gut health are all vital. Another essential factor for wellness is pH balance, which stands for “potential hydrogen.” The pH scale ranges from acidic to alkaline, with neutral in the middle.
When something is pH balanced, it stays within the expected range of acid or alkaline. Some areas in the body are meant to be acidic, like the stomach. Other regions are intended to be more alkaline, like the vaginal environment during ovulation, so it’s more receptive to sperm.
In this article, we’ll explain how pH balance can support your health and how certain probiotic strains can aid in vaginal health and the pH balance.*
Understanding pH Levels
Your pH levels impact your overall health. The pH balance throughout the body is essential for digestion, intestinal health, immune response, healthy reproduction, and more.
The pH scale runs from 0 to 14.
- Less than 7 is acidic
- A pH level of 7 is neutral
- 8 or above is basic or alkaline
The optimal pH of the human body ranges from 7.35 to 7.45, with the average at 7.40. (1)
Women’s pH Levels
Healthy vaginal flora depends on digestive health, immune health, urinary tract health, and a healthy balance of lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, and rest.
Your overall health affects the pH balance in your body, including the vagina. Vaginal pH balance is primarily acidic, ranging between 3.8 and 5. An acidic vaginal environment makes it harder for bacteria or fungi to thrive and is protective against yeast infections and other types of vaginal infections. Vaginal disruptions are still a common occurrence for women. At least 75% of women worldwide get bacterial vaginosis at least once. (2)
The vagina has a dynamic microbial ecosystem. Vaginal pH levels can vary throughout the menstrual cycle or the stage of life. Increased pH can make it easier for harmful bacteria to replicate. A healthy gut supports a protective pH balance in the vagina. (3)
Signs of an unbalanced vaginal pH include:
- Vaginal odor
- Pelvic discomfort
- Burning during urination
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Common causes of disruptions to vaginal pH balance are:
- Menstrual cycle changes
- Unprotected sex
- Hormonal contraceptives
- Other hormone changes
A balanced vaginal pH supports a healthy reproductive system and overall wellness.
5 Ways to Support Vaginal pH Balance*
The best way to support vaginal pH balance is to nourish your gut microbiota. The gut microbiome communicates directly with the vaginal microbiome. (4)
There are many ways to support your gut and vaginal microbiome.
1. Eat Fermented Foods
Fermented foods contain beneficial bacteria. Sauerkraut, kimchi, and yogurt contain probiotics to treat yeast infections. Many healthcare providers suggest eating these foods regularly for vaginal health.
Some people may need to eat more fermented foods. Others may have trouble digesting them, with side effects like bloating and digestive discomfort. Probiotic supplements also add beneficial live microorganisms to your gut.*
2. Support a Healthy Stress Response
Stress can disrupt your overall health, including pH balance. Cortisol, sometimes called the stress hormone, is released to help your body handle challenges. Excess cortisol can negatively impact the vaginal microbiome. (3)
You can naturally support your body’s stress response in the following ways:
- Time in nature
- Enjoyable activities
3. Stay Hydrated
Every cell in the body needs water to function optimally. Many people need to drink more fluids throughout the day. Proper hydration has many benefits, including a balanced gut and vaginal health.
4. Avoid Over-Cleansing
The vagina is a self-cleaning environment designed to regulate its pH balance. Over-cleansing, scented products, and anything else used to clean the vaginal canal can disrupt the delicate pH balance. The best way to maintain good hygiene is to use gentle soap and warm water to clean outside of the vagina. There is no need to use soaps or cleansers inside the vagina unless directed to do so by a medical provider.
5. Take Probiotics*
The benefits of probiotics for vaginal health have been widely studied. Specific strains of probiotics increase lactic acid in the vagina. This makes it harder for harmful bacteria or fungi to flourish. There are also healthy bacteria that support gastrointestinal health, relief from occasional constipation, and balance from candida overgrowth. (5)*
The best probiotics for women's pH balance have different strains, not just basic daily probiotic formulations. Probiotics for feminine health include:*
One of the most well-studied strains, L. acidophilus is naturally present in the vagina and urinary tract. Lactobacilli in the vagina support healthy flora, pH, immune system, and gastrointestinal tract. (6, 7)*
This strain is found in healthy guts, and when these microbes are not present, there is an increased chance of bacterial imbalance in the gut or vaginal flora. L. rhamnosus is frequently paired with L. acidophilus because they have synergistic benefits. (8)*
This strain supports immune system balance and good bacteria in the gut, vaginal environment, and mouth. L. reuteri also works well with the other Lactobacillus strains in supporting the right amount of lactic acid. (9)*
Another strain commonly found in healthy guts, B. bifidum is one of the more abundant strains that colonize when an infant is born. It plays a role in healthy defense mechanisms supporting gut, urinary tract, and vaginal wellness. (10)*
Best Probiotics for Women’s pH Balance*
Not just any probiotic supplement will support vaginal health. Probiotics for women’s health should include strains specific to the vaginal microbiome and support healthy pH balance.*
Hyperbiotics’ PRO-Women probiotic was formulated to support a healthy pH balance. PRO-Moms is another formulation that targets the specific needs of vaginal health.*
Only your healthcare provider can tell you about the best probiotics for bacterial infections.*
Many healthcare providers trust Hyperbiotics’ formulations because we focus on science-backed strains. Our proprietary BIO-tract® Delivery Process offers up to 15 times more probiotics than standard veggie capsules, helping the good bacteria colonize where it is needed by protecting them from the harsh acidic stomach environment. Our probiotic supplements do not need refrigeration, so you can keep them where it’s most convenient.^*
It can be complicated to choose the right probiotic for your health needs. More colony-forming units (CFUs) are not always better. The strain’s effectiveness matters the most, as well as choosing a product that can deliver that beneficial bacteria to the gut.
Dietary supplements can vary in quality and manufacturing. Hyperbiotics also knows that it’s vital for your probiotics to be free from unnatural preservatives and be non-GMO and gluten-free.
Both lifestyle and nutritional support are necessary for overall health and a balanced vaginal pH. Probiotic supplements can be effective in encouraging vaginal health and pH balance.*
Find Your Optimal Women’s Health Probiotic Today*
- StatPearls Publishing. 2022
- Diagnostics (Basel). 2021; 11(11):1996
- Front Microbiol. 2022; 8:19958
- Front Immunol. 2020; 11:2184
- Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2017; 30(2):163-167
- Microb Cell Fact. 2020; 19(1):203
- Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2020; 13
- Microb Biotechnol. 2017; 10(6):1753-1763
- Front Microbiol. 2018; 9:757
- Microorganisms. 2019; 7(11):544
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug (FDA) Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
^BIO-tract® vs. instant release formulations under in vitro test conditions.