Fragrance Soaps, Hygiene Products & Your pH

Posted by Natasha Semago on

You've probably seen lots of feminine care products lately like scented sprays, fragrance soaps and douches that claim they'll make your vagina better-smelling, cleaner and healthier. While these products may seem appealing, the truth is they aren't necessary and can actually contribute to problems like vaginal infections.

The Vagina is Self-Cleaning and Self-Balancing

The vagina naturally maintains a healthy pH and bacterial environment with vaginal discharge.

Estrogen helps maintain the lining of the urethra, vaginal walls, and uterus as well as vaginal lubrication. It also encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria like lactobacilli which maintain the vagina's slightly acidic pH. This pH prevents the growth of harmful bacteria and controls yeast in the bacteria.

When you use special products like fragranced soap and douches, you are actually upsetting your vagina's natural pH.

Most vaginal hygiene products are soap-based and alkaline while the vagina is supposed to be acidic.

Even "pH balancing feminine washes"  can be problematic because they contain irritants, fragrances and chemicals that can contribute to itching and irritation.

Research has shown that women who frequently use feminine hygiene washes are more likely to develop bacterial vaginosis.

Vaginal Douches Can Be Dangerous

Virtually all vaginal hygiene products and fragrances are unnecessary and contribute to pH imbalance and irritation. Douches can be even more dangerous, however.

A douche is a popular vaginal cleaning system that expels a liquid into the vagina. This liquid may be scented water or a mixture of water and vinegar.

Douching can cause vaginal irritation, pain, inflammation, and itchiness. If you already have bacterial vaginosis or a yeast infection and try to clean your vagina with douching, it's possible to push the bacteria further into the cervix. This can actually worsen the infection and increase the risk of more serious complications.

Douches can also wash out healthy bacteria in the vagina which changes the vaginal pH and makes it easier for a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis to occur.

The Safe Way to Correct Vaginal pH

The vagina has a normal pH of 3.5 to 4.5 which is ideal for supporting lactobacilli and warding off infections. Many things can affect vaginal pH and cause it to become too acidic or too alkaline which encourages bacterial overgrowth (bacterial vaginosis) or an overgrowth of yeast (yeast infection).

For example, sex can interfere with vaginal pH because semen has a pH of 7 to 8. Your menstrual cycle can also change your vaginal pH as blood has a pH of 7.4. Your pH should return to its normal range soon but this doesn't always happen.

If you have been using feminine hygiene products to mask vaginal odors or attempt to get rid of unusual discharge, you may be dealing with a vaginal infection that will only get worse with vaginal hygiene products.

A safe and effective method for restoring your normal vaginal pH and treating vaginal infections is using boric acid suppositories. Boric acid is listed as safe for treating persistent or recurrent vaginal infections like bacterial vaginosis by the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015/bv.htm) and research shows that it really works.

Boric acid is actually better at treating BV than antibiotics because it restores the naturally acidic pH of the vagina without causing extreme pH changes in either direction. Research shows it's up to 88% effective at treating bacterial vaginosis which is better than antibiotics yet it comes without the risk of a yeast infection afterward -- a common concern with antibiotic use.

Don't threaten the health of your vagina with vaginal hygiene products that claim they'll get rid of odors and "clean" your vagina but actually make things much worse. Boric acid suppositories like VeeCleanse are a safe, science-backed approach commonly recommended by gynecologists.


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