If you're one of the many women that suffer from chronic yeast infections, there may be a simple cure to ditch the itch. A balanced vagina naturally protects good bacteria and wards off bad bacteria and fungi. What is even more amazing is that vaginas clean themselves! No, they aren't like a Roomba, but vaginas naturally secrete fluids that are acidic, ranging between 3.8 and 4.5. The acid encourages the growth of healthy bacteria (Lactobacillus), which can help stop harmful microbes and bad bacteria from attaching to the vaginal wall. You can think of your vagina as Wonder Woman fighting the villains that get in her way. If the pH levels become too high or too low, it throws off the entire ecosystem causing an overgrowth of the Candida albicans (fungus).
Think You May Have a Yeast Infection?
You may not walk around carrying vaginal pH test strips, but a good indicator that your pH is unbalanced is if you have symptoms of a yeast infection. A yeast infection is caused by an abundance of yeast in the vagina called Candida albicans. Yeast lives naturally in the body and on the skin, but if it overgrows, it causes a stubborn itch and a few other unpleasant symptoms. These include:
- A thick, white/yellow vaginal discharge (like cottage cheese)
- Intense itching
- Redness and swelling around the vaginal opening
- Pain and soreness around the vulva
- Burning during urination
- Burning during sex
If this sounds familiar, you can treat a yeast infection with over-the-counter antifungal creams or call your doctor for an oral prescription of fluconazole. Both options should clear up the infection within a week.
How to Keep Your Vaginal pH Balanced
Your vaginal pH levels will fluctuate naturally. Stress, hormones, your period, sex, medications, and even age can knock the happy harmony down there. Follow these simple tips to help keep your vagina on track.
- Take probiotics: These are the good bacteria. Either take supplements or eat foods rich in probiotics like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, and raw sauerkraut.
- Use condoms: Sex can often be a culprit for vaginal pH levels becoming unbalanced. Bacteria from your partner can enter the vagina and throw everything off.
- Get out of wet bathing suits: Moisture can cause yeast to overgrow, so it is good to change out of wet clothes as soon as possible. This goes for post-workouts too.
- Wear cotton underwear: Silk or spandex may seem like good options, but cotton lets the airflow down there.
- Feminine hygiene products: Tampons, pads, douche, or scented soaps can disrupt your vaginal pH and encourage yeast and bacterial growth. Change tampons and pads often and just say no to douche.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: We are big fans of ACV. It has antimicrobial properties that keep harmful bacteria from forming. Apple Cider Vinegar gummies are a great way to get the perfect daily dose.
- Drink lots of water: Yes, water cures all. It helps flush out bacteria to keep the pH levels in the normal range.
Yes, yeast infections are not wanted, but a few lifestyle changes can make all the difference. If you have a yeast infection, read this to blast that yeast fast!