The vaginal pH balancing act

The vaginal pH balancing act

Hosted Content from Care Pharmaceuticals
1 minute to Read
Aci Hosted Content Sept/Oct 2023

While conversations around vaginal health aren’t exactly taboo these days, many women may still feel embarrassed or reluctant to discuss their concerns with healthcare professionals because they’re not quite sure what is normal down there. To help women open up about their vaginal health, pharmacists too need to be comfortable having these conversations. Armed with the right knowledge, pharmacists can help women break the cycle of trial and error to find the right products to help get the balance right.

Think of the vagina as an ecosystem where pH plays a crucial role

Normal vaginal pH falls in the range from 3.8 to 4.5, creating a moderately acidic vaginal environment where beneficial bacteria thrive but bad bacteria struggle to take a foothold. As in most ecosystems, a delicate ‘balancing act’ is at play in the vagina – the presence of healthy vaginal microbiota helps maintain an acidic pH, and the acidic pH helps maintain this beneficial microbiota .1-3 Maintaining a healthy acidic environment is an important protective function for the vagina, but when this pH balancing act is disturbed and acidity reduced, it can lead to disruption of the vaginal microbiota.1,2

Understanding the key disruptors of vaginal pH

A healthy acidic vaginal pH in women of reproductive age is related in part to her oestrogen levels ,1-3 so hormone fluctuations associated with menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause can alter vaginal pH and disrupt balance in the vaginal ecosystem .1,2,4 As well as changes in life stage, other triggers that can disrupt vaginal pH include sexual intercourse, hygiene practices, infections, and some medications .1,4

What to look for when the ecosystem is out of balance

Vaginal discharge is a normal occurrence for women, and its texture and colour typically change over the course of the menstrual cycle .1 However, reduced vaginal acidity that disrupts the healthy vaginal microbiota can lead to overgrowth of bacteria that can cause bacterial vaginosis. Bacterial vaginosis is a common cause of an abnormal thin, watery, grey vaginal discharge and an unpleasant vaginal odour that is sometimes described as ‘fishy’.1-3 Patients with signs or symptoms associated with bacterial vaginosis should be advised to speak with their doctor. Other signs and symptoms of disrupted vaginal pH can include vaginal irritation, itching, or burning.1

Bring back the balance – and keep it there – with Aci-Jel® Balance

When life disrupts the vaginal balancing act, Aci-Jel® Balance can help restore and maintain the natural acidic vaginal environment. Aci-Jel® Balance is a fragrance-free vaginal jelly that contains acetic acid, ricinoleic acid, and oxyquinoline sulphate and is buffered at pH 4.0. It comes with an applicator to facilitate easy administration – getting the right amount to the right spot in the vagina. Aci-Jel® Balance can be used every day to maintain natural vaginal pH and prevent recurrence of symptoms, but it can also be used to relieve symptoms that may occur around the time of menstruation – providing relief from embarrassing odour, abnormal discharge, and discomfort.

Click here to learn more about Aci-Jel® and how it can help restore and maintain the vaginal ecosystem.


References: 1. Chen Y, et al. Role of female intimate hygiene in vulvovaginal health: Global hygiene practices and product usage. Womens Health (Lond). 2017;13(3):58–67. 2. Farage MA, et al. Dynamics of the Vaginal Ecosystem—Hormonal Influences. Infectious Diseases: Research and Treatment. 2010;3. 3. Amabebe E, Anumba DOC. The Vaginal Microenvironment: The Physiologic Role of Lactobacilli. Front Med (Lausanne). 2018;5:181. 4. Kale VV, Ubgade A. Vaginal Mucosa – A Promising Site for Drug Therapy. Journal of Pharmaceutical Research International, 2013;3(4):983–1000.