In addition to not feeding it pumpkin spice lattes or spritzing her with vanilla mist , we need to take other steps to prevent our vaginas becoming basic. Did you know the pH of our vaginas sits slightly on the acidic side? The pH scale goes from 0-14 with zero being the most acidic, and 14 the most basic. ‘Down there’ generally sits between about 3.2 and 4.5.
And the reason that it's more acidic than basic is because the main vaginal bacteria is Lactobacilli which produces hydrogen peroxide and lactic acid. This is the ideal environment for our vaginas because the acidity prevents bacterial growth from pathogens such as:
Our vaginas are as unique as we are so there’s no ‘one-rule-fits-all’ here but research shows that having less than 90% lactobacilli puts you at risk of vaginal dysbiosis - which basically [wink emoji] means a reduction in diversity. When we experience that dysbiosis we are more likely to experience irritants like thrush - not fun. If you’re anything like us, when it gets itchy, we get bitchy.
So, if we start with a healthy ratio of bacteria, what causes the scales to tip in the wrong direction?
It’s all the usual suspects: Alcohol, processed foods, sugar, and antibiotics can all lead to this dysbiosis - as can tight underwear or jeans and getting extra sweaty in the gym or the bedroom - but since we’re huge fans of moderation, we want to know how we can still live our lives, without taking it out on the health of our vaginas.
But why does it matter?
In addition to just not wanting our vaginas to feel anything other than fantastic, if we let bad bacteria run rampant, we increase our risk of some cancers, pregnancy complications, pelvic inflammatory disease, and the chance of us getting a sexually transmitted infection. Since it’s such an easy to manage area of our health, there’s no reason not to pay special attention to our favourite area.
How can we help?
If we’re having our cocktails, hitting a spin class, or having lots of sex, we need support all of that by keeping our good bacteria stocked up so the bad guys don’t have the chance to take over. We can do this by keeping our diet both varied and loaded with probiotic foods like sauerkraut, yoghurt, bananas, and kimchi. We can also take specific probiotics that encourage the growth and maintenance of those good bacteria, lactobacilli.
The heroines of bacteria as it relates to the vaginal microbiome are both in the lactobacilli family: Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus acidophilus. The combination of these two have been shown to promote a healthy vaginal microbiota as well as reducing the likelihood of getting, or the length of having, thrush or bacterial vaginosis.
Introducing Queen V: our newest addition to the Eve lineup and premium probiotic with four scientifically studied strains for easy ‘down there’ care and gut health.
When you think about all that our vaginas do for us, they’re pretty magical and very low-maintenance. If we can give them a helping hand, we’re all for it.