Avoid Vaginal pH Washes and Wipes at All Costs, These Gynos Say


Shot of a young woman suffering from stomach cramps in her bedroom

This article can be summed up in a few simple words: leave your vagina and its pH alone, specifically when it comes to all the washes, wipes, and other products you might see being marketed to “fix” it.

“You absolutely should not use pH washes, wipes, or any vaginal cleansing product,” said Jenn Conti, MD, an ob-gyn at Stanford. “The vagina is self-cleaning, meaning its natural pH and micro-environment is specifically designed to keep the good bacteria in and the bad bacteria out.” She said that those cleansing products actually do the opposite of what they say they will by making your vagina more susceptible to a whole host of problems.

“Most people get the order all wrong here,” added Erica Cahill, MD, an ob-gyn and co-host of The V Word podcast with Dr. Conti. It’s not that your pH suddenly gets imbalanced and creates a vaginal infection, which the pH wash then clears up. Rather, it’s the cleansing wash, wipe, or douche that actually creates the imbalance, which can lead to an infection. “Marketing companies make you believe there’s something wrong with your vagina,” Dr. Cahill told POPSUGAR. But in fact, your vagina is so naturally acidic, with a pH of around 4.5, that not a lot of bacteria can grow there as it is. It’s best not to disturb that balance at all; that’s what can lead to infections, plus other issues like itching, burning, or dryness.

Dr. Cahill also pointed out that vaginal pH doesn’t have anything to do with yeast infections, which are caused by vaginal overgrowth of a fungus called Candida albicans. It’s bacterial infections, like bacterial vaginosis (BV), that can result from a pH imbalance.

Bottom line: steer clear of all vaginal washes and wipes, no matter how nice the packaging or smell. “Your vagina doesn’t need any help to ‘fix’ anything,” Dr. Conti said. Save the money and save yourself from an infection, too.

Image Source: Getty / LaylaBird

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