The vagina is home to the most bacteria in the body. A healthy pH level keeps these bacteria from growing too much, causing yeast infections or Bacterial Vaginosis (BV).
Semen is naturally slightly basic or alkaline with a pH of 7.1-8. During unprotected penetrative sex, the pH of the vagina rises to provide a more alkaline environment for sperm.
1. Avoid Douching
Douching involves squirting a jet of liquid up the vagina with a douche or shower spray. This is not recommended by doctors, as it can disrupt the delicate balance of bacteria in the vagina that protects against infection and may change the pH level of the area. Douching also may reduce the number of sperm cells that enter the uterus, which can lead to infertility.
Some people believe that vinegar can kill sperm, but there is no scientific evidence that this is true. Douching is also not an effective way to remove semen, as it can only be removed through the penis or by ejaculation.
Research has shown that eating more whole foods, including vegetables and fruits, can help improve sperm health. In particular, eating more green leafy vegetables and beans (legumes) is associated with higher sperm concentrations. A diet that includes more fish, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, can also help improve sperm health. Avoid processed meats, such as hot dogs, salami and beef jerky, since these have been linked to decreased sperm motility.
2. Avoid Antibiotics
While the vagina contains bacteria that help prevent infections and promote fertility, a high level of acidity can cause problems. Fortunately, women can take steps to keep their vaginal pH level in the healthy range of 3.8-4.5. Douching, a habit that involves scrubbing the vagina with water or other liquids, can increase pH levels and lead to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria. Avoiding douching and using barrier methods during sex can help to maintain the pH balance in the vulva.
Semen can also throw off the vaginal pH balance because it is more basic (or alkaline) than the 3.8-4.5 acidic environment of the vulva. Unprotected penetrative sex with a man can also raise the pH because semen has a pH of over 7.
Another way to keep vaginal pH levels in the normal range is to avoid lubricants and instead use a silicone-based lubricant like BabyLove or a natural oil, such as coconut oil. The lubricant won’t change the pH in the vagina, but it will make it easier for sperm to reach and fertilize an egg.
3. Avoid Vaginal Lubricants
Using vaginal lubricant during sexual intercourse can affect the pH of your vulva and rectum. This is because glycerin, an ingredient found in many lubricants, can cause the vulva to raise its pH levels. This can interfere with sperm’s ability to pass through the vulva and fertilize an egg.
The normal pH level of a woman’s vagina is between 4.5 and 5.5, which means it’s acidic. Semen, on the other hand, is alkaline and has a pH of between 7.1 and 8. This can throw off your vagina’s pH balance.
If you’re planning to conceive, try to avoid lubricants that contain glycerin. Instead, opt for long-lasting silicone lubricants or ones that say “sperm friendly” on the packaging.
The good news is that you can still use lubricant to make your sex session more enjoyable, but you should be liberal with it so your penis and vulva are sufficiently wet. This can help reduce friction and discomfort, as well as ramp up arousal. But just be sure to avoid semen, as this can throw off your vagina’s pH and lead to a UTI.
4. Avoid Semen
Sperm are tiny swimmers that have a head with all the genetic material needed to fertilize an egg, and a tail that helps them travel (swim) through a woman’s reproductive tract. They also contain a cocktail of proteins, vitamins and minerals to give them the energy they need to reach an egg and create a baby.
A healthy vagina has a pH level of 3.8-4.5. This is the ideal pH balance for growing Lactobacilli bacteria, which help fight harmful bacteria that can cause infection and yeast overgrowth.
Semen has a pH level of around 7. Semen is alkaline by nature, and can throw off the acidity levels in the vagina when it comes into contact with it.
Getting a proper pH balance in the body can be tricky, as many things can affect it. Things like sexual intercourse, medications and certain foods can all impact a person’s pH balance. But if you’re looking to get pregnant, it’s even more important to make sure your pH levels are in good shape. And one of the most important factors in that is avoiding sperm.
5. Take Probiotics
A healthy vagina contains plenty of bacteria known as the “vaginal flora.” These health-promoting microbes are naturally acidic and help prevent the growth of yeast and harmful bacteria, Insider reports. If the flora is disturbed, it can cause problems like itching or discharge with a fishy odor.
Unprotected sex can cause a pH imbalance because seminal fluid is alkaline and may interfere with the acidic environment in the vagina. This can also lead to sexually transmitted infections, including BV and STIs.
Douching increases the pH level in the vulva and can contribute to an overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria. It’s best to stick with a natural way of cleaning the vulva, such as using gentle cleansers and changing tampons regularly during your period.
A diet high in sugar and processed foods can also disrupt the flora in your stomach and vagina. If you’re worried about your pH level, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor for advice. They can perform tests to determine whether or not you have an infection and prescribe antibiotics if needed.