Know Yourself

Intimate health through life

Puberty, menstruation, pregnancy then menopause. As if life’s challenges aren’t tough enough, every woman also needs to handle hormonal and vaginal pH changes. It’s really not easy being a woman these days!

At every life stage, the amount of female hormones like estrogen and progesterone in our bodies may vary. This can disrupt vaginal pH balance causing vagina’s acidic protective layer to weaken, making it more susceptible to infection. Let us take a closer look at the various stages and learn when it’s good to start on a Lactacyd cleansing regime.

Female Hormone:
Present (comes from the mother)
Lactobacilli in Vagina:
Present
Vaginal PH:
Acidic
Female Hormone:
Low
Lactobacilli in Vagina:
Absent
Vaginal PH:
7
Female Hormone:
Low
Lactobacilli in Vagina:
Absent
Vaginal PH:
Neutral or Alkaline
Female Hormone:
Unstable
Lactobacilli in Vagina:
Increases
Vaginal PH:
4 – 4.5
Female Hormone:
Changing
Lactobacilli in Vagina:
Unstable
Vaginal PH:
Unstable
Female Hormone:
Increases
Lactobacilli in Vagina:
Increases
Vaginal PH:
4 – 4.5
Female Hormone:
Changing
Lactobacilli in Vagina:
Unstable
Vaginal PH:
Unstable
Female Hormone:
Slowly diminishing
Lactobacilli in Vagina:
Slowly diminishing
Vaginal PH:
Approaching 7

At birth

The level of good bacteria lactobacilli is predominant in the vagina and is generally influenced by the mother’s estrogen. Vaginal pH at this stage is low, meaning a low infection risk.

Infancy and Early Childhood

The vaginal pH becomes neutral or alkaline, presumably because of a relative deficiency of acid- producing vaginal microbes meaning high infection risk. Soiled diapers and bubble baths can also increase the risk of childhood genital infection.

Puberty

From your first menstruation, also known as menarche, an increased amount of estrogen gives rise to lactobacilli levels. With lactic acid secreted abundantly in the vagina, pH is low and a protective layer guarding against infection is produced.

Menstruation and pregnancy

Female hormone levels fluctuate, disrupting the pH balance of the vagina. This interferes with the natural acidic vaginal environment, allowing bad bacteria to grow.

Reproductive Years

During the reproductive years, changes in the vulva and vagina are linked to the menstrual cycle and pregnancy.

Menopause

Vaginal dryness is common due to fewer secretions of natural lubricants in the vagina. As hormone production decreases, lactobacilli and lactic acid levels drop, causing the vaginal pH to rise. This weakens the acidic protective layer of the vagina dramatically, making it prone to harmful elements.

Sources

  • Dr. L. Brabin. Factors affecting vaginal pH levels among female adolescents attending genitominary medicine clinics. Sexually Transmitted Infections. 2005; 81; 483-487.
  • Kaufmann HR, Faro S. Benign Diseases of the vulva and the vagina, 4th edition, Mosby 1994, 361.
  • Hay P. Bacterial vaginosis as a mixed infection. Polymicrobial Diseases 2002 edited by Kim A Brogden and Janet M Guthmiller.
  • Caillouette J.C. et al. Vaginal pH as marker for bacterial pathogens and menopausal status. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology 1997; 176(6): 1270-1275.
  • Vaginal Discharge by The Mickinley Health Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 2008.
    www.mckinley.uiuc.edu Accessed March 2009.
  • Menopause & Perimenopause by Marcy Holmes 2009. www.womentowomen.com Accessed March 2009.
  • MSN Encyclopedia & Dictionary 2008. www.encarta.msn.com Accessed March 2009.