Unbalanced pH? No, you are not back in your grade 10 chemistry class. Add “vaginal” to it and now we want to collectively squirm at the thought. Yes, today we’re addressing vaginal health.
But on a serious note, babe, when you feel different down there, with a harsh odour and unusual discharge, it could be a sign that your vaginal pH is off.
This is the view of Centurion gynaecologist, obstetrician and fertility specialist Dr Qinisile Diale, also known as Dr Q.
Female genitalia are acidic and need a balanced pH between the range of 3.8 – 4.5.
“Once your vagina has an extra peculiar or offensive, strong smell, now that is abnormal. It may be fishy or any other way, but once it has a strong smell, when it is not a natural earthy smell then we recommend that you seek assistance somewhere,” she warns.
Must it smell like roses?
A vagina typically has an absence of odour, says Dr Q.
Cape Town traditional health practitioner Nicky van Eck believes the time of the month determines your flavour.
To make sense of odours, Van Eck uses fruit to illustrate the matter.
“We have a wide variety of flavours. We’ve got watermelon, sometimes we have guava. It depends on which time of the month somebody is having a taste because our acidic levels change, so our flavour changes.”
The notion that it is supposed to smell a certain way is simply “male privilege.” Van Eck uses the Sanskrit word Yoni, “sacred space” for vagina.
“Our pH balance is more acidic than men on the inside. Our vagina throughout the cycle can be a bit more acidic or less acidic. Eat well and look at what your Yoni is showing you. Mindfulness is the big healer,” she says.
Both Van Eck and Dr Q caution against the use of vaginal washes.
“Others call it a natural odour. Some call it an earthy odour. It is like an absence of smell,” Dr Q says.
To determine your dietary needs for a healthy vagina, you must be mindful of what you put in your body, adds Van Eck.
“Your body is the best indicator for you if you are doing something right or if you are doing something that can be improved.”
8 essential foods to keep Lady V happy
Fresh fruit and vegetables: From your head to your vagina, they contain a multitude of benefits!
Sweet potatoes: Vitamin A assists in building health uterine walls and helps produce thehormones you need to stay vibrant, full of energy and keep you sexy!
Avocados, apples, flaxseed and water: They can help keep Lady V naturally lubricated.
Yoghurt: It contains the same good bacteria Lady V needs to maintain healthy pH levels. Look for a tub with live and active cultures or probiotics.
Garlic: Known to be antimicrobial, eating them raw can fight yeast infections.
Dark chocolate: The higher the percentage the better, indulge in antioxidants when you eat a square a day. Chocolate is also known to be rich in magnesium to sooth nerves.
Hot chillies: They contain capsaicin that improves blood circulation and stimulates nerve endings.
Almonds and pumpkin seeds: High in zinc, they can help normalise menstrual cycle and regulate hormones. Zinc can also boost the immune system and helps with your mood!
Cranberry juice: It is loaded with compounds known to fight off bad bacteria and can help you fight off a urinary tract infection.