Can You Test Your Vaginal pH at Home?

How to Use a Home pH Kit

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Your gynecologist may already have tested your vaginal pH many times. This allows her to determine the acidity or alkalinity of your vaginal secretions. Why is this information that it's important for her to know, and why should you learn this information too?

The Importance of Knowing Your Vaginal pH

You may want to test your vaginal pH if you are experiencing unusual vaginal symptoms, such as itching, burning, a foul vaginal odor, or an abnormal vaginal discharge. This can help you decide whether or not you might need medical treatment.

However, you should understand that an at-home test will not help diagnose HIV, chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, or group B streptococcus.

Frequently, when women experience unusual vaginal symptoms, the first thing that comes to mind is vaginal yeast infections. If you experience vaginal symptoms that you think might indicate a vaginal yeast infection, this test can help you rule out other types of infections. Of course, before you self-treat yourself using over-the-counter (OTC) medications, you should still probably confirm a diagnosis with your doctor.

How Do I Use an At-Home Vaginal pH Test Kit?

A home vaginal pH test kit generally includes a piece of pH test paper and a color chart for determining your vaginal pH results. To perform the test, hold the pH test paper against the wall of your vagina for a few seconds. Next, compare the color of your pH test paper to the color chart. While the color may not be an exact match to the chart, you should choose the color your test result most closely resembles.

What Do the Results of My Home Vaginal pH Test Mean?

Normal vaginal pH is 3.8 to 4.5, which is slightly acidic. The home vaginal pH test kit measures pH on a scale of 1 to 14. Abnormal vaginal pH may be higher or lower than normal vaginal pH. High vaginal pH numbers indicate less acidity, while lower than normal vaginal pH levels indicate high acidity.

Abnormal vaginal pH frequently indicates the presence of a vaginal infection. However, you should know that not all vaginal infections cause changes to vaginal pH. This means that having a normal vaginal pH test does not necessarily mean that you do not have a vaginal infection.

If your vaginal pH is above normal, the most likely reason is that you have bacterial vaginosis (BV) and not a yeast infection. In this case, don't use OTC medications for vaginal yeast infections, because the medication will not treat your BV. Instead, you'll need to see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

On the other hand, if your vaginal pH is normal or below normal and you've had previous vaginal yeast infections diagnosed by a doctor, you can try one of the OTC medications for vaginal yeast infections. If this does not cure your vaginal symptoms or infection, see your doctor for the appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

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