Bacterial vaginosis (Vaginitis) is a medical condition that occurs when too many bacteria are present in the vagina. This can cause an increase in vaginal pH levels. A person with bacterial vaginosis may feel itching, burning or pain in the vagina. You may also feel a burning sensation when urinating and notice a white or gray discharge.
Vaginal douching refers to the cleansing of the vagina using solutions that contain vinegar or baking soda. These solutions are intended to reduce vaginal odor, but in fact, can make it worse. This is because it also destroys the beneficial bacteria, which affects the balance of vaginal pH and can you more prone to infections.
Although antibiotics are used to kill harmful bacteria, these medications can kill good bacteria too, including vaginal bacteria. When taking antibiotics, your vaginal pH may be affected.
Semen has a basic (alkaline) pH, in contrast to the acidic vaginal pH. When semen enters the vagina, vaginal pH may increase temporarily.
Urinary infections do not cause an increase in vaginal pH, but if the person already has a high pH, the risk of developing a urinary infection increases. Reduced estrogen levels during pre-menopause and menopause can put a person at risk of developing urinary infections more frequently.
One study found that women tend to have higher pH levels during menopause. In the study, women in menopause had an average vaginal pH of 5.3. Reduced estrogen levels during menopause can affect a person's vaginal pH.
Other vaginal infections: the presence of infections other than bacterial vaginosis can also increase vaginal pH. Examples include Trichomonas vaginalis and streptococcus group B (GBS).
The presence of menstrual blood: blood has a higher pH than the vaginal environment. When a person is menstruating, the presence of menstrual blood can increase vaginal pH levels.