Trusted for 23+ Years
Lubricants & pH Levels
Dr. Lisa Lawless, CEO of Holistic Wisdom
Clinical Psychotherapist: Relationship & Sexual Health Expert
Importance Of pH Levels In Lubricants
One of the most critical factors that makes a healthy lubricant is the pH level which should match where it is being used (the vagina or rectum). Most consumers assume that the pH levels will be within the proper range in any personal lubricant they purchase. Sadly, that is not the case, and some lubricants on the market are so far off they are downright unhealthy to use. When A pH In A Lubricant Is Not In Range
If the pH levels are off in a lubricant, it can increase your susceptibility to bacterial infections, sexually transmitted diseases and impact the ability to become pregnant.
If a lubricant is overly acidic, it can cause discomfort, such as burning and itching sensations. If the pH level of a lubricant is too alkaline, it may cause itching, irritation, yeast infections, and bacterial vaginosis.
What is pH?
A pH level is a measurement of how acidic water is. The range goes from 0 - 14, with 7 being neutral (same as water). A pH of less than 7 is acidic, and greater than 7 is referred to as a base (alkaline). As this pH lubricant diagram shows, pH ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral.
The normal vaginal pH range is 3.8 to 4.5. However, it can fluctuate and get as high as 7 depending on the time of a woman's menstrual cycle, with the highest pH level beginning during ovulation. This makes the vaginal environment more sperm-friendly as sperm thrives at a 7.2 - 8 pH level. The normal pH range for the rectum is 7 – 8.
If you were to test a lubricant while it was inside the vagina or rectum, there would be different results every time as lubes interact with fluctuating acid levels. However, choosing a pH-balanced lubricant close to the normal range should create a healthy environment.
Special Considerations For Vaginal pH Levels
If vaginal pH fluctuates significantly due to hormonal changes, medications, surgery, chemotherapy, or birth control, it can affect how the vagina reacts to a lubricant. It can mean that if you are using a lubricant that is on the more acidic side and you dip in your pH range, the lubricant that you normally use and have no issues with may suddenly cause you discomfort. Typically it is felt as a burning sensation. Switching to a lubricant that has a lower pH level will typically remedy this.
Does Natural Honey Balance pH Levels?
Some people claim that using natural honey on the vulva and vagina can help to balance vaginal pH levels due to honey having antimicrobial properties. However, honey contains natural sugars and can encourage yeast growth, leading to a yeast infection. It is far better to use a pH-balanced lubricant, and if there are health concerns with an imbalance, review your specific health care needs with a physician.
The pH Levels Of Our Lubricants
Our lubricants are well researched before we bring them on to our website, as we specialize in sexual health. Thus, anything that you purchase from us will be within the normal pH ranges for its intended use.
There are many other important factors to consider when choosing a healthy lubricant, so make sure to explore our Ultimate Personal Lubricant Guide for more information on things such as osmolality, preservatives, and more. Once you have your lubricant see our How To Properly Use Lubricants Guide.