Something that has come to fascinate me more, more and more over time, is what pH balance represents when it comes to our overall health and well-being. Another term for pH balance is acid-base balance which basically represents how much acidity and alkalinity are in our blood, especially as it relates to our lungs, kidneys and body buffer systems.
Monitoring your pH balance has to do with a scale of sorts. Blood-wise, the numbers are between 0-14 with 0 being strongly acidic and 14 being very alkaline (or base). The key is for your system to remain as neutral as possible by hanging somewhere around 7-7.45 (because blood is naturally more acidic) at all times. When this doesn't happen, health issues can arise including fatigue, high stress, indigestion, insomnia, lung and kidney challenges — oh, and vaginal drama.
Today, we're gonna talk more about the vaginal side of things. How to know what your vagina's pH is supposed to be, what to do if your pH is a little off and how to keep things on track (balanced) as much as possible. Ready?
What Is Your Vagina’s pH and Why Does It Matter?
When it comes to your vagina's pH levels, specifically, it's important to know what it is because it lets you know if your vagina is truly healthy or not.
Remember how I said that when it comes to your blood, you're in good shape if you're in the midway part of "7"? Well, as far as your vagina goes, the level that you need to be looking for is somewhere between 3.8 and 4.5 (although it should go on record that during your reproductive years, your pH is usually closer to 4.5 yet loses acidity as you head towards menopause, taking it to around a 5). What that range basically means is your vagina's pH is normal although it's leaning towards being acidic.
This is important to know because acid is what helps to protect your vagina from infections; however, if it's too acidic (under 4 or so), that can actually put you at risk for bacterial vaginosis (a bacterial overgrowth), a yeast infection (a fungus overgrowth) and trichomoniasis (an STD). Not only that but high acidity can also affect your fertility, if you're not careful. The reason behind that is it's easier for sperm to move around in a more alkaline environment. Just one more reason to keep your vagina as healthy as possible.
And just how can you know for sure that your vagina's pH is right where it's supposed to be? Thankfully, there are at-home tests that consist of you holding some pH paper on one side of your vagina for a few seconds. Then you compare the color on the paper to the color on the chart of the test to see what your results are. Since these tests are as effective as the ones that doctors use, it's an inexpensive and convenient way to see if your vagina is "lining up" with where it should be. You should be able to find vaginal screening tests at your local Walmart or drugstore (like CVS).
And just what can cause a vagina's pH to get out of balance?
What Can Throw Off Your Vagina’s pH?
There's no way around the fact that our vaginas are pretty sensitive. That's why it's so important to know what can throw your vagina's pH balance off. Your menstrual cycle (and pregnancy) can do it because menstrual blood has a way of raising your vagina's pH levels. Antibiotics can do it because not only do those tend to get rid of the bad bacteria that causes a disease or ailment but the good bacteria as well (which is why you should up your probiotic intake if you are currently on an antibiotic prescription; probiotics help to replenish good bacteria in your system). One of the reasons why douching is an absolute no-no is because it also increases your vagina's pH.
Consuming a lot of sugar isn't a good idea because yeast and bacteria feed off of sugar and the overgrowth of either can throw off your pH and lead to a yeast infection. Super tight clothes or panties that aren't made out of breathable fabrics like cotton aren't good for your vagina's pH because the combination of heat and moisture is also ideal for bacterial growth. If you're sleeping with more than one person, use a condom; sperm is alkaline and can trigger bacterial growth (especially with "unfamiliar" semen). Stress is another thing that can throw your vagina's pH levels way off too (more on that in a bit).
So, say that your vagina's pH isn't where it's supposed to be. What are some clear indications of that? A change in your vaginal discharge (especially if it's frothy, green and/or itchy). A fishy smell. Vaginal irritation. A burning sensation when you urinate.
When Should You See Your Doctor About Your Vagina’s pH?
So, what if you take a pH test and it does reveal that "your numbers" do not fall between the 3.8 and 4.5 mark and/or you've got any of the symptoms that I just mentioned? Should you make an appointment to see your doctor if that is the case? Possibly.
What I mean by that is, if the symptoms point to a yeast infection and you've already had one of those before, usually it's fine to just go to your local drugstore and get what you need to heal it (unless you've had more than one in the past six months or it doesn't seem to go away with over the counter treatments). However, if the symptoms are different, more extreme or there is a foul odor, don't "Google your way" into a solution. As much as I'm all about a home remedy, sometimes you can make matters worse if you find yourself "treating" the wrong ailment because you misdiagnosed the issue.
5 Ways to Maintain a Proper Vaginal pH Balance
Now that you know what to do if your vaginal pH isn't hanging around the numbers that it should, let me end this with some proactive ways to keep that from being an issue in the first place. The good news is all of these tips are pretty easy to implement.
Take a probiotic. There are good and bad bacteria in your vagina. Aside from eating less sugar, something else that can keep bad bacteria from totally taking over is taking a probiotic supplement. As far as which ones you should take, check out The Healthy's "12 Best Probiotics for Women" for a good point of reference. Also, foods that are naturally high in probiotics include Greek yogurt, fermented foods like pickles, kefir and sauerkraut, raw cheese, brine-cured olives, apple cider vinegar and sour cream.
Watch what goes into your vagina. So, here's the thing about semen — it has a pH of being somewhere between 7.1 and 8 (very alkaline). When you engage in sexual intercourse, your vagina's pH naturally rises in order to become more alkaline and protect the sperm (so that conception can transpire). However, what this can also do is make your vagina way more vulnerable to bacterial growth. That's why, unless you are in an exclusive long-term relationship, it's really best to wear a condom every time. And what about rubbers? Can they mess up your pH too? While technically they could, if you happen to experience a vaginal reaction, it's probably more about being allergic to latex because studies reveal that consistent condom use actually decreases the chances of having an imbalanced vaginal pH.
Ditch tampons. Growing up, I wasn't "allowed" to use tampons. In college, I "rebelled" and started to use them. In my 30s, I went back to pads and now I'm all about the menstrual cup. My mother used to always say that period blood shouldn't just "sit" in a woman's vagina; it needs to flow out. I agree. And you know what? Something else that blood-filled tampons can do is throw your vagina's pH levels off. Just one more reason to try a menstrual cup (by the way, if you've got a high cervix, INTIMINA's Lily Cup is all good things).
Drink water. Something else that having an imbalanced vaginal pH can do is lead to a urinary tract infection (UTI); not that it "causes" a UTI. It's more like, being that this kind of infection is typically the result of Escherichia coli (E. coli) and bacteria thrives in toxins, drinking lots of water can help to keep toxins out and remove bacteria on a consistent basis so that you're less susceptible to a UTI occurring.
Keep your stress levels down. Last fall, I wrote "Ever Wonder If Your Vagina Is Stressed TF Out?" for the platform. It's all about signs that your vagina is stressed. One red flag is your discharge is different which is usually directly connected to your pH levels. Listen, if anything can put your hormones in influx which can wreck your sleep and diet which can lower your immunity and make your vagina more susceptible to bacterial and fungal growth, it's stress. So, whether it's a person, place, thing or idea, please be hypervigilant about not allowing anyone or anything ruin your peace. There's a huge chance that your vagina will show all the way out if it does and as you've already read, that's just one more reason why being stressed is totally not worth it. Not at all.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy