Did you know that only 40% of women who go to the doctor for a “yeast infection” actually have one?! pH testing can be very helpful in determining the cause of vaginal symptoms like discharge, odor, and itching. Testing strips are available over the counter at pharmacies. I’ve also found packs of 100 strips for $3-4 online. You will want to get the strips with the range of 4.5-9.0. Do not get the ones with a pH range of 1-9 as they will not be accurate for interpretation.
Women of reproductive age (teens to menopause) have a normal vaginal pH of 4.0 to 4.5. Unfortunately, pH testing is not accurate for postmenopausal women. Also, the results are not be accurate if there is lubricant, blood, semen, or douches in the vagina. The vaginal pH in yeast infections tends to be 4.0-4.5. A higher pH, 5 and up, usually means that a bacterial infection is present.
To do the testing you will want to check the wall of your vagina about 1 inch inside. One way is to gently press the strip to the side of your vagina. If you are right-handed then spread your labia open with your left hand. Then insert the pH strip into your lower vagina and touch it to the side of the vagina. Alternatively, you may use a q-tip to swab the vagina and then roll the q-tip onto the pH paper. While you are there, you may want to use a finger to check higher up in the vagina–some women will have infections due to a tampon or a condom that was accidentally left inside.
You can do vagina pH testing prior to your appointment with me so that I can give you the best treatment possible. If you are having recurrent infections then I recommend in-person care for additional examination and testing.