Did you know that only 40% of women who go to the doctor for a “yeast infection” actually have one?! That’s right! Less than half. pH testing can be very helpful in determining the cause of vaginal symptoms like discharge, odor, and itching. The good news? Testing strips are available over the counter at pharmacies. Want even better news? I’ve even found packs of 100 strips for $3-4 online.
Keep in mind you’ll want to purchase 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. Still not quite sure you’re ready to check yourself for a vaginal infection? Contact me to schedule a consultation.
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 may 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.
How to Test for a Vaginal Yeast Infection
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.