If there’s one thing that couples who are trying to get pregnant have plenty of access to, it’s information. Dozens upon dozens of websites, blogs and videos are currently available for anyone searching for tips on conceiving. But while this readily available stream of information is hugely beneficial for many, some important pieces of fertility information tend to get left out of the information highway.
For example, one issue that our team personally aims to help women address – unfavorable pH levels in a woman’s cervical mucus – does not get nearly as much attention online as other fertility related issues. Yet both on- and offline, pH levels are an often overlooked reason that couples experience trouble getting pregnant – despite the fact that it’s relatively easy to identify and overcome this issue.
How Do pH Levels Impact Fertility?
“pH levels” is a term that refers to how “acidic” or “alkaline” your body is. The important thing to understand about pH levels is that they are not inherently a good or bad thing, even though the term “acidic” sounds much more intimidating than “alkaline”. It’s completely normal for different parts of our body to have different degrees of alkalinity or acidity. Our stomach, for example, is supposed to be more acidic than our blood.
But while varying pH levels in the body are generally not a big deal, they can become problematic if a woman’s cervical mucus has an exceptionally low – or “acidic” – pH level. This is because sperm are extremely sensitive to acidity. The human body knows this. In fact, it evolved to naturally create a more alkaline environment around the time of ovulation, just to help your partner’s little guys successfully swim up to an ovulated egg. However, sometimes this natural assistance isn’t enough. Sometimes a woman’s pH levels are too low to be overcome hormonally, and sometimes this natural change in alkalinity doesn’t happen at all. In cases like these, your partner’s sperm may not be able to successfully swim through your vaginal canal and cervical mucus to reach your fallopian tubes, where they ultimately need to be to successfully fertilize an ovulated egg.
What Affects pH Levels?
pH levels can be influenced by a number of things. The most common and most likely culprits of lower pH levels tend to be:
- Hormones: The female reproductive system is very sensitive to changes in hormones, such as the changes created by stress. Too many changes can cause the system to stop producing its own alkalinity, resulting in cervical mucus that’s more likely to harm sperm.
- BMI: Individuals with a higher BMI may experience shifts in their pH levels, although this may have more to do with their other healthy living habits than with their weight alone.
- Diet: A diet that’s high in “acidic” foods may lower pH levels.
- Dehydration: Extreme or chronic dehydration can make it much more difficult for the body to naturally regulate its pH levels.
- Prescription: Certain antibiotics or medications have ingredients or side effects that could impact the human reproductive system’s pH levels.
- Douching: Douching is notorious for its ability to interfere with your vagina’s natural state and health. Douching can make it more difficult for a woman’s cervix and vagina to naturally “police” themselves to create a more sperm-friendly environment.
- Lubricants: Using lubricants that aren’t sperm friendly can cause irritation and impact the overall health and balance of the vagina and cervix, including pH levels.
- Environmental toxics: Exposure to a range of environmental toxins may affect one’s pH levels.
Can I Do Anything To Address Low pH Levels?
Yes! There are a number of ways that you can start to address any issues you may be experiencing with your pH levels. These are the three best ways to address this issue and increase your odds of conceiving:
Make Adjustments In Your Lifestyle: Making changes in your daily routine is often the best way to address multiple possible causes of a low pH level. For example, addressing your daily stress levels may begin to raise your pH levels to a more alkaline state (while also helping your fertility overall *Link to stress blog). Making an effort to adjust your diet so that you eat fewer foods that result in a drop in pH levels is also an easy but effective strategy. And most of all, stop douching. Removing the use of any douching products – and any other harsh soaps or cleansers that you use “down under” – from your routine altogether might be all you need to do to address your out-of-whack pH levels.
Use Vaginal Creams, Gels And Washes: While douching is a big no-no if your pH levels aren’t where they should be, there are products you can use to help create a sperm-friendly environment within your cervix. Our recommendation is to look for a cream, gel or even wash that is designed specifically to help address and equalize pH levels. These types of products are available over the counter at local pharmacies as well as online, and are approved by the FDA. Even better, most of them are designed for easy use, and come with an applicator that is inserted into the vagina much like a tampon would be.
Invest In Home-Use Conception Aids: If you find that efforts to address your pH levels aren’t quite giving you the results you want, it may be worth considering using a home-use conception aid, such as The Stork OTC, to help in your conception efforts. Doing so will allow you to help your partner’s sperm skip a large part of the journey they would otherwise need to make through the vagina and cervix into the fallopian tubes – and by reducing your partner’s sperm’s exposure to lower pH levels, you may be able to give them the help they need to successfully reach the cervix.
While “low pH levels” can sound like a serious issue, we encourage hopeful couples who have had trouble getting pregnant to take a deep breath when it comes to handling this matter. In many cases, small changes are all it takes to balance your pH levels. And thanks to modern day conception tools, even in a worse case scenario, you have a strong chance of overcoming this issue and successfully starting your family.