The vagina is a slightly acidic environment, with a pH of less than 4.5. Higher pH levels allow bacteria and yeasts to thrive, which can result in bacterial and yeast infections.

A quick look at 4 vaginal pH tests for at-home use

Vaginal pH tests measure the acidity of the vagina. They can help indicate whether vaginal symptoms may be due to an infection that requires treatment.

This article describes what a vaginal pH test is and lists some of the best at-home tests available. It also provides information on when to get a vaginal pH test, how to choose the best one, and what to do if pH levels are outside the typical range. Finally, it answers some common questions about vaginal pH.

A vaginal pH test measures the acidity of the vaginal fluid on a scale of 1–14, with lower readings indicating greater acidity.

People who experience vaginal symptoms may use a vaginal pH test to help determine whether they have a bacterial or yeast infection.

Why is vaginal pH important?

According to a 2021 study, the microbial ecosystem in the vagina is dynamic and can have varying pH levels. When this ecosystem is performing typically, the pH is acidic and ranges from around 3.8 to 5.

The health of this ecosystem generally tends to depend on its most common microbiome, the Lactobacilli species. This produces an acidic environment that can protect the body from infections.

When these species decline, the vagina becomes more alkaline and less acidic. This leads to an imbalance, increasing the buildup of bacteria and resulting in vaginitis and other vaginal issues. Vaginal pH can also change the appearance of vaginal fluid and discharge.

Learn more about what different discharge colors mean here.

An individual can follow these steps to use a vaginal pH test:

  1. Wash the hands to reduce the risk of infection.
  2. Remove the swab from its packaging, ensuring the testing side does not touch the hands, body, or any other surfaces.
  3. Place the testing side of the swab against the wall of the vagina according to the test instructions. This usually involves moving it against the walls for a specific amount of time.
  4. Take out the swab, making sure not to touch the testing side.
  5. Apply the test side to the pH paper.
  6. Look for color changes on the pH paper.
  7. Compare the color with the test kit’s chart.
  8. Read the vaginal pH value that matches the color on the chart.

MNT chooses at-home tests that meet the following criteria:

  • Laboratories: Where possible, MNT chooses companies that process test samples in CLIA-certified labs. This means they follow state and federal regulations.
  • Budget: Tests suit a wide range of budgets.
  • Privacy: Companies offer robust and transparent privacy measures, such as data protection and discreet packaging.
  • Test result speed: Companies inform customers of when they will receive their test results and whether they will receive them via email, app, or phone.
  • Further support: MNT will indicate whether a company offers further support, such as a follow-up phone consultation with a doctor to discuss test results.
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Below are several at home pH tests an individual may wish to try.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

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Most discreet: Stix Vaginal pH Test for Yeast Infections

  • Cost: $13 for two tests
  • Advantage: accepts flexible spending account (FSA) and health savings account (HSA) payments
  • Disadvantage: offers fewer test strips than other options

Stix manufactures tests for the following uses:

This pH testing kit ships in discreet packaging and includes easy-to-follow instructions. According to the company’s website, the test delivers results in 2 minutes.

Stix offers a subscription service for regular test delivery.

Despite the company’s claims, this test cannot tell a person whether they have a yeast infection. However, it can indicate whether a person should book an appointment with their doctor.

Best for regular use: Nutrablast Feminine pH Test Strips Full Range 1–14

  • Cost: $14.99 for a roll of 100
  • Advantage: provides results within seconds
  • Disadvantage: does not come with detailed instructions

Nutrablast Feminine pH Test Strips Full Range 1–14 is an at-home vaginal pH test that emphasizes accuracy and a straightforward approach.

At a cost of $14.99 for a roll of 100 test strips, the product is one of the most affordable on the market. Users will need to cut individual strips from the roll to conduct each test.

With many tests in each kit, this is a good option for people who experience chronic or recurrent vaginal symptoms.

These test kits provide minimal information, making them more suitable for experienced users.

Best for pH monitoring: Loyal All My [pH]eels Full Range pH Test Strips

  • Cost: $14.99 for 100 tests
  • Advantage: comes with a 90-day return policy
  • Disadvantage: people must cut individual strips from the roll

The Loyal website states that monitoring vaginal pH levels can help users learn about their bodies and take action on self-care decisions.

The All My [pH]eels test kit contains 100 strips, and tests produce results in 5 seconds.

However, some users reported not seeing a change in color and felt that the product did not work.

Most secure: SEROFlora Feminine pH Test Strips

  • Cost: $16.99 for 40 test strips
  • Advantage: precut strips for ease of use
  • Disadvantage: more expensive per test than some other options

A box of SEROFlora Feminine pH Test Strips contains 40 precut test strips.

The strips come wrapped in an aluminum pouch to support the accuracy of the tests and help maintain product freshness.

The company claims its product offers quick and accurate results and an easy-to-read color chart.

The table below compares these four vaginal pH testing kits according to cost, convenience, and the information they provide.

StixNutrablastLoyal All My [pH]eelsSEROFlora
Quantity of tests210010040
Prosaccepts FS and HSA paymentsresults within seconds90-day return policyprecut test strips
Consfewer test stripsno detailed instructionspeople need to cut individual strips from the rollmore expensive per test than some other options

A person may consider getting a vaginal pH test if they experience vaginal symptoms that indicate an infection.

Examples of such symptoms include:

A person should contact their doctor if an at-home test shows that their vaginal pH levels are outside the typical range. A doctor will offer additional tests to determine the cause and prescribe appropriate treatments as necessary.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), at-home vaginal pH testing kits are comparable to those a doctor would use. Nonetheless, a person who receives a vaginal pH result outside the typical range should make a follow-up appointment with their doctor.

An at-home vaginal pH test cannot say definitively if a person has an infection or what kind of infection that may be. A doctor can determine what type of infection a person has, if any.

It is also important to note that a vaginal pH test result that is within the typical range does not necessarily indicate the absence of a vaginal infection. Certain infections do not result in abnormal vaginal pH levels. Anyone who receives such a result and continues to experience symptoms should contact their doctor for a diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Below are some answers to some commonly asked questions about vaginal pH.

What can throw off my pH balance?

Many factors can cause a vaginal pH imbalance, including:

How do I know if my vaginal pH balance is off?

The following symptoms can be signs that a person’s vaginal pH balance is off:

When should I check my vaginal pH?

A person may wish to consider taking an at-home vaginal pH test if they experience vaginal symptoms that do not resolve quickly or resolve and then recur.

Untreated vaginal pH imbalances can increase the risk of sexually transmitted infections and problems during pregnancy.

How can I test my pH level?

A person can visit a healthcare professional for a test of their pH level either or they can perform an at-home test.

At-home test kits typically include instructions, a vaginal swab, and a color chart that matches the swab color change with a pH level.

What does a vaginal pH test look for?

This test checks the level of acidity, or pH, in the vagina.

It does not provide a diagnosis. If a person believes they may have a condition that changes the acidity of their vaginal pH, they should contact a healthcare professional for more advice.

A healthy vagina contains a balanced mix of bacteria and has a slightly acidic pH. Various factors can throw off the bacterial balance, including bacterial and yeast infections. These infections may cause a range of symptoms, including an unusual discharge, unpleasant odor, and irritation of the vulva or vagina.

A person may choose to take a vaginal pH test if they experience persistent or recurrent vaginal symptoms. The test involves placing a swab against the wall of the vagina. The swab contains a piece of pH paper that changes color to indicate the vaginal pH.

If the results are outside the typical range, a person should consult their doctor for a diagnosis and appropriate treatment. People should also speak with their doctor if their pH value is within the typical range, but they continue to experience symptoms.