2:51 am - 12/31/2007

pH testing strips/tape

Hello everyone! I tried to scroll back/search as far as I could, so hopefully this hasn't been asked before: Does anyone here know anything about using pH strips/tape to check the pH balance in your vagina?

I know that Vagisil has these pH testing kits out now that can help you determine if you have a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis, but I think they cost you about 20 dollars each! Being able to test the pH is a great idea, but those kits are way too expensive! In place of the kits, I went ahead and ordered some pH testing strips/tape from an organic health products website. Anyway, the website says that you can use these strips to test your saliva and urine, but I'm figuring you should be able to use it to test your vaginal secretions too, right? I was just wondering if anyone else does this, and if so, how you do it. I have chronic BV and I'm really curious to conduct a few experiments (change diet, adjust how I use boric acid - in pill or douche form, etc) and then use the strips to figure out what's working best at taming these horrible BV germs. If anyone here does use the strips, do you put the strip inside your vagina and sort of let it adhere to the wall and pull it out, or do you stick your finger inside and then put the strip on your finger? (Sorry if TMI!) I'm absolutely at my wit's end, so I'm hoping that maybe this method will produce some results...

Also, anyone else here suffering from chronic BV? I've pretty much accepted the fact that it will never go away, even though it makes me want to cry when I think about it. I am in a committed, monogamous relationship and have been for the last year and three months. He loses all sensitivity when we use condoms (completely loses erection) and has a hard time cumming if he pulls out. The only way for sex to be fulfilling for both of us is in a way that ultimately leads to me having chronic BV :( I have been dealing with this for an entire year now, and have been through enough foul-tasting metronidazole pills to last a lifetime! I no longer have health insurance, but when I was going to the gyno (which was all the time for a while there), I was always diagnosed with BV and was always told that I had cervicitis (which makes me really worried about the BV making me infertile?) Because I always had cervicitis, they would keep testing me for gonorrhea and chlmydia and of course, it would always come up negative! BV always wound up being to blame.

Since I can't go to the doctor and don't want to take those awful pills anyway, I have been using boric acid douche (about a teaspoon full in warm water after sex) and have been using Yeast Arrest boric acid suppositories which are supposed to be good for both YI and BV. Sometimes it seems to work for a couple of days, but then that awful itchy tingly feeling comes back into my crotch... lots of wet feeling discharge that sometimes smells foul (fortunately the smell has not been as bad for me as it is for some women). Also, I have been using boric acid douche every time I have sex (a couple times a week) and I am really concerned that it could be hurting me somehow? Does anyone know anything about prolonged use of boric acid?

Any help would be sooo much appreciated!!!!
parker_tanuki 31st-Dec-2007 12:59 pm (UTC)
I don't have anything really helpful to say but I suffer from chronic BV as well. For the past two years, every annual visit confirms that I still have it, as if I couldn't tell from all of the symptoms. I have had three different types of antibiotic pills that simply knock me on my butt and wish I could just puke the pills back up and they -still- don't work, no relief from the symptoms for even a day.

But to me, it sounds like you are douching perhaps a little too much even if you were simply using water. One of the causes of BV is douching too often or at least that is what the Doc told me but take that with a grain of salt. I am going to a new doc this year because the current more or less treats me like an idiot when I ask about my BV.

Sorry I couldn't be of more help,
-Parker
youlovethesun 1st-Jan-2008 06:55 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your advice. I'm so sorry that you're also dealing with this very frustrating problem. I think I will try to tone done with the douching, but also maybe try some other treatments like acidophilus capsules.
kate519 31st-Dec-2007 03:00 pm (UTC)
I've also been dealing with chronic BV for the past year, so I definitely understand how frustrated you're feeling. My doctor feels mine is caused by using condoms. That's extremely frustrating because: 1) I've never had problems with them in the past and 2) they are pretty much my only birth control option.

Regarding the test strips, I would try putting them inside you and press them against your vaginal wall for a few seconds. I've tried the Vagisil test kit in the past (waste of money, IMO) and that's how you use those, so I'm assuming you would use the test strips the same way.

Unfortunately I don't have any ideas how to help because I'm also desperately looking for a cure to this problem. Good luck to you!
lileprechaun 31st-Dec-2007 10:42 pm (UTC)
Just a thought, do you use latex condoms and if so have you tried polyurethane condoms? Latex sensitivity can lead to secondary infections such as BV.
youlovethesun 1st-Jan-2008 07:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the info. I'm really sorry that you're having this problem and that condoms seem to be the culprit. I agree with the other poster that maybe you should try switching to a different brand or try using polyurethane (if you haven't already). I hope you find a solution soon!
jocelina 31st-Dec-2007 03:22 pm (UTC)
I was actually thinking about how one might use regular pH testing strips to test vaginal pH. I think putting a strip inside your vagina would be the best way; I was thinking that maybe wrapping a strip, or part of a strip, around the tip of a cotton swab would work too -- that way you could use it kind of like one of those Vagisil testers.

Odd question, but have you tried using acidophilus in conjunction with the boric acid? I have heard that that can be effective against BV -- the boric acid reacidifies things and takes care of the bad, BV-causing bacteria, and the acidophilus helps restore the balance of healthy vaginal bacteria. You could use either yogurt or acidophilus capsules. I don't know for sure if it would help, but it might be worth a try. :)
youlovethesun 1st-Jan-2008 06:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your response! I've only been taking acidophilus orally with my other vitamins (also take garlic and B-complex in an effort to keep BV germs at bay). Is there a particular brand I should try for vaginal use? I saw some acidophilus in capsules at the store, but wasn't sure if they could dissolve in my vagina.
jennifer0246 31st-Dec-2007 04:40 pm (UTC)
As for pH testing -- use a q-tip or long cotton swab to collect vaginal secretions from inside the vagina (not in the cervix, but in the vagina) and rub the secretions onto the pH paper. Don't use secretions from the very entrance of the vagina, as they can be 'contaminated' by sweat, urine, etc.

As for the ongoing BV -- the vulvapedia entry may be useful to you, the other thing I'd suggest is a visit to a health care provider to see what's causing the vaginitis - gardnerella, group b strep, etc. Knowing what the bacteria is can help you treat it for once and for all.
youlovethesun 1st-Jan-2008 06:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I had never thought of it that way - trying to find out exactly which type of bacteria is causing the problem. It seems that my boyfriend's semen is definitely to blame, but I'm not sure what could be in it. The very frustrating thing to me is that I was in one monogamous relationship in the past where he also ejaculated inside me, and I never, ever experienced this problem. I don't know what it is about my current partner that is causing this, but I will definitely ask once I get health insurance and can go back to a new doctor.
jennifer0246 1st-Jan-2008 08:36 pm (UTC)
I would encourage you to consider not waiting, as some types of bacterial infections can cause things like PID if left untreated. Are you able to visit a Planned Parenthood or other clinic, perhaps? What geographic area are you in, maybe we can provide some suggestions for healthcare for the un/underinsured?
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