Boric acid is often used as an alternative treatment, or in conjunction with antibiotics, for bacterial vaginosis (BV), particularly in cases when BV infections reoccur.
Although it is known to relieve irritating BV symptoms quickly, it typically takes a little longer for the underlying infection to clear. So how long should you wait to have sex after BV treatment with boric acid? Read on to find out.
What is Bacterial Vaginosis?
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common vaginal infection caused by an imbalance of bacteria that are habitually present in the vagina. A healthy vagina contains a delicate balance of bacteria, including some ‘bad’ but mostly beneficial bacteria called lactobacilli. This balance helps to maintain a slightly acidic vaginal environment and keep infections at bay.
However, when something disrupts the natural vaginal environment, lactobacilli decreases and an overgrowth of harmful bacteria results in an infection. Although not all women experience symptoms from BV, the most common signs include an unusual vaginal discharge that is often gray and sometimes brown, as well as an unpleasant vaginal odor, genital irritation like itching or inflammation, and pain during or after sex.
Although bacterial vaginosis is not considered a sexually transmitted infection, sexual activity is believed to contribute to BV infections.
How Does Sex Trigger BV?
Even though scientists don’t yet fully understand the exact cause of BV, it is thought to be connected to sex in several ways. The fact that semen is alkaline and could temporarily alter the acidity of the vagina during sex is believed to play a role, for example.
The genital chemistry of penises also varies, meaning the bacteria present on one man’s penis could disrupt the vaginal environment more than another man’s penis might. Therefore, women who have unprotected sex with new partners or multiple sexual partners are more exposed to BV.
What Else Can Cause BV?
Some women are believed to produce more of the bacteria that cause BV than others, leaving them more prone to BV infections. Douching, or cleaning the vagina with synthetic hygiene products is also highly disruptive for the vaginal environment and known to leave women susceptible to not only BV but other vaginal infections too.
Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause also increase the risk of getting BV. In these cases, decreased estrogen results in lower levels of the good bacteria called lactobacilli in the vagina, which in turn increases the risk of vaginal infections.
Women who use IUDs as contraception are also thought to have an increased risk of BV.
How Does Boric Acid Treat BV?
According to research, two of the main reasons that women suffer from recurring BV infections are because the antibiotics prescribed did not completely clear the infection or a healthy vaginal environment and pH levels were not sufficiently restored after the infection.
Both instances leave women vulnerable to not only recurring BV infections but also more exposed to sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, and HIV.
For instance, after a full course of antibiotics, which is the suggested medical treatment for BV, as many as 30% of women experience a recurring BV infection within 3-12 months. Such high levels of reoccurrence led researchers to the conclusion that using boric acid suppositories and antibiotics was a far more effective treatment for getting rid of BV.
Boric acid possesses natural antibacterial properties that can help kill the harmful bacteria responsible for BV infections, for example, and when used in suppository form, it is quickly released and fast-acting. Boric acid also helps to restore a balanced vaginal microbiome by reestablishing acidic pH levels where lactobacilli can grow and increase.
To get rid of BV and prevent it from recurring, try these 100% vegan Boric Balance suppositories from Intimate Rose. Produced in an FDA-registered facility in the US, they are 100% vegan, fast acting, and provide relief from BV symptoms within 24 hours.
Sex After BV Treatment with Boric Acid: How Long Should You Wait?
The dosage and duration of boric acid treatment for BV can vary for each patient depending on the severity of the infection and how many times it has reoccurred. All patients are also advised to refrain from both oral and penetrative sexual activity during treatment for BV.
So how long you should wait to have sex after treating BV with boric acid is typically dependent on the following:
Symptoms Have Completely Subsided
Even though Boric Balance relieves BV symptoms within 24 hours, it’s best to avoid sexual activity until all BV symptoms have completely disappeared. This includes any abnormal vaginal discharge or odors, itching, and discomfort in the vaginal area.
The Course is Completed
When treating BV with boric acid, it is vitally important to complete the full course of suppositories prescribed by your healthcare professional. Stopping the treatment early, even if symptoms have subsided, could mean the infection is not totally cleared and reinfection could occur.
You’ve Waited A Further 24-48 Hours
Many female health practitioners recommend abstaining from sex for a further 24-48 hours after the last boric acid suppository to ensure all traces have been flushed from the vagina, and symptoms do not resurface.
Partners Have Been Treated
As embarrassing as it might seem, it’s vital to inform any or all of your sexual partners about your BV to avoid reinfection. It’s also wise to request that your partners are tested and treated for BV before engaging in sexual activity with them again.
How to Prevent Bacterial Vaginosis
Once you’ve successfully cleared a BV infection, the following tips will help to prevent recurring infections.
- Stop douching and wash the genitals with a clean washcloth and warm water instead. Soap is optional, but ensure it is unscented to protect the vaginal microbiome and maintain healthy vaginal pH levels.
- Peeing after sex can help to flush any harmful bacteria from the vagina. It’s also a good idea to wash the genitals using a clean washcloth and warm water after intercourse.
- Take a daily probiotic to help keep the vaginal microbiome balanced and protected from the overgrowth of harmful bacteria. In a similar way that probiotics maintain a balanced level of good and bad bacteria in the gut, they do the same for the vagina.
- Use barrier protection during sex to prevent the spread of any harmful bacteria from the male genitals and to protect the acidic vaginal environment from the alkalinity of semen.
If you notice any unusual vaginal symptoms or suspect you have symptomless bacterial vaginosis, seek medical advice from your healthcare provider and enquire about the use of boric acid as treatment in conjunction with antibiotics.
After completing the full course of boric acid prescribed by your doctor, it is advised to wait a further 24-48 hours before engaging in sexual activity to ensure all symptoms have cleared and all traces of boric acid have been flushed from the vagina.
Web MD – Bacterial Vaginosis - https://www.webmd.com/women/what-is-bacterial-vaginosis
National Library of Medicine – Boric Acid - https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Boric-acid
Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology - The Female Vaginal Microbiome in Health and Bacterial Vaginosis - https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcimb.2021.631972/full
Journal of The American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association - Boric Acid Addition to Suppressive Antimicrobial Therapy for Recurrent Bacterial Vaginosis - https://journals.lww.com/stdjournal/Fulltext/2009/11000/Boric_Acid_Addition_to_Suppressive_Antimicrobial.13.aspx
National Center for Biotechnology Information – Clinicians' use of Intravaginal Boric Acid Maintenance Therapy for Recurrent Vulvovaginal Candidiasis and Bacterial Vaginosis - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6878170/