Boric acid, a natural alternative treatment, is frequently prescribed by health practitioners to treat various conditions associated with the female reproductive system.
So, what is this alternative treatment, what does it treat, and are there any side effects? Read on to learn all about the origins of Boric acid, what it can help you with, and how to use it.
What is Boric Acid?
Also medically referred to as hydrogen borate or boracic acid, boric acid is a water-soluble white compound that consists of oxygen, hydrogen, and boron. Boron is a naturally occurring mineral found in the earth, as well as in certain foods like leafy green vegetables, prunes, noncitric fruits, and nuts.
When combined with oxygen and hydrogen, it forms boric acid - a weak, refined acid that has been used for centuries for its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties.
Used by the ancient Greeks to treat cuts, scratches, and burns as an antiseptic, boric acid was also traditionally used to treat conditions related to female reproductive health, specifically to maintain pH levels in the vagina which kept infections and irritation at bay.
What Female Conditions Is Boric Acid Good For?
Due to its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, boric acid suppositories are used as an alternative treatment for conditions like Bacterial Vaginosis (BV), Yeast Infections, and a sexually transmitted infection called Trichomoniasis.
Some women prefer to use boric acid suppositories in conjunction with antibiotics for these types of infections, while women who react to antibiotics, have built up a resistance to them, or prefer to avoid them are also finding relief from using solely boric acid suppositories.
How Do Boric Acid Suppositories Help Bacterial Vaginosis?
An infection of the vagina, caused by an overgrowth of harmful bacteria, BV can throw the natural pH levels of the vagina off balance. Incredibly uncomfortable for some, BV can result in a burning sensation while peeing, itching of the vulva, and a grey vaginal discharge accompanied by an unpleasant or fishy odor. However, BV can be completely symptomless for others.
Research has revealed that it is more prevalent in women aged 15-44, however, it is also noted that women of any age can be affected by BV. Activities such as unprotected sex, smoking, and douching are thought to increase the risk of infection.
And unfortunately, over 50% of women who experience BV will often be confronted by a recurring infection within 12 months.
To minimize the uncomfortable symptoms of BV and recurring infections, women’s health experts like Intimate Rose recommend taking boric acid suppositories as a regular supplement to keep vaginal pH levels balanced.
In addition, for good vaginal hygiene, it is advised that women wash the genitals with warm water, unscented soap, and a clean washcloth every day; always use condoms with new sexual partners, replace synthetic underwear with breathable cotton undies, consider a regular probiotic, and quit smoking.
How Do Boric Acid Suppositories Help Yeast Infections?
Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of yeast or candida in the vagina resulting in a swollen and itchy vulva, a burning sensation when urinating, discomfort during intercourse, and a lumpy vaginal discharge that resembles cottage cheese.
While the fungus candida is always present in the microflora of the vagina, increased growth of it can cause the pH levels to become imbalanced allowing an infection to thrive. Although it is not considered a sexually transmitted infection, the risk of yeast infections is believed to increase with multiple sexual partners.
Typical medical treatment for a yeast infection is to use a topical over-the-counter antifungal cream, however, boric acid suppositories are gaining much popularity as an alternative option in treating this condition. Especially for women who experience multiple recurring infections despite using topical creams.
Can Boric Acid Suppositories Treat Trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis, which is also referred to as trich, is caused by a parasite known as Trichomonas Vaginalis (TV). More common in women than in men, over one million American women are diagnosed with trich between the ages of 14 and 49 each year.
Some people erroneously believe that trichomoniasis is contracted by having several sexual partners, however, trich can just as easily be passed on from one partner who is completely unaware that they have the condition.
Trich cannot, however, be passed on through oral or anal sex. Neither can it be contracted from toilet seats, sharing the same cutlery, kissing, or hugging.
Women with trich experience symptoms such as vaginal spotting or light bleeding, vaginal itching, redness, and swelling, as well as a frequent need to pee that is accompanied by a burning sensation. Trich can also result in a grey, yellow, or green vaginal discharge that has an unpleasant odor.
Trich cannot be cured without treatment and generally needs a course of antibiotics. More recently, female health practitioners are also recommending boric acid suppositories as an additional or sometimes alternative treatment, depending on the patient and their resistance to antibiotics.
Boric Acid Suppositories – How to Insert Them?
Once you have cleared the use of boric acid suppositories with your healthcare practitioner and understand the correct dose for you, read the instructions carefully and find yourself a private and calm place in your house for insertion.
- Remember to wash your hands before removing the suppository from the packaging.
- Lie back, either on your bed or your couch, and bend your knees to relax the vaginal muscles.
- Using your fingers, gently insert the suppository into your vagina, as far as feels comfortable.
- Once you’re done, thoroughly wash your hands.
It is recommended that the suppository is inserted at the same time every day. Due to some watery discharge that can be experienced by some women after insertion, it can be convenient to slip in your suppositories just before bedtime.
Alternatively, wearing a panty liner if you insert them during the day, will protect clothing from any leakage.
How Soon Do Boric Acid Suppositories Work?
The capsules themselves will dissolve in the vagina within a few minutes and vaginal irritation usually improves within a day or two. As with medical treatments, it is recommended to finish a prescribed course of boric acid to prevent a recurring infection.
Alternatively, women who suffer from recurring BV or yeast infections should speak with their healthcare practitioner about a sustained and regular use of boric acid.
Are There Side Effects to Taking Boric Acid Suppositories?
Two key things that all healthcare practitioners highlight when recommending boric acid suppositories is that pregnant women should never use them and if ingested orally, they are known to be poisonous.
That aside, there are no severe side effects associated with boric acid suppositories when used correctly, although treatments can affect different people in different ways.
Milder side effects include a watery discharge for some women, however, inserting the capsules at night appears to solve this. A burning sensation or some redness at the vaginal opening can also occur as a reaction for some.
Should you experience any discomfort, side effects, or burning around the vaginal opening, stop taking the suppositories and speak with your healthcare practitioner for guidance.
Used for centuries by the ancient Greeks as a natural antiseptic and antimicrobial, boric acid is more recently gaining popularity as an alternative treatment for conditions like BV, yeast infections, and trichomoniasis.
With little to no serious side effects, it can be taken in conjunction with antibiotics, or on an ongoing basis in suppository form for women who experience regular vaginal infections.
If you are considering taking a boric acid suppository, make an appointment to speak with your health practitioner first t understand the correct dosage and guidelines, as well as to check that it would not react with any other medications you might be taking.
Cleveland Clinic – Boric Acid Suppository - https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/drugs/19641-boric-acid-vaginal-suppository
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/
Mayo Clinic – Vaginal Yeast Infection - https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/yeast-infection/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20379004
Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy - Antifungal mechanisms supporting boric acid therapy of Candida vaginitis - https://academic.oup.com/jac/article/63/2/325/711176
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention – Trichomonasias Statistics - https://www.cdc.gov/std/trichomonas/stats.htm