It sounds dangerous, but it’s actually chill.
By now, you hopefully know that there’s a litany of things you should never put in your vagina (including a wasp’s nest and VapoRub). Boric acid sounds also sounds like something you really should not put in your vagina, but as it turns out, it might actually be useful.
Boric acid has a lot of industrial uses. It’s used in making fiberglass, reducing surface oxidation in jewelry, to make LCD screens for TVs, and in the creation of Silly Putty. However, when it’s diluted, boric acid can also be used to treat bacterial vaginosis, which is a build up of bacteria in the vagina, caused by sex, douching, and other things that can change the balance of bacteria. You might not have any symptoms of the condition, or you might experience itching, odor, or vaginal discharge. Boric acid is also helpful in the treatment of yeast infections.
“If someone told you to put a common pesticide and flame retardant inside your body, you’d think they were crazy,” said Caleb Backe, a Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics. Using boric acid to treat vaginal infections involves little to no side effects, and promotes healthy bacterial growth, maintaining healthy pH levels, which can help you avoid developing further infections. “Boric acid suppositories have proven to be one of the best short-term treatment options for vaginal yeast infections.”
There are studies backing up the efficacy of boric acid. Dr. Michael Unger, a board-certified in Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery and an expert in recurrent vaginal infections, prescribes 600 mg of boric acid to patients dealing with yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. He cited 2013 research which looked at recurrent yeast infections and deduced that boric acid worked as well as diflucan (fluconazole), the antifungal medication used to treat yeast infections. Another study, done in 2014, also showed that boric acid was more effective at treating trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection caused by a parasite.
In a recent edition of journalist Ann Friedman’s email newsletter, reader Kelsey G. enthusiastically endorsed boric acid vaginal suppositories. “Pop one in post-coitus or a couple times a week at bedtime to keep your pH balanced and your vagina healthy! You can make your own or get these ones from BoriCap.” BoriCap, a woman owned company, ships boric acid suppositories and provides information on their website about how to use them.
Lauren Steinberg, the founder of QueenV, a feminine wellness brand, struggled with chronic yeast infections regularly and felt like she’d tried every solution, only to have them work for a brief period of time before the infection returned. Frustrated, she started doing her own research and learned about boric acid. She then invented “The Eraser,” a homeopathic treatment for yeast infections which contains boric acid.
“Many internal and external factors can throw off your vaginal pH, so it’s important to always read the labels of the products you are using and always ask your gynecologist before trying something new” said Steinberg. “Look for key works like “pH balanced” and “all natural” when buying a new product. If you’re like me, and have found that other products on the market just don’t seem to treat your yeast infection symptoms properly, you should try boric acid after consulting your gynecologist.”
Women’s health expert and compounding pharmacist (that’s a pharmacist who creates personalized medications) Irene Stronczak-Hogan recommends boric acid vaginal caps for folks with both acute (short and intense) and chronic yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. They’re not only safe, she said, but they’re available without a prescription. She prescribes one suppository, inserted into the vagina, twice a day for 3-7 days, for an acute infection, and twice a day for 2-4 weeks for a persistent infections. After that, you should use one day during the next 4 menstrual cycles, but only when bleeding. For people who don’t menstruate, said Stronczak-Hogan, you should use them once a month for 5 days. To treat bacterial vaginosis, you should do whatever prescription therapy you have first, and then use the suppositories for 7- 14 days.
In addition to the suppositories, Stronczak-Hogan also recommends using probiotics that are specifically formulated for vaginal health, containing a lactobacillus strain at a dose of at least 15 billion. Lactobacillus bacteria is “friendly” – it lives in our digestive and urinary systems, as well as in our genitals, and doesn’t cause disease. You can also find it in yogurt and dietary supplements. People who are pregnant should not use boric acid, said Stronczak-Hogan.