Boric Acid Suppositories for Vaginal Health

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Boric acid suppositories are a cost-effective alternative treatment method that may be used to treat vaginal infections, such as yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis.

They may be prescribed by your healthcare provider as an alternative or adjunct treatment option if other methods, such as antibiotics, aren't helping or if infections are recurring. They are also available over-the-counter.

This article discusses what boric acid suppositories may be used to treat. It will also cover benefits and risks associated with using them.

Boric acid suppositories are not FDA-approved. It's important to speak with your healthcare provider before using them to treat any vaginal infection.

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Benefits of Boric Acid Suppositories

Boric acid may help improve vaginal health and has been shown to have anti-microbial and anti-fungal activity.

Research suggests that when used appropriately, boric acid suppositories can help reduce the risk of recurrent infections. At times, boric acid suppositories work more effectively than traditional medications, like some antifungals, which are used for treating yeast infections.

Boric acid may be recommended in some cases for:

Boric Acid for Yeast Infections

There is reasonably good evidence for the use of boric acid suppositories to treat yeast infections. That is particularly true for people whose yeast infections are not caused by Candida albicans, the usual culprit for yeast infections.

A review of studies found that:

  • Boric acid did a reasonable job of eliminating such non-albicans infections and was able to cure between 40% and 100% of such yeast infections.
  • The treatment was generally considered safe with only mild side effects.
  • Yeast infections were no more likely to recur after boric acid treatment than after the use of standard antifungal drugs, such as miconazole.

Yeast infections are a common vaginal health condition that can lead to symptoms like vaginal itching, redness, and discharge. Vaginal colonization by Candida, the most common form of yeast associated with vaginal infections, is estimated at 20%. This number goes up in late pregnancy as well as in people who are immunosuppressed, such as those with advanced HIV.

A healthy vagina is naturally acidic which reduces the growth of many pathogens, like those commonly associated with sexually transmitted infections. When the pH is disrupted, you may be more prone to vaginal infections and irritation.

Boric Acid for Trichomoniasis

There is some evidence that boric acid suppositories can be used to treat trichmoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection caused by Trichomonas vaginalis. However, there isn't a lot of research and studies tend to be small.

That said, laboratory-based studies have shown that boric acid can effectively inhibit the growth of trichomonas. This supports the idea that boric acid may be an appropriate treatment option for this condition.

Trichomonas has difficulty growing in acidic environments in lab settings, and infections have been shown to occur more frequently in people who have a higher than healthy vaginal pH. If your infection has been difficult to treat, it may be worth discussing boric acid suppositories with your healthcare provider.

Just be aware that sexual partners need to be treated for trichomoniasis as well, and you should practice safe sex until treatment has been successful. Otherwise, there is a risk that you could pass an infection back and forth.

Boric Acid for Bacterial Vaginosis

There is little evidence for the use of boric acid to treat bacterial vaginosis (BV), a condition that occurs when there is an imbalance in the vaginal flora. However, small studies suggest that it can be an effective treatment when used alone or as an adjunct therapy.

In a study, about 77% of participants reported feeling satisfied with how their symptoms resolved, however, the average treatment time was a little over a year.

BV is not generally thought of as a sexually transmitted infection. However, it and other forms of non-infectious vaginitis (such as yeast vaginitis) may still be associated with sexual activity.

How to Use Boric Acid Suppositories

Before you use a boric acid suppository, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly. Use an applicator or your finger to insert one suppository into your vagina in the evening. Consider wearing a panty liner or washable period underwear as there may be discharge.

Typical treatment for a yeast infection includes leaving one suppository in overnight for seven days. For recurring infections, insert one suppository per evening for 14 days, then continue use for six months to a year twice a week.

How long you should use boric acid suppositories can vary and should always be discussed with your healthcare provider.

Side Effects and Risks

Using boric acid suppositories can come with risks. Always tell your healthcare provider about other medications and supplements you are taking, as these could interact with the suppository. Never take boric acid suppositories orally and don't use if you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant.

Side effects and risks associated with boric acid suppositories may include:

  • Vaginal irritation and burning
  • Medication leaking out and not fully absorbing
  • Harm to fetus
  • Toxic effects if too much is absorbed which can lead to kidney damage, circulatory system failure, and even death

A Word From Verywell

Alternative remedies range in quality. Some are heavily researched, well understood, and known to be effective. Others have no evidence behind them, just a lot of marketing dollars.

The quality of the evidence for the use of boric acid in vaginal health is moderate. There have been a number of human studies and in vitro studies showing its effectiveness.

The evidence has not always been consistent, but it is strong enough to suggest that boric acid treatment may be a safe, reasonable option for treating some vaginal health problems. In particular, it may be worth consulting with your healthcare provider about trying boric acid suppositories when standard yeast, BV, and trichomoniasis treatments have failed.

10 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Elizabeth Boskey, PhD
Elizabeth Boskey, PhD, MPH, CHES, is a social worker, adjunct lecturer, and expert writer in the field of sexually transmitted diseases.