A great thing about the internet is how quickly we can find new information, and how we are easily able to share information with others. An equally not-so-great thing about the internet is that anyone can share anything as if it’s fact and a bunch of people can see it. Recently I’ve seen a lot of stuff online and on social media about using boric acid suppositories to balance your vaginal pH and treat vaginal infections. Although I think sharing knowledge about vaginal health is super important and is a conversation that should happen more often, telling people on the internet to put medicine inside their vagina without consulting their doctor is not a good idea.
What are boric acid suppositories?
Boric acid is a weak acid that has traditionally been used as an antiseptic to treat cuts and burns. Because it is acidic, it can also be used to help maintain a healthy vaginal pH. Your vagina has a natural pH balance between 3.8 and 4.5 and is naturally acidic. This pH can be thrown off pretty easily, however. Your menstrual cycle, a new sexual partner, unprotected sex, condoms, and scented soap or laundry detergent can all throw off your vaginal pH. Most of the time, our vaginas are able to adjust back to homeostasis, but if things get thrown off too much, that’s when an infection occurs.
Boric acid suppositories can be used to treat yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and trichomoniasis (an STD). Yeast infections are usually treated with antifungal medication that can be taken orally or inserted into the vagina. Bacterial vaginosis or BV is usually treated with an oral antibiotic. Trichomoniasis is also treated with an oral antibiotic. Basically, boric acid suppositories have worked for some people as additional or alternative treatments for these infections, however, the evidence is not strong enough to say that this is a great treatment for anyone.
When to ask your doctor about treatment
If you have lingering symptoms of a vaginal infection even after your initial treatment plan has been executed, ask your doctor before using boric acid suppositories! Putting a foreign substance into your vagina can be risky, so it is imperative you consult with your doctor to make sure it is safe for you to do so. Boric acid is available over the counter, whereas these other treatment options are not, so I assume that’s why it has gained popularity online. If your body responds positively to the suppositories, it can help alleviate symptoms of your infection and restore your pH. Side effects include burning at the vaginal opening, watery discharge, and redness around the labia and vagina. You cannot use boric acid suppositories if you are pregnant, as it is fatal for the fetus. It will also irritate any tears or wounds in the skin around or in the vagina. Finally, boric acid should never be ingested orally, as it is poisonous.
If you want to try boric acid suppositories as an over-the-counter treatment for yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, or trichomoniasis, please, please consult your doctor first. Do not put any medication into your vagina without talking it through with your doctor.