Should You Really Use Boric Acid to Treat a Vaginal Infection?

May 27, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. ET
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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 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 is also sometimes used to treat bacterial vaginosis, which is a buildup of bacteria in the vagina caused by sexdouching and other things that can change the balance of bacteria. You might not have any symptoms of the condition or you might experience itchingodor or vaginal discharge. Boric acid is also sometimes used to treat yeast infections. But what do doctors say about using boric acid to treat vaginal infections?

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Dr. Michael Unger, a board-certified specialist in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery and an expert in recurrent vaginal infections, prescribes 600 milligrams of boric acid to patients dealing with yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. He cited 2013 research published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, 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 and published in the Journal of the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association also showed that boric acid was more effective at treating trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection caused by a parasite.

Lauren Steinberg, the founder of Queen V, 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 that 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,” Steinberg said. “Look for key words 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.”

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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.

In addition to the suppositories, Stronczak-Hogan also recommends using probiotics that are specifically formulated for vaginal health — those containing a lactobacillus strain at a dose of at least 15 billion. Lactobacillus bacteria are “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. However, people who are pregnant should not use boric acid, according to Stronczak-Hogan.

So, is boric acid the right choice for you and your vagina? Maybe — but as with any other type of medical treatment, definitely check with your doctor before beginning anything new.

By Chanel Dubofsky

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