We admit, phrase “boric acid vaginal suppositories” sounds a lot scarier than it actually is. And to get it out of the way, the “acid” in boric acid won’t burn you. Boric acid can actually be beneficial for your body because on a pH scale of 1 to 14, your vagina is naturally acidic. So if your bacteria levels fluctuate and change your pH, things like boric acid can help to re-stabilize everything — and to make it all that much more simple, the insertion process isn’t all that different from a tampon, menstrual cup, or menstrual disc.
What Are Boric Acid Suppositories?
Boric acid is well known for helping to maintain and stabilize your vagina’s pH balance as well as having anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties. A healthy and balanced vagina has a pH of around 4 (the same level as tomato juice!), meaning that it is naturally acidic. An acidic environment allows your body to help protect itself from pathogens.
Like its name suggests, boric acid suppositories are often found in the form of a capsule and may come with a special applicator to help you insert it into your vagina. You do not need a prescription. Boric acid capsules are affordable and can be easily purchased online or found in the wellness aisle of your local CVS, Walgreens, or other pharmacy.
A few of the brands we’ve seen most recommended in our Facebook support group are below:
- PH-D Boric Acid Suppositories
- NutraBlast Boric Acid Vaginal Suppositories
- AZO Boric Acid Vaginal Suppositories
What Are Boric Acid Vaginal Suppositories Typically Recommended For?
Boric acid vaginal suppositories are often recommended for vaginal yeast infections but have also grown in popularity as a treatment for bacterial vaginosis thanks to boric acid’s ability to help prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria and yeast in the vagina. Although boric acid is shown to help treat yeast infections not caused by Candida albicans, the same can’t easily be said about Bacterial Vaginosis (BV).
Boric acid suppositories are for vaginal use only — absolutely not for oral consumption. Though instructions may vary, the typical process of using these suppositories is to insert a single 600mg capsule into the vagina at bedtime for 7-14 days depending on severity of symptoms and how long they persist.
Are Boric Acid Suppositories Safe?
Boric acid suppositories are labeled as a holistic way to manage vaginal odor and to help balance yeast and bacteria in the vaginal area. You’ll often find them placed among other yeast infection treatments, as it may help to improve symptoms associated with yeast infections and BV. These products are also clearly labeled to note that these statements “have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition.”
While boric acid has many purported benefits, boric acid vaginal suppositories are still considered to be an alternative method/holistic solution for treating BV and are an alternative to commonly prescribed medications like Clindamycin or Tinidazole, or an antifungal cream like Metronidazole (or Metrogel-Vaginal).
While this vaginal boric acid treatment is available without a prescription we always recommend discussing any new treatment option with a trusted healthcare professional before starting. (Check the back of your insurance card – nurse lines are often available 24/7!)
Lastly, while considered safe there are possible mild side effects, including: mild vaginal discomfort, hives, and/or watery vaginal discharge. Of course, if you experience any sort of allergic reaction, seek medical help immediately.
Are Boric Acid Vaginal Suppositories the Best Way to Treat Bacterial Vaginosis?
Unfortunately, the root cause of BV is still unknown, but it occurs when the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted. More specifically, it’s when anaerobic bacteria (the “harmful” bacteria) outnumbers lactobacilli bacteria (the “good” bacteria).
Bacterial Vaginosis does not always appear with symptoms, but if you do experience symptoms you may feel a burning sensation when you pee, itching or pain in and around the outside of your vagina, gray or thin white vaginal discharge, or a strong fish-like smell. If any of these occur, you should make an appointment with your doctor to test for the presence of BV. You can also complete an at-home vaginal pH swab test to see if your pH balance has altered and could be a sign of BV.
As an easy to access over the counter alternative method for treating bacterial vaginosis, boric acid vaginal suppositories may work for you. But they also may not be the right answer for your specific circumstance. If you do decide to try them and they work for you, great! It’s a low cost method and, as already discussed, the potential side effects are quite minimal.
Boric acid vaginal suppositories are generally safe to use (even if it turns out you didn’t need them). But if you use them and don’t see results within seven days please make sure to talk with your doctor as you may need to use something else or there could be another cause for your discomfort and symptoms.
What You Should Know About Bacterial Vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal condition in those between the ages of 15 and 44 and is easily treatable. Avoiding upsetting the normal balance of bacteria in your vagina is the best way to steer clear of BV. Not using condoms and douching, for example, can both upset your natural balance.
BV is not an STD, but it can appear as a result of an imbalance between the “good” and “harmful” bacteria in your vagina. While the cause is still unknown, what researchers do know is that you can not get BV from swimming pools, toilet seats, or by sharing bedding. Although BV rarely occurs in those who have not yet had sex, it is still possible. If you are having sex, BV can increase your chances of getting an STD by altering your natural pH balance. Bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy can lead to a premature birth, so it’s paramount that you treat it immediately.
It’s also important to note that as long as you are regularly cleaning your menstrual cup, disc, or other reusable period product, you will not experience any increased risk for bacterial vaginosis. Your menstrual cup may actually help you determine if you have BV or not. If you notice an unusually strong odor coming from your cup when you handle it, and that smell is difficult to remove, then that may be an indicator of bacterial vaginosis.
That being said, to minimize risk, always be sure not to keep your menstrual cup, disc, or other internal menstrual product in place longer than the recommended amount of time and follow best washing practices.
Boric Acid Vaginal Suppositories – The Bottom Line
As an over the counter alternative method for treating yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis, it can be hard to know if boric acid vaginal suppositories are right for you. This is why we recommend talking with a trusted healthcare provider before trying any alternative method – and definitely talk to them if you’ve been using boric acid vaginal suppositories and you haven’t seen any improvement.
Still have questions about boric acid vaginal suppositories or looking for more general information about menstrual cups? Feel free to browse through our frequently asked questions page or check out our blog for other resources and guides to sustainable period products.