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Does boric acid help with a yeast infection?
- Boric acid is a naturally occurring compound with antifungal and antimicrobial properties.
- Boric acid suppositories are a safe and effective way to treat vaginal yeast infections.
- Boric acid is available in gelatin capsules that can be inserted into the vagina to stop the growth of yeast.
- Within a few days of starting treatment, you may notice improvements in symptoms. Typically, the infection will clear within 1 to 2 weeks.
If you have recurrent or chronic yeast infections, boric acid may be a treatment worth investigating. Boric acid has been used to treat vaginal infections for over 100 years.
Not only is it antiviral and antifungal, but it also works to treat both Candida albicans and the more resistant Candida glabrata yeast strains.
Boric acid is available over the counter and can be placed inside gelatin capsules that you insert into your vagina.
Keep reading to learn more about this safe and affordable treatment method.
Boric acid is a water-soluble compound containing oxygen, boron, and hydrogen. It’s a white substance that comes in powder or crystal form.
Researchers believe boric acid has antifungal and antibacterial properties.
They found 14 studies in total — two randomized clinical trials, nine case series, and four case reports. Cure rates involving the use of boric acid varied between 40% and 100%, and none of the studies reported major differences in yeast infection recurrence rates.
The researchers concluded that with all the available research, boric acid is a safe alternative to other treatments. It’s also an affordable alternative to more conventional treatments that may not target the non-albicans or azole-resistant strains of yeast.
Usage recommendations vary among the studies. A
Before you try boric acid suppositories, make an appointment with your healthcare professional to get a diagnosis. They can also offer guidance on how to use boric acid suppositories and other alternative remedies.
You can shop for premade boric acid suppositories at most drugstores or online.
Popular brands include:
Simply scoop or funnel the powder into the capsule. Use a dinner knife to remove any excess powder from the top and close the capsule tightly.
To insert the suppository:
- Wash your hands thoroughly before taking the capsule out of the package.
- Although you can insert the suppository at any angle, many people find it helpful to lie on their back with bent knees. You can also stand with your knees bent and your feet a few inches apart.
- Gently insert one suppository as far as it can comfortably go into your vagina. You may use your finger or use the type of applicator that comes with anti-thrush treatments.
- If applicable, remove the applicator and throw it away.
- Consider wearing a panty liner, as there may be discharge after you insert the suppository.
- Wash your hands before resuming your daily activities.
Be sure to insert the suppository at the same time each day. You may find that bedtime works best for your schedule.
Here are some other tips:
- You may see some improvement in as little as one day, but it’s important to complete the full course of medication to ensure that the infection doesn’t return.
- If you have an acute infection, consider inserting capsules twice daily into the vagina for 7 to 14 days.
- If you experience chronic or recurring infections, consider using one suppository each day.
- In all cases, contact your healthcare professional for help with dosage, frequency, and other concerns.
Although boric acid suppositories are generally safe for adults,
Side effects may include:
- burning at the insertion site
- watery discharge
- redness in the vaginal area
If you experience severe discomfort, discontinue use. See your healthcare professional if your symptoms persist even after ending treatment.
Don’t use boric acid suppositories if:
- you’re pregnant, as the ingredients are toxic to the developing fetus
- you have a scrape or other open wound in the vagina
Boric acid is toxic when taken orally, so it should only be used via a vaginal suppository.
Boric acid is particularly effective against yeast infections caused by Candida glabrata. There are other options available, like topical flucytosine (Ancobon), that also target this more resistant yeast.
Ancobon can be used alone or in combination with the suppositories. In a
Ancobon and other antifungal medications require a prescription. Talk with your healthcare professional about this and other treatment options.
Taking good care of your immune system and practicing proper hygiene habits may help prevent yeast infections. Try these tips to help reduce your risk of getting a yeast infection:
- Take a probiotic supplement or eat probiotic foods.
- Eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet.
- Wear breathable, loose clothing.
- Avoid douching or washing with harsh soaps.
- Wash regularly with mild soap and warm water.
- Don’t sit in wet clothes.
- Limit time in hot tubs and hot baths.
- Manage diabetes and other health conditions.
If you’ve never had a yeast infection, it’s best to schedule a visit with your healthcare professional to confirm your symptoms are caused by a yeast infection. Other conditions like bacterial vaginosis and some sexually transmitted infections can cause similar symptoms.
Often, mild yeast infections can be treated with over-the-counter medications. However, if symptoms don’t improve within 7 to 10 days after treatment ends or the infection returns, it’s best to contact your healthcare professional.
How long does it take for boric acid to treat a yeast infection?
Boric acid should clear a yeast infection completely within 1 to 2 weeks of treatment. You’ll likely notice symptoms improving within a couple of days of starting treatment.
Can boric acid be used as a preventive against yeast infections?
Some doctors may recommend using boric acid to prevent recurrent yeast infections. They may recommend inserting a boric acid suppository once or twice weekly for 3 to 4 months to prevent yeast infections.
Who should avoid using boric acid?
Avoid using boric acid suppositories if you have any open wounds, sores, or ulcers in your vaginal area. Boric acid can be toxic if ingested or put on open wounds. In addition, avoid using boric acid suppositories if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you’ve had multiple yeast infections or if your current infection has been lingering, boric acid suppositories may be just the thing to help clear up the infection.
Talk with your healthcare professional about this treatment option and how it might help you.