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Boric Acid for Vaginal Yeast Infection

Topic Overview

Boric acid is a white, crystalline chemical substance that has antifungal and antiviral properties. It is used in various prescription pharmaceutical products and is also available without a prescription. Some experts now recommend vaginal boric acid capsules as a treatment option for vaginal yeast infections, particularly infections that can't be cured by antifungal yeast infection medicines.1

If you are pregnant, do not use vaginal boric acid treatment.

How do I use boric acid?

You can make your own boric acid suppositories by filling size 0 gelatin capsules with boric acid (about 600 mg). Standard yeast infection treatment is one capsule inserted in the vagina at bedtime for 7 days. For treatment of recurring yeast infections, standard yeast infection treatment is done for two weeks, and then boric acid can be used twice a week for 6 months to 1 year.2

Is it effective?

More research is needed to find out how well boric acid works. Some studies have shown it cures up to 70 out of 100 women. Symptoms return in some women. Check with your doctor to see if you need to continue using boric acid over several months to relieve your symptoms.1

Is it safe?

When used in capsules as a vaginal suppository, boric acid is only known to sometimes cause skin irritation. But when used by mouth (internally), on open wounds, or by children, boric acid is toxic. Keep boric acid out of the reach of children. Boric acid is not safe to use if you are pregnant.

References

Citations

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010). Vulvovaginal candidiasis section of Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines 2010. MMWR, 59(RR-12): 61–63. Also available online: http://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/2010/default.htm.
  2. Eckert LO, Lentz GM (2012). Infections of the lower and upper genital tracts: Vulva, vagina, cervix, toxic shock syndromes, endometriosis, and salpingitis. In GM Lentz et al., eds., Comprehensive Gynecology, 6th ed., pp. 519–559. Philadelphia: Mosby.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Deborah A. Penava, BA, MD, FRCSC, MPH - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised August 18, 2013

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