Many women have asked me about boric acid capsules for yeast infections. Boric acid capsules have proved effective as a home remedy for yeast infection for some women and are recommended by some doctors but do be aware of the toxic effect they can have if used incorrectly. DON'T leave them lying about for the kids or pets to get into!
It is considered safe when used vaginally at a doseage of 600mg a day for 14 days.2 Some women will experience a burning sensation with use. It has been trialled against standard yeast infection treatments and has proved just as good.1
NOTE: The FDA ruling on the use of boric acid as an antifungal is "there are inadequate data to establish general recognition of the safety and effectiveness of these ingredients for the specified uses".
For the genuine thing, you really have only two choices nowadays — do-it-yourself or get it on a doctor's script.
You don't need a capsule filling machine (although some people swear by them) - you can tip the powder in by using a paper with a sharp crease in it or use the tip of a knife or something similar to put the boric acid into the capsule. Some women find they can simply scoop the powder into the capsule.
You need the 00 (double zero) size capsule which depending on what powder is contained will hold between 540 to 1090mg. I understand that about 600mg of boric acid will fit in one of those "00" capsules. The treatment used in the studies I have seen is 600mg inserted into the vagina once a day for two weeks.
Then with either your finger or using the applicator that comes with some anti-thrush treatments insert the capsule as high as you can into the vagina. There will be a watery leakage so bedtime is best and use a panty liner.
Some women experience burning and stinging when using boric acid capsules as a vaginal suppository. Don't use if the skin is broken. If the area is inflamed and irritated then rub something like vitamin E oil or vaseline over the outer area to protect it before using the boric acid capsules. This helps remove the discomfort for some women.
Many doctors will write this as a prescription if you ask them. It will cost more but is easier if you don't want to fiddle about with filling your own capsules or the worries of somehow "getting it wrong."
There are ready made capsules such as Yeast Arrest, VH Essentials BV Treatment or the Gy-na-tren kit, but really, these are not a true boric acid capsule. They are homeopathic treatments and contain only a very small amount of boric acid - nothing like the 600mg used in successful medical studies.
If you live in the UK you can buy boric acid powder from your local chemist or the 00 empty capsules from your local UK Amazon.
BORIC ACID CAPSULES MUST NEVER BE TAKEN BY MOUTH.
It has proved especially effective for women with diabetes because many of the yeast infections they get are caused by Candida glabrata and Candida tropicalis, two yeast species that the conventional yeast treatments don't eliminate very well. In one study, diabetic women with vulvovaginal candidiasis (another name for yeast infection or vaginal thrush) where treated with either a single dose of 150mg fluconazole or boric acid given as vaginal suppositories (600mg a day for 14 days) and the boric acid suppositories gave the better result.2
The experiences of one doctor found that when boric acid was given as a 600mg vaginal suppository, twice daily for two weeks, and then daily during the woman's period, it was effective against "resistant infection". HOWEVER, "the use of boric acid is limited by significant local irritation and possibility of intoxication."3
According to this admittedly old study (1998), boric acid capsules are "generally well tolerated". Side effects were a burning sensation, a watery discharge and redness of the vulvovaginal area. One woman's partner described a "gritty" feeling during intercourse during the treatment period!4
Remember, these studies are all talking about inserting a boric acid capsule into the vagina. NEVER take it by mouth or use on broken skin. Evidence suggests that boric acid is not absorbed though healthy skin but can be absorbed if the skin is broken.
As usual, I'll finish with a plea that after treatment you introduce healthy probiotic bacteria into your vagina before all that empty real estate down there gets taken up by some other undesirable. An under-populated vagina is just like an empty inner city house - some one will very quickly take up residence - so make sure it's a bug you like! Try Fem-Dophilus, or any of the supplements that contain both Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC14 and eat plenty of live yogurt.
DO NOT USE BORIC ACID CAPSULES IF PREGNANT.
Taken incorrectly, boric acid is quickly and completely absorbed into your system and accumulates in the brain liver and kidneys. It is particularly toxic to the developing fetus.5
This is a poisonous powder that is used to kill ants and cockroaches. When taken by mouth or absorbed through broken skin it can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and dermatitis. If sufficient quantity is taken it can lead to kidney damage, acute failure of the circulatory system, and even death. It used to be used on babies with diaper rash but even when heavily diluted it caused poisoning and two deaths. One expert when so far as to say "the minor therapeutic value of this compound, in comparison with its potential as a poison, has led to the general recommendation that it no longer be used as a therapeutic agent."6
I'm not trying to scare you with this caution but I do get annoyed when I read some undoubtedly well meaning person on a forum singing the praises of boric acid without giving any warning of it toxicity.
To get it all in perspective, one study used boric acid vaginal capsules on 2,000 patients with no problems.4
Boric acid capsules use in the vagina against yeast infection can be very effective for some women - use it responsibly.
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1. Secondo Guaschino MD, Francesco De Seta MD, Andrea Sartore MD, Giuseppe Ricci MD, Davide De Santo MD, Monica Piccoli MD and Salvatore Alberico MD. Efficacy of maintenance therapy with topical boric acid in comparison with oral itraconazole in the treatment of recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Volume 184, Issue 4, March 2001, Pages 598-602.
2. Ray D, Goswami R, Banerjee U, Dadhwal V, Goswami D, Mandal P, Sreenivas V, Kochupillai N. Prevalence of Candida glabrata and its response to boric acid vaginal suppositories in comparison with oral fluconazole in patients with diabetes and vulvovaginal candidiasis. Diabetes Care. 2007 Feb;30(2):312-7.
3. Erika N Ringdahl. Treatment of recurrent vulvogainal candidiasis. American Family Physician, June 1st 2000.
4. Prutting SM, Cerveny JD. Boric Acid Vaginal Suppositories: A Brief Review. Infectious Diseases in Obstretics and Gynecology 6:191-194 (1998).
5. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Washington, DC. TOXICOLOGICAL REVIEW OF BORON AND COMPOUNDS
6. Penna RP, Corrigan LL, Welsh J, et al. Handbook of Nonprescription Drugs, 6th ed. Washington, DC: American Pharmaceutical Association, 1979, 424.