Boric acid can be an effective way to treat vaginitis. Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina caused by bacteria, yeast, parasites or viruses. Candida, a yeast-like fungus, is responsible for 40 percent of all types of vaginitis, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Boric acid is an odorless, crystalline powder available over the counter and primarily used as a topical antiseptic or a suppository. In addition, boric acid is used to treat ear infections, cold sores and eye problems.
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Boric acid is available in gel capsule form at pharmacies and health food stores. The dosage for vaginitis is one 600 mg capsule of boric acid inserted intravaginally every evening for 10 to 14 days, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Exactly how boric acid works in the treatment of vaginitis is still undetermined, according to a 1998 Medical College of South Carolina study published in the journal Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology. "It has been suggested that the fungistatic activity may be mediated by vaginal acidification, resulting in fungal cell wall penetration and disruption of the fungal cell membrane.5," the researchers wrote. "Conversely, studies evaluating the minimum inhibitory concentration of boric acid indicate that boric acid works at a pH similar to that of the untreated vaginal tract, and, therefore, the action may not be simply due to an increase in acidity."
The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that although side effects are rare, boric acid may cause vaginal burning and itching. But if boric acid enters the bloodstream through a cut, the potential for side effects including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dermatitis and kidney damage increases.
A study done in 1991 by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecologygy at New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center concluded that boric acid is an effective treatment for vaginitis. "Boric acid was effective in curing 98 percent of the patients who had previously failed to respond to the most commonly used anti-fungal agents and was clearly indicated as the treatment of choice for prophylaxis," the researchers wrote.
Boric acid is an alternative treatment for vaginitis and should not be a substitute for medical treatment; consult your health-care professional to discuss potential risks. Boric acid is not for oral use; do not take it by mouth. During topical administration, avoid getting boric acid near cuts or open wounds. Studies of boric acid in higher dosages and for prolonged periods have not been done. In addition, boric acid is not intended for pregnant women or children.