Boric Acid Vaginal Capsules for Yeast Infections and Bacterial Vaginosis
Females often face what seems to be an unfair share of health concerns that come along with just being a woman. From menopause to endometriosis, some of those health concerns and bodily changes can be life-changing. However, some very common, everyday health concerns faced by many women are just as frustrating. Yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis (BV) are two perfect examples.
Odd discharge, strange odors, and itching or burning—neither yeast infections nor BV are good situations. Nevertheless, both conditions are treatable, even though some women have more concurrent issues with these conditions than others. Boric acid may be a viable option for both conditions.
By looking at the symptoms at surface level and what a woman may complain about, BV and a yeast infection can look like the same condition. However, while similar, the two conditions are definitely not the same. In short, a yeast infection is a fungal infection, while BV is a bacterial infection. When candida, a yeast-type of fungus that lives on the skin, gets out of hand, a yeast infection develops. On the other hand, BV is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria that lives in your vagina.
A yeast infection, which is also known as candidiasis, develops when the candida fungus experiences an overgrowth in the vagina. Vaginal candidiasis is the second most common type of infection that can affect the vagina, second only to BV. These infections result in at least 1.4 million doctor's visits annually, and 75 percent of women experience this type of infection at least once in their lifetime.
Symptoms of Vaginal Yeast Infections
The symptoms of a yeast infection are usually readily recognized. This type of infection almost always brings about a telltale collection of symptoms, such as:
Pain or burning during urination
Vaginal burning and itching
Swelling and redness around the vaginal opening
Cottage cheese-like discharge that has a thick consistency and white color
Pain or burning during sex
Causes of Yeast Infections
As noted, vaginal candidiasis occurs when the naturally present candida fungus overgrows. So, the question becomes, why does this happen? Usually, something sends the production of the yeast into overdrive. This could be something as simple as taking antibiotics or something as complex as a hormonal shift. Yeast infections are often related to high blood sugar, birth control, hormone therapy, and pregnancy. While yeast infections are not sexually transmitted, they can sometimes also develop due to sexual activity.
Bacterial vaginosis occurs when the vaginal pH shifts and bacteria that naturally live within the vagina go into overdrive. BV is the most common vaginal infection among women, specifically between the ages of 15 and 44. Some estimates state that one in three women in America will have BV at some point in their life.
Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis
About 50 percent of women who have BV don't present with recognized symptoms. However, the symptoms, when noticed, can be similar to a yeast infection.
An unusual fishy odor; often stronger after sex or during your period
Burning while urinating
More fluid discharge with a yellow, green, or even gray hue
Causes of BV
The precise cause of BV is not always known. The underlying action is an overgrowth of one of the types of bacteria that is always in the vagina; Gardnerella vaginalis bacteria is thought to be the most common culprit. This occurs when something throws the natural pH of the vagina out of kilter, which can be from a number of things. Hormonal changes related to menstruation or pregnancy, excessive cleansing using douche or other products, or even intercourse with a new partner can trigger a pH imbalance and bacterial overgrowth. Some research suggests that sexual activity can be a contributing factor, especially among women with multiple partners.
Luckily, both yeast infections and BV are treatable conditions, sometimes even with over-the-counter medicines. However, BV can be harder to treat, and some women can have ongoing problems with either condition even after what seems to be an effective treatment.
BV responds best to prescription treatment with either orally taken metronidazole or a suppository cream like clindamycin. Both of these medications are a type of antibiotic. For many women, these antibiotics can be effective for clearing up symptoms. However, you should also refrain from intercourse, using tampons, sex toys, or even menstrual cups during treatment to prevent introducing new bacteria to the vaginal environment during treatment. BV is well-known for recurring within a year and is especially recurrent if a woman does not seek treatment or does not take a full round of antibiotics.
Yeast infections are most commonly treated with suppository creams like miconazole, which you can buy over the counter. These cream suppositories have to be vaginally inserted for a period of several days until fungal levels return to a more normal state. In severe cases, a prescription-strength suppository or even oral fluconazole may be required. Just as it is with BV, women with candidiasis should avoid sex toys, menstrual cups, and tampons, and vaginal intercourse should be avoided.
Boric acid, which is scientifically a monobasic acid of boron, may be suitable for treating both yeast infections and BV in a more natural way, without the use of antibiotics. The acid itself is actually a compound made up of oxygen, hydrogen, and boron. Boric acid is often known for its household uses, such as controlling pests and certain types of mold. You can actually find more than 500 household products that contain boric acid.
What Is Boric Acid Used for in Medicine?
Boric acid has several properties that make it valuable for medicinal purposes. For one, the acid acts as an antiseptic. Further, boric acid is a natural neutron absorber, so it can be used as a precursor for other chemical formulations. However, this unique compound also has both antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Because of the antibacterial and antifungal properties of boric acid, the compound may be effective for both a yeast infection and BV. How these actions occur is not clearly understood, but a wealth of research has shown the acid to inhibit candida formation and stop fungal growth. Likewise, boric acid seems to improve the levels of bacteria that can be related to BV.
A review of 14 studies published in The Journal of Women's Health found that women treated with vaginal boric acid pills for candidiasis experienced between 40 and 100 percent cure rates. It was further noted that boric acid could be a good treatment option for women when conventional treatments failed. In one study examined in this review, women used 600mg intravaginal boric acid gelatin capsules. Up to 92 percent cure rates were observed at the 7 to 10-day mark during the study.
BV, which can be caused by a few different types of vaginal bacteria, also responds well to boric acid treatment. Research has shown the boric acid treatment to be effective against Torulopsis glabrata and other bacteria. For women with recurrent BV, boric acid was shown to be as much as 92 percent effective when combined with vaginal metronidazole gel.
One reason boric acid treatment may be desirable for the treatment of yeast infections and BV is the lack of adverse side effects. Very few side effects have been observed in the studies that have been performed, and those side effects that have been observed have been relatively easy to deal with. Some of the side effects can include:
Slight vaginal burning
Gritty sensations during vaginal intercourse
By contrast, some of the common routes of treatment for either candidiasis or BV can have much more noticeable side effects, and sometimes long-term effects on your overall health. For example, systematic antibiotics used in the treatment of BV can disrupt healthy bacteria levels throughout the body and increase the likelihood of antibiotic resistance.
Taking care of your vaginal health as a woman can sometimes mean tackling some pretty common conditions. BV and yeast infections are generally considered mild and common, but the symptoms can still be disruptive to your quality of life and intimacy with your partner. If you have been struggling with recurrent yeast infections or BV, boric acid pills may be something to consider. Reach out to us at Harbor Compounding Pharmacy to find out how we can formulate boric acid solutions to help you.