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How to Treat a Yeast Infection with Boric Acid

How to Treat a Yeast Infection with Boric Acid

I’m guessing that if you’re reading this post, you’ve had some lengthy struggles with yeast infections, otherwise inserting boric acid into your nether regions probably wouldn’t be high on your to-do list.  If so, I feel your pain and want to share my experience with boric acid, the only solution that worked for me (full instructions included below).

For most of my life I had blessedly few yeast infections, then I got pregnant and everything changed.  The infection started early in my first trimester and continued on and off (but mostly on) for well over a year.  It was horrible – uncomfortable, upsetting and so stinking stubborn!  I tried every natural remedy I could find – probiotics (in both food and capsule form), coconut oil, unsweetened cranberry juice, de-chlorinating my water, vinegar, cotton undies, garlic pessaries, etc.  Most of them provided some symptomatic relief, but nothing lasted.  Eventually I gave up on natural remedies and bought Monistat.  Within the week I felt great and was so relieved.  Unfortunately the relief was temporary and soon the yeast was back with a vengeance…

It has since been explained to me that anti-fungals such as Monistat and Vagisil are excellent at killing yeast, but there’s a catch – they kill everything else along with it.  Yeast occurs naturally in and on our bodies and is normally kept in check by beneficial bacteria in our vaginal flora.  When our bodies get thrown out of balance, yeast can multiply and lead to the dreaded yeast infection.  When we use anti-fungal creams, they kill it all – the good, the bad and the ugly.  And while this usually provides initial quick relief, it also destroys your body’s natural defense network and leaves you even more vulnerable to future yeast infections.  Sometimes we’re lucky and this does the trick.  But if we haven’t addressed the underlying problem, chances are the yeasties are gonna come back.  To make matters worse, some strains of yeast are resistant to these anti-fungals so the yeast that manages to survive can be particularly feisty and now has a free for all in your suddenly unprotected vagina – ugg!

This long and frustrating situation forced me to think about yeast infections differently.  Instead of addressing the symptoms (how do I stop the itching?) I began thinking about the underlying cause.  My focus shifted to bringing my body into balance and trying to help it help itself.  My midwife was actually the first to suggest boric acid – she works with an herbalist whose clients had experienced a lot of success with it.  I initially dismissed her suggestion because the name boric acid sounds rather awful – like something you would use to disinfect a toilet, not voluntarily insert into one’s most sensitive areas.  But a few months passed and I came across the very same treatment in a natural remedies book written by Rosemary Gladstar, a well-known and respected herbalist.  This motivated me to do some googling and to my surprise boric acid treatments were discussed and encouraged by sites ranging from alternative health sites like Tao of Herbs, to bloggers like myself, to conventional sites like WebMD.

What I learned is the good bacteria in your vagina tend to be acidic, while yeast and yeast loving bacteria are alkaline.  When the bad guys out number the good guys, your pH goes up and this alkaline state makes you vulnerable to yeast overgrowth.  Enter boric acid.  Boric acid is a mild acid that’s available over the counter.  Its other medical uses include eyewashes (very diluted!), swimmers eardrops and some additional skin treatments.  When inserted into the vagina, boric acid decreases the ph (makes it more acidic).  This promotes the growth of good bacteria and the demise of the bad guys.  It doesn’t actually kill the yeast, instead it helps restore a healthy pH level so that your body is better able to protect itself.

This made sense to me, so with some trepidation I decided to give it a try.  On the first night I experienced a slight burning sensation (initially some mild discomfort is normal, see note below).  It didn’t hurt, but it felt a little funny and I was aware that something was going on down there.  After the first night I didn’t feel a thing.  By the second day my symptoms had noticeably improved and by the end of the week they were completely gone.  It has now been 6 months since using boric acid and I’ve been symptom free the entire time.  It has been an enormous relief to put this infection behind me.  It was incredibly stressful and I am so thankful to have found something that works!  Articles often claim this treatment has a 98% success rate for curing yeast infections, including many women who were resistant to other treatments.  I can’t vouch for this statistic but will say that it worked wonders for me and has received positive feedback within circles I know and respect.  I hope that it works for you too!

How to Use Boric Acid to Treat a Yeast Infection

Supplies:

  • Boric acid powder (see supply note below)
  • Gelatin capsules – size “00”
  • Latex gloves

Directions:

  • How to make the capsules:
    • Put on a pair of latex gloves (most of the instructions I found didn’t mention gloves but it made me feel better to wear them)
    • Pour some boric acid powder into a small bowl
    • Fill the capsules – Pull each one apart, scoop the larger side full of powder, then push the small side shut.
    • How to use:
      • Standard treatment is one capsule a day for 7 days.  Boric acid increases discharge in some women so it helps to wear a pad and to do the treatment at night.  Each night before bed insert 1 capsule deep into your vagina.  Your body heat will melt the capsule and disperse the boric acid while you sleep.
      • For extreme yeast infections you have 2 options:  1. Increase the dosage to 2 capsules a day for 1 week (1 in the morning and one before bed).  Or 2. Increase the timeframe – 1 capsule a day for 2 weeks.

Warning: The most common side effect of this treatment is vaginal burning/skin irritation, especially early in the treatment. Superficial irritation is normal but if the pain is bad or it continues beyond the first few days, stop the treatment and consult your doctor.  As always, it’s important to pay attention to your body, trust your instincts, and use common sense.  Do not use boric acid if you have open wounds in or around your vagina.  And never take boric acid by mouth – it can be poisonous if swallowed.  Finally, if you are pregnant, ask your doctor or midwife before using this treatment.

Notes:

 

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21178966@N04/4976365033/

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