The chances are slim that boric acid can throw off your periods in any way. Nonetheless, despite its common use in various clinical conditions, it is not a US FDA or EMA-approved remedy. Boric acid is pretty safe but not free from side effects.
Since it is not a US FDA-approved remedy, one of the questions arising immediately is why it is used? Or why would healthcare providers recommend it at all?
Here it is vital to understand that boric acid is quite an old remedy. It has been in use as an antiseptic for a long. It used to be a commonly used antiseptic in pediatrics, but it is not recommended these days due to many side effects.
However, its use in gynecology is not rare. Its suppositories are still in common use, and it appears to be good, safe, and helpful in certain conditions.
Why is boric acid used in gynecology?
There are many reasons why women use boric acid suppositories. It appears that women are generally more prone to recurrent vaginal infections. These infections could be both bacterial and fungal. Though these infections are readily treated, but they keep reoccurring in many causing significant distress.
There could be many reasons why fungal and bacterial infections tend to be chronic or reoccurring in many despite the best treatment. However, experts think that the two leading causes of recurrent infections are changes in vaginal pH and loss of beneficial bacteria.
It is worth understanding that vaginal pH is quite acidic, with a pH of between 3.8 to 5. Studies show that changes in vaginal pH have a lot to do with recurrent infections.
These changes may occur due to aging, hormonal changes, diet, sexual activity, and more .
Thus, boric acid may help maintain acidic pH in the vagina. However, one does not need to worry as boric acid is quite a weak and harmless acid with a pH of 5.1. So, it brings vaginal pH just close to normal but does not cause any harm.
Another way it may help is by normalizing the vaginal flora, which helps control the growth of pathogens. However, good bacterial like Lactobacillus acidophilus grows well only in a slightly acidic environment. Thus, using boric acid suppositories promote their growth and prevents recurrent infections1.
Additionally, boric acid may directly inhibit the growth of various bacterial and fungal agents.
Does boric acid work for vaginal health?
Amazingly enough, though boric acid is not a US FDA-approved remedy, it seems to work quite well and has an excellent safety profile. Moreover, it is a common remedy for preventing and treating recurrent vaginal infections, and there is enough research to confirm its efficacy.
Thus, one of the systemic reviews that looked at 14 clinical studies found that boric acid is a safe and effective remedy that may help prevent vaginal candidiasis.
Thus, it may considerably reduce the risk of white vaginal discharge. Moreover, it appears to work even when commonly used anti-fungal drugs like fluconazole or miconazole fail to help .
Boric acid suppositories are not just for treating vaginal infections. It appears to be good for preventing. Many women use it regularly once or twice weekly to prevent vaginal infections. Studies show that it could be good for preventing both bacterial and fungal infections .
Is it safe to use in gynecology?
Boric acid is relatively safe when people use it as recommended by health experts. Studies show that it does not cause many side effects. However, some women may experience issues like burning sensation, watery discharge, and vaginal redness during the treatment. If such problems occur, it is quite likely that a person is using boric acid at a higher strength .
However, it is worth understanding that one should not abuse boric acid. Thus, one should not use it regularly or daily. Daily use of boric acid may cause systemic side effects.
Boric acid is not absorbed much via intact skin, but mucous membranes like those in the vagina can absorb it in a significant amount .
If someone takes boric acid in high amounts, it may accumulate in the kidneys, liver, and even the brain. As a result, it causes gastrointestinal issues, nausea, vomiting, and other side effects. In addition, boric acid can be toxic at a very high dosage. Thus, it is not for regular or daily use .
Can boric acid throw off your period?
Boric acid is not likely to cause any changes in periods. However, it is worth understanding that most women using boric acid suppositories already live with specific issues. They might have hormonal problems, too. Thus, if one notices changes in periods after using boric acid, it is more likely to be due to other reasons than boric acid.
However, daily use of boric acid suppositories is not a good idea, and it may cause toxicity and thus possible changes in periods.
Possible side effects of boric acid
As already mentioned, boric acid abuse can be bad for health. Boric acid can cause toxicity at a higher dosage and many side effects.
It causes vaginal irritation and burning sensation and may also get absorbed and cause systemic side effects like nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal disturbances, headaches, and more .
It is worth understanding that boric acid used to be a commonly used antiseptic in children a few decades back. However, doctors do not recommend its use as studies show that boric acid can be quite toxic at times.
Despite the proven short-term safety of boric acid suppositories, no studies have investigated the long-term safety of boric acid. Vaginal tissues can absorb boric acid in significant amounts, and its abuse is quite likely to cause systemic side effects.
To conclude, boric acid is a safe and effective remedy for recurrent vaginal infections. It works both against fungal and bacterial infections. However, one should not abuse boric acids due to the risk of systemic side effects.
Boric acid is not likely to throw off your periods. However, its abuse may cause changes in the menstrual cycle due to systemic toxicity.
- Lin YP, Chen WC, Cheng CM, Shen CJ. Vaginal pH Value for Clinical Diagnosis and Treatment of Common Vaginitis. Diagnostics (Basel). 2021;11(11):1996. doi:10.3390/diagnostics11111996
- Iavazzo C, Gkegkes ID, Zarkada IM, Falagas ME. Boric acid for recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis: the clinical evidence. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2011;20(8):1245-1255. doi:10.1089/jwh.2010.2708
- Powell A, Ghanem KG, Rogers L, et al. Clinicians’ use of Intravaginal Boric Acid Maintenance Therapy for Recurrent Vulvovaginal Candidiasis and Bacterial Vaginosis. Sex Transm Dis. 2019;46(12):810-812. doi:10.1097/OLQ.0000000000001063
- Boric acid. Accessed May 10, 2022. https://go.drugbank.com/drugs/DB11326