An Introduction to Boric Acid and Probiotics for Bacterial Vaginosis and Yeast Infection in Under 10 Minutes
by Chomba Chuma on Jul 21, 2022
Introduction and Getting Started
Vaginal infections are one of the common clinical complaints among women, occurring in 2 out of 3 women every year .
Women with vaginal infections constantly experience itching, burning sensation, vaginal discharge, and general discomfort. The onset of vaginal infections is associated with changes in the levels of estrogen and vaginal flora during the monthly cycles.
Treatment measures include identification of the causing organism and treating it accordingly. While most of the women exhibit the above genitourinary symptoms, others remain without symptoms throughout the course of the disease. Despite being a common and recurrent disorder, vaginal infections can be treated by undertaking measures to balance the vaginal pH and flora.
Today we look at the role of boric acid and probiotics in the treatment of bacterial and yeast infections of the vagina.
A significant percentage of women suffer from vaginal infections, characterized by itching and vaginal discharge. These infections include vulvitis (affecting the vulva), cervicitis (affecting the cervix), and vaginitis (affecting the vagina) – I’m hoping that you are familiar with the anatomy.
The infections are commonly identified in sexually active women, however, certain infections such as vulvovaginal candidiasis (yeast infection) may affect women of all ages including those that are not sexually active.
Although the affected women may experience genitourinary symptoms, it is important to stress that some of the affected women may remain asymptomatic throughout the full course of the disease. The three important vaginal infections are yeast infection (candidiasis), bacterial vaginosis (BV), and trichomoniasis (Trich). 
Causes and Symptoms of Vaginal Infection
In healthy women of reproductive age, the vaginal flora comprises different probiotic bacteria that help to balance the vaginal pH.
The vaginal flora largely depends on the microenvironment and is in a symbiotic relationship with the host (you). The vaginal flora (probiotics), under the influence of estrogen, produces certain chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide and lactic acid which impart acidic pH of the vagina and suppress the growth of harmful organisms, such as bacteria and yeast.
The normal pH of the vagina is acidic with pH ranging between 3.5-4.2. Alterations in the vaginal microenvironment and estrogen levels may shift the composition and function of the vaginal flora as well as disrupt the normal vaginal pH. This leads to the inhabitation and growth of harmful bacteria and yeast, resulting in vaginal infections.
Symptoms of vaginal infections include abnormal vaginal discharge, vaginal irritation, odor, and pain during urination (dysuria) and intercourse (dyspareunia).  Vaginal yeast infection, also called thrush or candidiasis, presents with a whitish coating on the vaginal lining, with burning pain, and itching. The vaginal discharge in the cases of thrush appears whitish-yellowish and can be watery or chunky in texture. 
Balancing Vaginal pH to Eliminate Odor and Yeast
Adequate estrogen levels in women of reproductive age determine the thickness of the vaginal epithelium, with increased production of glycogen in the cells. Lactobacilli metabolize this collagen to produce lactic acid, resulting in Lactobacilli abundance and acidic vaginal pH. 
There is increased use of medical boric acid and probiotics in restoring the growth of vaginal flora, balancing the vaginal pH, and suppressing the growth of harmful organisms.
Boric Acid for Vaginal Infections
For over a hundred years, boric acid has been used as an effective therapeutic agent for vaginal infections.
It is an accessible and inexpensive substance for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections, even for infections that are resistant to treatment with antifungal medications. 
Boric acid has bacteriostatic and antifungal properties. Prolonged exposure to higher concentrations of boric acid is essential to effect its antifungal actions.
With yeast infections, thrush or candidiasis boric acid suppresses the growth and infectivity of Candida albicans – the primary yeast that causes thrush. Boric acid therefore arrests the fungal growth and restores the normal vaginal flora. 
In this regard, intravaginal boric acid (as a suppository or pessary) is an important therapeutic strategy for vaginal infections, particularly yeast infections.
Role of Probiotics in Vaginal Infections
Although antibiotics are an effective treatment for vaginal infections, they are associated with adverse effects, recurrence of infections, and antibiotic resistance.
Lactobacilli probiotics are replacing these antibiotics for the treatment and prevention of yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and other infections of the vagina. Probiotics restore and maintain the normal composition of the Lactobacilli flora of the vagina, which reduces intravaginal pH by producing lactic acid.
In this way, probiotics strengthen the flora and microenvironment of the vagina, which eventually provides protection against harmful pathogens.
In addition to Lactobacillus, important probiotics include Streptococcus, Enterococcus, Bifidobacterium, and Lactococcus. These probiotics can be combined with antibiotics for improved treatment outcomes and reduced rates of recurrence of vaginal infections.
Co-treatment is effective for both bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections of the vagina. 
Boric Acid and Probiotics Blend for Vaginal Infections (Combination)
While the two therapeutic measures – boric acid and probiotics – have positive treatment outcomes for bacterial and yeast vaginal infections, it is important to assess the combined effects of the two for the treatment of these diseases.
The combination of probiotics and boric acid promotes the growth and activity of Lactobacilli species, improves the acidic environment of the vagina, and alleviates the symptoms of vaginal infections that include odorous discharge, vaginal discomfort, and pruritus (itching).
In addition to being alternative treatment strategies for the treatment of vaginal infections, the combination of probiotics and boric acid can also serve as the first-line standard treatment for these infections.
What are the Side Effects of Boric Acid Suppositories?
The safety, tolerability, and efficacy of boric acid are similar in individuals who are administered higher or lower concentrations of boric acid for the treatment of vaginal infections. There are no adverse effects of boric acid except for a few cases that report watery discharge and a burning sensation of the vagina.
The addition of probiotics to the treatment regimen reduces the recurrence of infections. This treatment strategy overcomes the challenges related to antimicrobial resistance and the adverse effects of antibiotic formulations. 
The combination of boric acid and probiotics is an effective therapeutic blend for the treatment and prevention of vaginal infections including bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections.
The probiotics, particularly Lactobacilli species, restore and maintain the vaginal flora and microenvironment, which protects against harmful organisms such as disease-causing bacteria and yeast.
Boric acid suppresses the growth of harmful organisms including bacteria and fungi while maintaining the Lactobacilli composition of the vagina and intravaginal acidic pH. Co-administration of boric acid and probiotics yields positive treatment outcomes and reduces the rates of recurrence of vaginal infections.