Boric acid has many antiseptic properties, making it useful for a wide variety of uses, it’s a powerful pesticide, a trusty disinfectant to keep pool water clean, sparkling, and fungi-free, and an effective remedy to a host of health problems such as ear infections, minor wounds, and vaginal infections. But could it have its downsides? Is it 100% safe for use? In this article, we’ll discuss the possible dangers of boric acid suppositories.

A Powerful Agent

Boric acid is a white, crystalline chemical substance that has antifungal and antiviral properties. It is used in various prescription pharmaceutical products and is also available without a prescription. It’s commonly used in suppository capsule form to treat vaginal problems, specifically vaginal yeast infections.

And while it has its many uses, it’s also a dangerous poison. Poisoning from boric acid can be very dangerous and can cause a multitude of health problems. Being a caustic chemical, if it comes into contact with the tissues, it can cause some injury. Boric acid poisoning usually occurs when someone mistakes a suppository capsule for an ordinary one. Other times it can be ingested through oral sex with the person taking the suppository.

These are some of the reported side effects of boric acid poisoning:

  • Vomiting (especially if the vomit has a blue/green color)
  • Rashes on the skin
  • Diarrhea
  • Blisters
  • Seizures
  • Drowsiness
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Lack of desire to do anything (lethargy)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Restlessness
  • Significantly decreased urine output (or none)
  • Sloughing of skin
  • Twitching of facial muscles, arms, hands, legs, and feet
  • Weakness

While it may cause a variety of side effects, reports of confirmed cases of fatalities attributed to accidental boric acid poisoning are extremely rare. But don’t let that make you too complacent just yet…

A Boric Acid Suppository We Recommend

How Much Boric Acid Is Deadly?

Boric acid was erroneously considered a non-toxic substance for a long time, but recent studies have proven it to be poisonous and even lethal, regardless of use, either by ingestion or local application. 

While there have been zero deaths from boric acid suppositories, there have been deaths recorded from oral ingestion of boric acid.

The minimum lethal doses of boric acid in humans have been estimated from the said accidental intoxications to be around:

  • 5 to 30 g for adults 
  • 3 to 6 g for children
  • Less than 5 g for infants

If you have accidentally ingested boric acid and start to experience some side effects, seek immediate medical attention. 

Who Shouldn’t Take Boric Acid?

Before considering taking any kind of boric acid medication/supplements, you need to figure out first if your state of health is conducive to taking an otherwise powerful substance. 

If you have open sores, wounds, lacerations, or ulcerations in your vaginal area, you should avoid taking vaginal boric acid suppositories because they could irritate or exacerbate the injury. Seek an alternative method for medication for the meantime.

Pregnant women should avoid using vaginal boric acid suppositories, since the ingredients could be highly toxic to the developing fetus, and may cause problems with the unborn baby’s health and development. Similarly, those trying to conceive a child should also steer clear from boric acid, as one study found it particularly toxic to reproduction.

Boric acid is particularly dangerous to children and pets, so it’s important to keep your suppositories safely out of their reach at all times. 

What To Do In Case Of Boric Acid Poisoning

In the event that you or someone for whatever reason ingested boric acid, don’t panic. It’s important to have a clear head and be on top of the situation.

When swallowed, seek medical treatment immediately. Take into account your (or the person’s) age, weight, and condition, the product name (ingredients and strengths, if known), the amount ingested, and the time it was swallowed. You can also reach out directly to the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States. This hotline number will let you talk to poison experts to guide you through the situation and give you further instructions.

The person may need to be admitted to a hospital for more treatment depending on the extent of the effects of boric acid. Surgery could be needed if the esophagus, stomach, or intestine has suffered a perforation (hole) from the acid.

Are There Alternatives To Boric Acid Suppositories?

While the benefits of boric acid are incontestable and truly efficacious, the idea of accidental ingestion and the side effects are too much to just set aside, especially if you’re living with people who could suffer most from poisoning (or even you yourself) 

If you’re having vaginal problems, you can also use other available substitutes for boric acid. Topical flucytosine (Ancobon), for example, is an oral antifungal agent that also actively targets and remedies Candida and Cryptococcus infections of the vagina. Others also use flucytosine together with their boric acid suppositories in order to see better results. 

Flucytosine and other antifungal medications require a prescription. Please consult with your doctor about other possible treatment options.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.

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