pH outta wack, science says suppositories

By: Dr. Wendy Goodall

The vagina is literally one the most sophisticated parts of the human body. Why do I, a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist, call the vagina sophisticated? Because the bacteria that live within it are meant to be in perfect balance in order to create an ecosystem that runs with the beauty of an undisturbed jungle rainforest. The Acid-Base pH keeps the good bacteria alive, which keeps bad bacteria and fungi that can cause yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis in check. 

What happens if that Acid-Base pH becomes imbalanced? Sophisticated can easily become sophista-funk. 

Let's take a step back. the "Good bacteria" that should be present in the vagina go by the name of lactobacillus acidophilus. As the name suggests, those bacteria create an acidic environment in the vagina. That acidic environment not only keeps the tissues of the vagina healthy, they create a robust barrier against infections.  

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is an overgrowth of a number of "bad bacteria" that can normally be present in the vagina. If those bacteria grow out of their normal balance, they can cause irritation and/or a very distinctive fishy odor that will make anyone turn around in the bathroom and ask, "whew, is that me?!" 

Yeast infections, also known as vaginal candidiasis, is an overgrowth of fungi that can also be normally present in the vagina in small quantities. If those fungi grow out of proportion, they will also cause significant itching and irritation and can also sometimes cause odor.  

Both Yeast and BV infections can compromise the vaginal tissues, leaving a person more susceptible to other infections like sexually transmitted infections. It is important that we maintain a normal, healthy vaginal pH balance for comfort as well as safety. 

Boric acid vaginal suppositories have been shown to reset the normal pH of the vagina when it is shifting out of balance. I tell my patients who have a history of recurrent yeast or BV to insert one overnight at the first sign of vaginal irritation or odor. The molecular structure of boric acid is too large to be absorbed through the vaginal walls, which is why it is not toxic if used in the vagina. It would be toxic if swallowed by mouth, SO DON'T DO THAT. But vaginally, a suppository will dissolve and make its way out of the vagina, leaving behind the acidic environment that the vagina needs.  

Honey Pot Brand Boric acid also contains tea tree oil and neem oil, both of which are essential oils with antifungal properties. Cocoa butter and vitamin E are also present in the suppository for added moisture. Boric acid suppositories can also be used to treat BV and Yeast infections, but they often require multiple consecutive nights of use in order to be effective. I like the boric acid suppositories mostly for prevention and early reset of rouge vaginal symptoms.  

Other vaginal health tips: Do not "clean" inside of the vagina. Nothing belongs in the vagina when you are bathing or showering. Not soap. Not your finger to scoop anything out. Leave it alone in there. You can clean the external vulva, but use mild soap and water and try to avoid fragrance and other irritants. Honey Pot Co washes are excellent because they contain plant-derived ingredients and avoid fragrances and added parabens. 

Vulvar discomfort can be supported by using Honey Pot’s Soothing Lavender Vulva Cream contains mint, coconut oil and lavender to help calm irritated skin. And above all, consult a trained gynecologist or women's health specialist to confirm that you have the correct diagnosis for your vaginal or vulvar symptoms. Some studies suggest that vaginal yeast is misdiagnosed up to 70% of the time. A test should be performed to confirm that the diagnosis is correct and recurrent prior to boric acid use, or especially if boric acid does not completely relieve symptoms. 

If you have any questions, please reach out to us and consult your healthcare professional. 

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