Does Boric Acid Kill Sperm? What You Should Know When Using

| Reviewed By Amanda Lundberg, BSN, RN

Using boric acid is not a dependable or efficient way to eliminate sperm or avoid pregnancy. Furthermore, it does not offer any safeguard against sexually transmitted diseases or infections.

You should not rely on boric acid as a form of birth control. Use barrier protection or another form of contraceptive to prevent pregnancy.

If you are trying to conceive while using boric acid suppositories, know that boric acid can harm and kill sperm, thus interfering with the possibility of pregnancy.

According to this study on PubMed

“Boric acid and sodium borates are classified as toxic to reproduction in the CLP Regulation under ‘Category 1B’ with the hazard statement of ‘H360FD.'”

Additional animal studies have shown that acute oral exposure to boric acid can have adverse effects on sperm quantity and quality.

However, those effects have not yet been replicated in human trials and are restricted to oral ingestion, not direct topical exposure. 

While boric acid has the potential to immobilize and kill sperm and negatively affect fertility, it is not an effective option for pregnancy prevention.

Effects of Boric Acid on Sperm

Boric acid is believed to disrupt the cell membranes of sperm upon contact.

The exact mechanism by which this occurs is not fully understood, but it is thought to involve the alteration of the sperm cell’s structure and function.

The disruption of the cell membrane can lead to several effects on sperm:

  1. Immobilization: Boric acid can immobilize sperm by interfering with their ability to move or swim effectively. This impairs their ability to reach and fertilize an egg.
  2. Reduced Viability: Boric acid may reduce the overall viability of sperm, making them less likely to successfully fertilize an egg.
  3. Cell Damage: The interaction with boric acid can cause structural damage to the sperm cell, potentially leading to cell death.

The effects of boric acid on sperm quality have been deliberated in only a handful of trials.

Trials conducted mainly tested the effects of oral consumption of boric acid in animals.

The findings of these trials indicated that oral consumption of boric acid negatively impacts spermination and sperm quality.

These effects were reversible in trials through discontinued use of the acid. 

Lacking human test subjects, it cannot be definitively determined whether boric acid impacts sperm quality through topical application or oral consumption.

That said, scientists and doctors favor caution and don’t recommend the use of boric acid due to the potential risks. 

Boric Acid for Pregnancy Prevention 

When boric acid comes into contact with sperm, it disrupts the cell membranes, potentially leading to the inactivation or death of the sperm.

Although boric acid has spermicidal properties, meaning it can immobilize or kill sperm, its effectiveness is questionable, and it should not be considered to be a reliable birth control option.

Boric acid should also not be used by those pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive.

The impacts of boric acid on fertility, fetal viability, and reproductive health are not fully known, but most current studies indicate that it may cause potential harm to an unborn child, the mother, and the reproductive system. 

While boric acid is not recommended as a reliable form of birth control, there are plenty of options available for women.

Consult with your healthcare provider to determine the best option based on your individual health needs, lifestyle, and preferences. 

  • Barrier Methods: Condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, etc. physically prevent sperm from reaching the egg. Condoms also provide protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • Combined Oral Contraceptives (COCs): COCs contain synthetic versions of the hormones estrogen and progestin. They are taken daily and work by preventing ovulation, thickening cervical mucus, and thinning the uterine lining.
  • Progestin-Only Pills (Mini-Pills): Mini-pills only contain progestin. They are taken daily and work by thickening cervical mucus and affecting the uterine lining, making it less receptive to implantation.
  • Contraceptive Patch: This is a skin patch that releases hormones (estrogen and progestin) into the bloodstream through the skin. It is applied once a week and replaced every three weeks.
  • Vaginal Ring: The vaginal ring is a flexible ring inserted into the vagina, where it releases hormones (estrogen and progestin) over three weeks. It is then removed for one week before inserting a new one.
  • Contraceptive Injection: This is an injection of progestin given by a healthcare provider once every three months.
  • Intrauterine Devices (IUDs): IUDs are small, T-shaped devices inserted into the uterus. They can be hormonal (releasing progestin) or non-hormonal (copper). Hormonal IUDs can last 3 to 7 years, while copper IUDs can last up to 10 years.
  • Implantable Rod: This is a small rod that is implanted under the skin of the upper arm. It releases progestin and provides protection against pregnancy for up to three years.
  • Tubal Ligation: This is a surgical procedure in which the fallopian tubes are cut, sealed, or blocked to permanently prevent pregnancy.
  • Fertility Awareness-Based Methods: These methods involve tracking menstrual cycles, cervical mucus, and basal body temperature to identify fertile days and abstain from intercourse during those times.
  • Emergency Contraception: These are methods used after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. Options include emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) or the copper IUD.

Boric Acid for Vaginal Health

Boric acid has been used since ancient times as an antiseptic.

While it’s not used as often in Western medicine today, boric acid suppositories can still be prescribed for a variety of vaginal infections.

It is safe for use as a vaginal suppository when prescribed but is not prescribed often due to associated risks.

Boric acid should not be administered if you are pregnant, trying to conceive, or breastfeeding as it may have negative impacts on fertility and fetal viability.

How Boric Acid Is Used

Boric acid has many uses both medicinally and non-medicinally. It has been used as an antiseptic, poison, preservative, and manufacturing agent.

In fact, boric acid is in everything from enamel to insecticide.

These alternative uses call the compound’s medicinal abilities and applications into question in the medical community. 

Boric acid is sometimes used for vaginal health, primarily as a treatment for certain vaginal infections, such as bacterial vaginosis (BV) and recurrent yeast infections.

The use of boric acid for vaginal health should be under the guidance and recommendation of a healthcare provider.

Misuse or overuse of boric acid can lead to serious complications, so it is crucial to follow the prescribed instructions carefully.

Here’s how boric acid can be used for vaginal health:

  • Boric acid has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which make it effective in treating some types of vaginal infections. It disrupts the cell walls of the fungi or bacteria, leading to their elimination.
  • Boric acid can help restore and maintain the natural pH balance of the vagina. Keeping the vaginal environment in a healthy state is important as an imbalanced pH can contribute to the development of infections.
  • In cases where standard treatments for conditions like recurrent yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis have not been effective, healthcare providers may recommend boric acid as an alternative or supplemental treatment.
  • Boric acid for vaginal health is typically administered in the form of vaginal suppositories. These suppositories are inserted into the vagina using an applicator, allowing the boric acid to come into contact with the affected area directly.
  • The dosage and duration of boric acid treatment will be determined by a healthcare provider based on the specific condition being treated, its severity, and the individual’s medical history.

Boric Acid Side Effects

Side effects of boric acid include the following. If any of these symptoms occur, please contact your doctor to discuss continued use.

  • Vaginal irritation 
  • Redness
  • Burning
  • Skin rash
  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal bleeding

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Boric Acid Hurt My Partner? 

Boric acid has a gritty texture that can be irritating to both parties with friction from intercourse.

Additionally, boric acid should never be ingested, meaning that oral sex should be avoided for at least 24 hours following administration. 

Having sex while treating a vaginal infection is not recommended in general.

This is because certain bacterial infections can spread from person to person through sexual contact.

Sex while infected can also cause further irritation to the vagina. 

Does Boric Acid Prevent STDs? 

No, boric acid is used to treat vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and trichomoniasis.

Boric acid in no way prevents sexually transmitted diseases or infections.

Wearing barrier protection, such as a condom, is the best way to prevent STDs and STIs while sexually active.

Frequent checkups and updated vaccinations are equally important.  

Does Boric Acid Affect Fertility? 

Boric acid can cause issues with fertility following prolonged periods of ingested or topical use.

While there are no human trials linking boric acid to reduced fertility in humans, there are animal tests that indicate lower fertility in animals exposed to the substance, though these effects have been shown to be reversible through discontinued use of boric acid. 

Can Boric Acid Cause a Miscarriage? 

Experiments testing the safety and efficacy of boric acid on pregnant animals saw an increase in miscarriages in test groups.

While there are no human trials to provide definitive findings, we assume that there would be similar results and err on the side of caution.

Therefore, taking boric acid while pregnant or trying to conceive is not recommended. 

Can You Use Boric Acid on Your Period? 

Yes! It’s safe to use boric acid suppositories on your period.

However, it’s not advised to use boric acid suppositories with tampons because they can’t break down effectively with a tampon in place.

This can cause irritation in the vagina and reduce the effectiveness of the suppository. 

Why Does Boric Acid Cause Watery Discharge? 

Boric acid is used to restore your body’s vaginal pH balance.

In doing so, it can irritate the vaginal mucosa, the membrane that lines the vagina and keeps it moist.

This is what causes the watery or abnormal discharge.