How Long Does it Take for a Vaginal Suppository to Absorb?

Medically Reviewed on 1/25/2023

Vaginal suppositories take between 15 and 30 minutes to dissolve and get absorbed into the body. The absorption of a vaginal suppository depends on several factors, including 

  • Type of suppository
  • Active ingredient
  • pH and moisture level of the vaginal environment
  • Size and shape of the suppository

The time for the absorption process of a vaginal suppository to complete can vary widely and is difficult to determine.

What is a vaginal suppository?

A vaginal suppository is a solid, conical, or cylindrical medication that dissolves or melts inside the body, releasing the active ingredients over time. It needs to be inserted into the vagina using a special applicator.

7 types of vaginal suppositories

  1. Antifungal suppositories: Used to treat Candida infections.
  2. Hormonal suppositories: Contain hormones, such as estrogen or progesterone, and are used to treat menopausal symptoms, irregular periods, and other hormonal imbalances.
  3. Antibiotic suppositories: Contain antibiotics and are used to treat bacterial infections of the vagina, such as bacterial vaginosis.
  4. Contraceptive suppositories: Contain a combination of hormones and are used as a form of birth control.
  5. Lubricant suppositories: Contain a lubricant and are used to relieve dryness and discomfort during sexual intercourse.
  6. Pain relief suppositories: Contain pain-relieving medications and are used to treat discomfort or pain in the vagina or vulva.
  7. Spermicidal suppositories: Contain a substance that kills sperm and are used as a form of birth control.

Vaginal suppositories are used for

Vaginal suppositories are a convenient and effective way to deliver medication locally and can provide relief from symptoms or help eliminate infections. It is important to follow the instructions carefully and use them consistently.

How is a vaginal suppository used?

A vaginal suppository has to be inserted into the vagina. Vaginal suppositories are typically inserted one or two times a day depending on the condition and specific medication.

How to insert a vaginal suppository

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Remove the suppository from its packaging and unwrap it. Some suppositories are soft and can be easily broken in half or cut with a sharp knife. If the suppository is too hard to cut, hold it under warm water for a few seconds to soften it.
  • Lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the bed.
  • Gently insert the suppository into your vagina using your fingers or an applicator provided with the medication.
  • Insert the pointed end first.
  • Hold the suppository in place for a few minutes to allow it to dissolve and release its medication.
  • Do not douche or use tampons for at least a few hours after inserting the suppository to allow it to work properly.


The vagina includes the labia, clitoris, and uterus. See Answer

What are the common benefits of vaginal suppositories?

Medications and hormones in vaginal suppositories can treat several conditions. These get absorbed into the body through the vaginal mucosa.

Potential benefits of using vaginal suppositories

  • Convenient and easy to use: Easy to insert and does not require any special preparation or equipment. They are useful for people who prefer not to take oral medication or have difficulty swallowing pills.
  • Fast acting: Designed to dissolve quickly and be absorbed through the vaginal tissue, allowing the medication to take effect faster.
  • Targeted delivery: Vaginal suppositories can deliver medication directly to the site of the infection or condition, ensuring that it is more effective at treating the problem.
  • Fewer side effects: The medication is delivered directly to the site of the infection and does not get absorbed into the bloodstream and affects the entire body.
  • Can be used in combination with other treatment methods: Such as oral medication or topical creams to provide more comprehensive treatment.
  • Long-acting: Some vaginal suppositories have a sustained release mechanism to deliver medication, providing long-lasting relief from symptoms.

What are the potential side effects of vaginal suppositories?

Vaginal suppositories can cause side effects. These may vary depending on the specific medication and the individual's unique body and health conditions. Some common side effects of vaginal suppositories include

  • Vaginal irritation or burning: Occur when vaginal suppositories are inserted too deeply or if the individual has sensitive skin.
  • Discharge: Vaginal discharge is normal and expected when the medication works to treat the condition. However, excessive or unusual discharge should be reported to a healthcare provider.
  • Allergic reactions: Such as itching, rash, or difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop using the suppository and contact a healthcare provider.
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Vaginal dryness

Follow the recommended dosage and frequency of use. The correct use of a suppository is crucial because improper insertion can reduce its effectiveness. If you are considering using a vaginal suppository, consult a doctor to determine if it is appropriate for your specific condition and discuss any potential risks or side effects.

Medically Reviewed on 1/25/2023
Suppositories: What They Treat and How to Use Them.


Safety, Tolerability and Efficacy of Vaginal Suppositories for Treatment of the Endometriosis (ELTA).