Lactic acid overdose

Poisoning from an overdose of lactic acid.

Poisonous Ingredient 

  • lactic acid

Where Found 

  • some vaginal douches

If swallowed:

  • burning pain in the throat or mouth  
  • inability to breathe because of swelling of the face or throat  
  • brownish stains around the mouth  
  • bloody diarrhea (coffee-ground like material)  
  • vomiting blood (coffee-ground like material)  
  • low blood pressure

If there is skin contact:

  • brownish stains in the area the acid contacted the skin  
  • burns

Home Treatment 

If swallowed:

  • Give water or milk as soon as possible to dilute the acid.  
  • If the patient is vomiting, keep administering fluids (water/milk). It is very important to dilute the acid to minimize damage to the tissues.

If there is skin contact:

  • Wash the area thoroughly with water for at least 15 minutes.  
  • Remove any clothes containing the acid, washing the affected skin beneath the clothes.

Before Calling Emergency 

Determine the following information:

  • the patient’s age, weight, and condition  
  • the name of product (ingredients and strengths if known)  
  • the time it was swallowed  
  • the amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number 
If you are concerned about a lactic acid overdose, go to your nearest emergency room or call poison control. See poison control centers for the national telephone number. Take the container with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room 

Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:

  • Dilute the acid.  
  • Give milk of magnesia (if the acid was swallowed).  
  • Treat the symptoms.

Expectations (prognosis) 
Damage to the esophagus may occur as late as 2-3 weeks after the acid is swallowed. Death may occur up to 1 month after it is swallowed.

Patients who recover may develop constrictions in the pyloric region of the stomach or in the esophagus.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 4, 2012
by Amalia K. Gagarina, M.S., R.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.