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Vaginal Yeast Infections - Home Treatment

Do not self-treat a vaginal yeast infection if you:

  • Are pregnant.
  • Are not sure your symptoms are caused by a vaginal yeast infection. If you have never been diagnosed with a vaginal yeast infection, see your doctor before treating it with a nonprescription antifungal cream. Sometimes women think they have a vaginal yeast infection when symptoms are caused by a different condition, such as bacterial vaginosis or a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
  • Have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection (STI), which would require a medical exam.
  • Are having a recurrent infection.
Vaginal Yeast Infection: Should I Treat It Myself?

Using nonprescription medicine

When using a nonprescription vaginal medicine for a vaginal yeast infection, follow the directions on the package insert, as well as these guidelines:

  • Use pads instead of tampons while you are using nonprescription vaginal medicines. Tampons can absorb the medicine.
  • Avoid using soap when cleaning the vaginal area—rinse with water only.
  • If sexual intercourse is painful, avoid it. Otherwise, use a water-soluble lubricating jelly (such as K-Y Jelly) to reduce irritation. The oil in antifungal creams or suppositories can weaken latex. This means condoms and diaphragms may break, and you may not be protected from STI or pregnancy.
  • If the genital area is swollen or painful, sitting in warm water (in a bathtub or sitz bath, not a hot tub) may help. Or instead, you may try putting a cool, damp cloth on the area. Do not rub to try to relieve itching.

Report your symptoms to your doctor if:

  • You are not sure that you have a yeast infection.
  • Your self-treatment is not working after one complete course of therapy.

Things to consider

The risk of self-treatment is that your symptoms may be caused by a type of vaginal infection other than a yeast infection, such as bacterial vaginosis or a sexually transmitted infection (STI). If you have pelvic pain or fever, get an evaluation by a doctor.

If you are pregnant, it is important to be evaluated for vaginal symptoms. Some vaginal infections, such as bacterial vaginosis, gonorrhea, or chlamydia, may increase your risk of complications during pregnancy.

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