Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Women's Health

Font Size

Yeast Infection Treatments: Over-the-Counter Vaginal Creams

You can treat most vaginal yeast infections with an over-the-counter vaginal cream or suppository. You can buy these nonprescription vaginal creams and suppositories at most large drugstores and supermarkets.

Many yeast infection treatment doses come in one-day, three-day, and seven-day strengths. Many of the over-the-counter vaginal creams and other products you can buy often contain the same ingredients to fight a yeast infection as the medication your doctor might prescribe -- but in less concentrated doses.

Recommended Related to Women

5 Health Habits It's Okay To Skip

By Virginia Sole-SmithDo you really need to eat breakfast every day? Here, five "must-do's" you can think twice about. Don't tell your mother we said so, but she wasn't right about everything -- at least not when it comes to your health. Research shows that some of those habits you've been told to maintain aren't backed up by much evidence, or even plain old common sense. Five "must-do's" you can think twice about:

Read the 5 Health Habits It's Okay To Skip article > >

Yeast Infection Treatments: Vaginal Creams

Vaginal creams are typically placed inside the vagina with an applicator to kill off the yeast that cause yeast infections. Vaginal creams, sometimes called "antifungal creams," usually come packaged with an applicator that helps you measure the right dose.

Common examples:

  • Gyne-Lotrimin or Mycelex (clotrimazole)
  • Gynezol or Femstat (butoconazole)
  • Monistat (miconazole nitrate)
  • Vagistat-1 (tioconazole)

Be sure to read all package directions carefully before using any vaginal cream to treat a yeast infection.

Some vaginal creams are used only at bedtime, because they can be messy and leak out of the vagina during the day. Some of these creams may come with a topical vaginal cream designed to be applied to the opening of the vagina and surrounding tissue (called the "vulva") and used externally, rather than inserted into the vagina. The topical cream may help relieve itching while the antifungal cream treats the yeast infection.

If you use a vaginal cream to treat a yeast infection, you may want to abstain from sex if you're using condoms or a diaphragm for birth control. These oil-based creams can damage the latex in a condom or diaphragm.

Yeast Infection Treatments: Tablets and Suppositories

Some of the same medications (such as clotrimazole and miconazole) are manufactured into tablets or suppositories to treat yeast infections. You insert these into the vagina and let them dissolve; some brands call them "ovules" because they're oval-shaped. These products often come packaged with a plastic "inserter" that helps you insert the medication into the vagina.

One benefit of a tablet is that it's less messy than a vaginal cream and less apt to ooze out during the day. Another benefit of tablets or suppositories: the doses are typically stronger and used for fewer days, so symptoms are relieved sooner.

Yeast Infection Treatments: Safety Tips

  •  Be sure you actually do have a yeast infection before you start treatment. As many as two-thirds of women who treat themselves with OTC products actually don't have a yeast infection but another kind of vaginal infection. See your doctor if you're not absolutely sure you have a yeast infection, because using the wrong medicine can make a yeast infection harder to treat -- and can prolong the problem if it's not a yeast infection.
  • Be sure to follow the package directions exactly on how often to use any yeast infection treatment and how much of the product to use, because the dosage is designed to work with the growth cycle of the yeast. Call your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about treatment.
  • Antifungal medications can interact with a number of drugs. Be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking an antifungal if you are taking other medications.
  • No matter which yeast infection treatment you try, see your doctor if your symptoms don't disappear after taking the full course of medication. Frequent, repeat yeast infections can be a sign of a more serious condition, including an early sign of HIV.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Mikio A. Nihira, MD on August 22, 2012

Today on WebMD

hands on abdomen
Test your knowledge.
womans hand on abdomen
Are you ready for baby?
birth control pills
Learn about your options.
Is it menopause or something else?
Couple with troubles
Bone density illustration
Young woman being vaccinated
woman holding hand to ear

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Blood pressure check
mother and daughter talking
intimate couple
puppy eating