Medications for vaginal yeast infections are available in either vaginal creams or suppositories. Most can be bought without a prescription.
Treating yourself at home is probably okay if:
- Your symptoms are mild and you do not have pelvic pain or a fever
- This is not your first yeast infection and you have not had many yeast infections in the past
- You are not pregnant
- You are not worried about other sexually transmitted diseases from recent sexual contact
If your symptoms do not get better after one course of these medicines, or they become worse, see your health care provider. If your symptoms go away, but then return over the next several weeks or months, also see your health care provider.
Medications you can buy yourself to treat a vaginal yeast infection are miconazole, clotrimazole, tioconazole, and butoconazole. Read the packages carefully and use them as directed. Do not stop using these medications early because your symptoms are better. You will need a 3 – 7-day course, depending on which medicine you buy.
A single pill of a medicine called fluconazole, prescribed by your doctor or nurse, can also treat the yeast infection.
If your symptoms are more severe or you have repeat vaginal yeast infections, you may need to take a longer course of therapy, up to 14 days.
Some women who continue to have repeat infections may need to take a clotrimazole vaginal suppository or one oral dose of fluconazole every week to prevent new infections.
To help prevent and treat vaginal discharge:
- Keep your genital area clean and dry. Avoid soap and rinse with water only. Sitting in a warm, but not hot bath may help your symptoms.
- Avoid douching. Although many women feel cleaner if they douche after menstruation or intercourse, it may actually worsen vaginal discharge because it removes healthy bacteria lining the vagina that protect against infection.
- Eat yogurt with live cultures or take Lactobacillus acidophilus tablets when you are on antibiotics to prevent a yeast infection.
- Use condoms to avoid catching or spreading sexually transmitted diseases.
- Avoid using feminine hygiene sprays, fragrances, or powders in the genital area.
- Avoid wearing extremely tight-fitting pants or shorts, which may cause irritation.
- Wear cotton underwear or cotton-crotch pantyhose. Avoid underwear made of silk or nylon, because these materials are not very absorbant and restrict air flow. This can increase sweating in the genital area, which can cause irritation.
- Use pads and not tampons.
- Keep your blood sugar levels under good control if you have diabetes.
The symptoms usually disappear completely with adequate treatment.
Chronic or recurrent infections may occur if you do not get the proper treatment, you reinfect yourself, or you have an underlying medical condition.
Secondary infection may occur. Intense or prolonged scratching may cause the skin of the vulva to become cracked and raw, making it more likely to get infected.
Calling Your Health Care Provider
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if:
- This is the first time that you have had symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection
- You are unsure of whether you have a yeast infection (if you are sure that you have a yeast infection, you can treat the disorder with over-the-counter medications)
- Your symptoms don’t go away after using self-treatment vaginal creams
- You develop other symptoms
Candida, flourescent stain
Review Date : 11/1/2009
Reviewed By : Linda Vorvick, MD, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, WA; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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