Over The Counter Yeast Infection Treatment

Here’s where yeast infection medications can get confusing. There are so many different options of yeast infection treatments, including inserts, creams, and oral pills. If you’ve never had a yeast infection before or don’t have any experience taking these medications, something like an insert may be intimidating. If you’re experiencing extreme itch or burning, a cream might sound immediately soothing.

6 Best Over-the-Counter Yeast Infection Medicines of 2023

Jennifer Nied has written about health, fitness and wellness for over 10 years. She has a degree in magazine journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

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Updated on March 18, 2022

Chris Vincent, MD, is board-certified in family medicine. He is a clinical professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine and practices at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

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Three out of four people with vaginas will experience yeast infections at some point in their lifetime. “People become symptomatic when an overgrowth of the organism, typically Candida, penetrates the superficial layers of the skin,” says Barbara Frank, MD, an OB-GYN in Brookline, Massachusetts, and medical adviser to Attn: Grace. Because yeast infections can cause itching burning, and redness, it’s important to have over-the-counter yeast infection medicines on hand.

Reviewed & Approved

Monistat’s 1-Day Yeast Infection Treatment is formulated with 6.5% tioconazole ointment to treat yeast. Vagisil’s Anti-Itch Creme has anti-itch ingredients and provides quick relief.

Yeast infection medications include antifungal cream. However, if the infection spreads to a larger area or you’re one of the few people who experiences them frequently, a doctor’s visit and oral prescription medication may be necessary.

We researched dozens of over-the-counter yeast infection medicines and evaluated them for price, ingredients, uses, and symptoms targeted. Each of the over-the-counter yeast infection medicines chosen in this article was determined to be the best of these factors.

What to Look for in Yeast Infection Treatments

Dosage

Dosage instructions are usually printed clearly on product boxes or packaging. However, Dr. Frank notes that you can use dosages depending on the severity of your symptoms. “The vaginal treatment can be for one, three, or seven days depending on the severity of your symptoms,” says Dr. Frank. “Most people tolerate the oral treatment much better, and it has the added benefit of being much cheaper than over-the-counter.”

However, Felice Gersh, MD, OB-GYN, founder of the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine, in California, and author of PCOS SOS Fertility Fast Track, notes that if you don’t see immediate relief (within one to three days), you should contact a doctor immediately. “Naturally, OTC therapies will not work when the diagnosis is incorrect. Also, OTC therapies will not work well if the yeast is a resistant strain to the medication. When that happens, it’s time to switch to an alternative therapy—whether from the OTC to the oral medication, or the other way,” she says.

Active Ingredients

There are a variety of active ingredients found ineffective yeast infection treatments. “Effective treatment for a yeast infection is typically a type of antifungal,” says Dr. Frank. “Those usually end in -azole, such as fluconazole (for oral treatments) or miconazole (for topical treatments).” She adds that prescription topical medications may also have steroids to help ease inflammation and related discomfort.

Dr. Gersh notes, “Medications that only address the symptoms of burning and itching include the ingredients benzocaine (a numbing agent), resorcinol, and sometimes hydrocortisone (a mild steroid).” She adds, “There is an OTC local anesthetic cream containing benzocaine 5% and resorcinol 2%,” so if you’re looking for something to numb symptoms fast, look for a combination of those two ingredients.

Additionally, “mineral oil is an ingredient that may help as a soothing ingredient,” notes Dr. Gersh. Benzocaine, resorcinol, and hydrocortisone are ingredients that soothe the symptoms.

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Form

Here’s where yeast infection medications can get confusing. There are so many different options of yeast infection treatments, including inserts, creams, and oral pills. If you’ve never had a yeast infection before or don’t have any experience taking these medications, something like an insert may be intimidating. If you’re experiencing extreme itch or burning, a cream might sound immediately soothing.

“The most popular varied treatments include vaginal creams and suppositories and oral tablets,” says Dr. Gersh. “Comparing the vaginal therapies to the oral ones, both work fairly well. Unfortunately, there are now resistant strains of yeast that no longer respond well to either therapy.”

Though uncommon, it is possible for men to get yeast infections as well. Dr. Frank says that this can happen “in the glans of the penis (more likely if uncircumcised) or in the groin folds, but it is much less common.” If this is the case, there are certain products for men to manage yeast infection symptoms. Look for products that advertise as relieving “jock itch,” or burning, itching, chafing, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does yeast infection medication delay your period?

Not inherently, but if you get stressed out about it, the stress can delay your period, according to Sophia Yen, MD, MPH, the co-founder and CEO of Pandia Health.

Can you take yeast infection medication if you’re not sure you have a yeast infection?

“I do not recommend it. Your vagina has natural yeast and bacteria that coexist in harmony. You should only use yeast infection medication when the yeast gets out of control. If you use it when the yeast is in harmony, the medication will kill the yeast, and the bacteria may take over, causing bacterial vaginosis,” says Dr. Yen.

Can you drink alcohol while taking yeast infection medication?

You can drink alcohol while using yeast infection medication vaginally. However, if you are using the prescription oral medication for yeast infection (metronidazole), you should not drink alcohol with it. If you do, you risk a disulfiram reaction (nausea, vomiting, etc.), according to Dr. Yen.

Below, you’ll find the best over-the-counter yeast infection medicines on the market today.

6 of the best yeast infection treatments to consider in 2023

Over The Counter Yeast Infection Treatment

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Yeast infections treatments may include over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription pills or topical medications. This article explains the different options people have to treat a vaginal yeast infection at home following diagnosis.

A pharmacist giving yeast infection treatment to a person.

A quick look at 6 of the best yeast infection treatments

  • Best range of treatments:Monistat
  • Best pill:Fluconazole
  • Best rapid treatment:FemiClear Yeast Infection 2-Day Treatment
  • Best preventive treatment:Uqora Promote
  • Best preventive suppository:Love Wellness The Killer
  • Best budget treatment:CVS Health Miconazole 7-Day Vaginal Treatment

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

Yeast infections occur due to an overgrowth of Candida. This is a type of fungus that normally lives in areas of the body such as the vagina and mouth.

According to the Office on Women’s Health (OWH) , most females will experience a vaginal yeast infection at some point in their life.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explain that some common symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection include:

  • pain during sexual intercourse
  • itchiness or soreness around the vagina
  • unusual discharge from the vagina
  • discomfort or pain during urination

They add that risk factors for developing an overgrowth of Candida include:

  • using hormonal birth control
  • being pregnant
  • recent antibiotic use
  • having a weakened immune system
  • having diabetes

The OWH points out that a yeast infection may develop due to sexual intercourse. However, doctors do not classify this as a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Since yeast infection symptoms are similar to those of other infections and conditions, such as contact dermatitis, a person should contact a doctor before taking any OTC medications. The doctor can test for yeast or other infections to provide the appropriate treatment.

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Doctors typically recommend OTC antifungal medications to treat a vaginal yeast infection.

Antifungal medications come in a variety of forms, including:

  • creams
  • tablets
  • ointments
  • vaginal suppositories

Treatments may come as one single dose or a daily dose over several days. A person should read the dosing instructions carefully to ensure they use the correct dosage.

Some of the products in this article are classed as homeopathic treatments.

There are no FDA-approved homeopathic products. This means that any product sold in the U.S. and marketed as homeopathic is not FDA approved and the FDA has not tested it for safety or effectiveness.

MNT chose yeast infection treatments that meet the following criteria:

  • Reputable brands: Our medical and business teams have thoroughly researched all brands in this article to ensure their safety and reputability. This means the brands we chose do not make unsupported health claims and their products do not contain unsafe ingredients.
  • Accessibility:MNT chose brands that are widely available in-store, online, and over the counter.
  • Cost:MNT selected nonprescription items with some of the most budget-friendly price points. For prescription products, MNT ensured multiple payment options, including health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible savings accounts (FSAs).
  • Treatment times:MNT chose products that claim to treat yeast infection symptoms in as few days as possible.
  • Treatment type:MNT chose products that have a range of treatment types, such as pills, probiotics, and suppositories.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best range of treatments: Monistat

  • List price: around $14 for a pack of three applicators
  • Active ingredients: miconazole nitrate
  • Treatment time: 1, 3, or 7 days
  • Supply: 1, 3, or 7 prefilled applicators

Monistat is available in several pharmacies and retail stores, including Walmart, throughout the United States. It provides treatment options that include 1, 3, and 7 days’ worth of doses.

This product comes in the form of internal suppositories and external creams with applicators that help people place the yeast infection treatment in the right area. Some packs include additional topical itch medications to help ease symptoms.

Each applicator contains 200 milligrams (mg) of miconazole nitrate, a medication that treats fungal infections.

This product is most suited to individuals who currently have a yeast infection and would like to try multiple methods to treat it.

Pros

  • readily available in retail stores
  • various treatment options available in one pack
  • FSA- and HSA-eligible
  • affordable price

Cons

  • reviews mention burning, stinging, or itching sensations
  • may cause heavy discharge

Best pill: Fluconazole

  • List price: $15 quarterly fee or a $65 one-time fee
  • Active ingredients: generic fluconazole
  • Treatment time: 2 days
  • Supply: up to 2 pills

Fluconazole is a generic version of the prescription pill Diflucan, which people can take to treat yeast infections.

Individuals need to take a single pill first. If symptoms do not improve after 2 days, they can take a second pill.

Online pharmacies, such as Wisp, offer quick delivery of fluconazole. They can also provide same-day or rushed prescriptions to a person’s local pharmacy.

Wisp offers subscriptions for those who regularly have yeast infections and accepts FSA and HSA cards as payment.

This product may be most suitable for individuals who regularly experience yeast infections or when creams have not worked.

Pros

  • available for same-day pick up from a local pharmacy
  • FSA- and HSA-eligible
  • subscription service available

Cons

  • one-time purchases are expensive
  • Wisp does not accept insurance

Best rapid treatment: FemiClear Yeast Infection 2-Day Treatment

  • List price: around $20
  • Active ingredients: olive oil, melaleuca, calendula, and lavender essential oil
  • Treatment time: 2 days
  • Supply: two suppositories

FemiClear’s 2-day yeast infection treatment includes two suppositories that a person inserts into their vagina and an external anti-itch ointment for symptom relief.

The product contains calendula, tea tree oil, olive extract, beeswax, and olive oil to combat itching and discomfort.

The company recommends using this yeast infection treatment before bed or wearing a panty liner to ensure that it does not leak.

Older 2015 research found that tea tree oil may help improve difficult-to-treat yeast infections when combined with other treatments, such as fluconazole.

However, research is limited, and another 2015 study found that tea tree oil may only improve yeast infections caused by certain types of Candida bacteria.

The FDA classes this product as an unapproved homeopathic treatment and states it has not tested it for safety or efficacy. The FDA writes that it is not aware of scientific research that supports the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies.

This may best suit individuals who currently have a yeast infection and prefer to use organic ingredients. However, it is unsuitable for vegans because it contains beeswax.

Pros

  • organic ingredients
  • affordable price
  • treatment lasts 2 days

Cons

  • unsuitable for vegans
  • does not have FDA approval
  • suppository may not suit some people

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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population [BiomedCentral.com]; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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